Copyright is a subject that has many ties to libraries. Copyright can be quite complex in practice, but it is basically just a system that determines how documented art and knowledge can be used and shared. Libraries—as holders of that documented art and knowledge and facilitators of its use—sit right in the middle of it all.
The involvement of individual libraries and individual librarians in the world of copyright can vary wildly, but it is definitely a subject that affects all of us in the library community. It influences the materials we can display in our collections, the users with whom we can share our collections, how our users can interact with the materials, and even how we can interact with our own materials.
Copyright is also considered by many institutions to be a key competency, about which we need to teach our users. Many libraries not only have to comply with copyright law but also pass down knowledge of basic copyright principles to their patrons.
Copyright is not all business, though—it can be a lot of fun! Arts and entertainment news usually has at least one copyright story floating around, and those stories can be quite amusing.
For the next two weeks we will be posting about copyright issues that affect libraries, and we will be discussing how libraries can get more involved in the shaping of copyright law in their sectors.
Some questions to begin discussions with your partner are:
- How involved are you with copyright at your library? How involved is your library generally with copyright?
- Does your library provide any sort of copyright education for your patrons?
- Do you keep up with developments and changes in copyright law in your country?
- Do you follow any copyright issues in the news?
- Copyright can be really complex and boring—is it something that you find intimidating or uninteresting?
Is there a particular area of copyright that you are passionate about? You can share it in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest a post topic or submit a guest post—we’d love to get a discussion going!