iCONN News

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Techdirt:More People Realizing That Copy Protection Is Just Bad

Techdirt:More People Realizing That Copy Protection Is Just Bad

I told a coworker yesterday that DRM is going to be my latest soapbox, because the more I think about it, the more it bugs me. Why did the Digital Millennium Copyright Act extend the length of copyright protections in an era in which information decreases in relevance more quickly than ever?

And how did publishers get so powerful that they could wrestle Google to the ground? [And, to be honest, why were we librarians so often on the sidelines acting a little smug - a little "I told you so" - instead of being more vocally in support of the mission that Google states that it abides by (one that librarians share, I might add) - to make the world's information more accessible? Don't get me wrong, I feel that we must be respectful of the content providers' rights and the content creators' rights, but we need to be careful that in obeying both the law and our ethics regarding these rights, we don't hamper the flow of information that has always served as the basis for a well-informed citizenry, which is so crucial to the existence of a democracy.]

In fact, a question that came up from a librarian yesterday was whether or not she could ILL an article that she'd obtained from iCONN. While we haven't gotten a definitive answer, it seems that the safest and most likely route to go would be to prohibit this behavior, to ensure that we're honoring the licensing agreement we have with our db vendors. But here's the rub - the library in question had eliminated their hard copies because of the database access. Yet, if they'd had their hard copies, they would've been allowed to ILL a copy of the article. So, once again it seems obvious that we have fewer rights with electronic information than we had with hard copy/printed information.

Good news! iCONN has written into its RFPs and licensing agreements requirements that libraries using the iCONN resources be allowed to ILL the articles within the databases - subject, of course, to the same laws that traditional hard copy articles are in terms of copyright. I hope that all institutions manage to do the same with their database licensing agreements. Now to get the rest of the copyright and digital rights issues worked out to allow greater access to information for everyone!

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