Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Copyright & Fair Use

Among all three of the courses I'm taking this semester, I was most looking forward to my Legal Issues class. I've always been interested in copyright, but never had much opportunity to study it. (I mean, even I wasn't nerdy enough to study copyright law in my spare time...) The class, although different than what I expected, has turned out to be highly informative, and TONS of work. I almost feel like I'm in law school...

And so here we are, Fall Semester 2011, Week 2, and I'm determined to master this class, and especially the topics of copyright and fair use. I'm past the initial freaking-out-there's-too-much-information-to-absorb stage which accompanies the start of every semester. Coming from an academic/research library background, I've seen it in use already, and I know this training will come in handy down the road in my career... it's even applicable to archives! Imagine that.

One of the first things that has struck me about Copyright & Fair Use is the logic of it all... As part of the assigned readings for the first unit, I've been reviewing various different cases on the topic. At first glance, it appears like the courts can't make up their minds. This is fair use, this isn't.... no, this isn't fair use either, but that is. But applying a little critical thinking, lots of logic, and a healthy dose of morality/ethics, the decisions make sense, and are actually rather consistent.

I'm beginning to see how copyright isn't there to frustrate users and library patrons, but rather to protect them... it really all makes sense once you think about it. And now.... I should get back to those slides, lectures, videos, and cases.... because this superlibrarian-in-training has so much more to learn!

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