Get it while you can . . .

While we wait to hear about the outcomes from the Georgia copyright case (11/28/11), we should not forget that other equally important issues are being discussed.  Important, especially, as we feel the squeeze of financial constraints coupled with the suddenness with publishers sudden withdrawal of e-books.

Many in higher education speak  about the coming all-digital library, which is very interesting indeed.  Before that happens, perhaps we should focus some attention on the proposals and current policies to restrict those efforts:

  •  “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) H.R.3261 .  There are currently three types of copyright  infringement:  Involuntary, ‘Regular’, and Willful.  When someone makes the choice to use copyrighted material, they are taking the chance of getting caught and paying a fine, even if they think their actions are reasonable.  Many educators use things like the Fair Use Checklist to determine whether or not their actions are infringing–in good faith.  This is the question–if SOPA passes, all copyright infringement is willfull and subject to criminal sanctions.  Instead of three levels of infringement, there would be only two; guess who gets to make that decision . . .
  • SOPA, Part II.  Criminal sanctions for public performances (including digital works transmitted to classrooms, including those at a distance, and even those of a non-commercial nature) are being sought via the bill.  This means that your librarian, instructor, or other educator could be fined up to 150,000 per work, have their voting rights relinquished, etc. for streaming what they thought was a legitimate use of a film for course instruction.
  • Publishers have suddenly withdrawn titles from the e-book aggregators (even ones already paid for through Ebrary and OverDrive): McGraw-Hill books are disappearing from Ebrary 12/31 . . . Penguin ‘front stock’ will no longer be available on OverDrive (what the state uses for downloading e-books) . . .  more to come, surely, and while the books are available for an additional price, it makes one wonder: how much, exactly, are we expected to pay for the same books, over and again?

For now, as stated previously on this blog, the libraries in Maine will continue to rely heavily on their print books and physical copies of films.  We will continue to work with vendors to secure alternatives to static formats, where applicable.

We just thought you might like to know, as you wait impatiently for the outcome in Georgia, what is on our minds these days . . .

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