KJ (owlmoose) wrote,
KJ
owlmoose

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"Fair use is not civil disobedience"

Copyright is the place where my interests as a fan and as a librarian are most likely to collide, so it's no surprise that I came out of the two talks on the subject I attended this afternoon energized and excited.

The first was a presentation by the founders of http://readersbillofrights.info/ on the subject of ebooks and the danger they present, in their current form, to the rights of readers. It was more of an affirmation to me than a learning opportunity, but sometimes it's useful to know that I'm not alone in my opinions. I do not have and will not purchase an ereader, especially not a Kindle, because of DRM, and they articulate all my reasons beautifully: the fact that I can't sell or lend the book, proprietary software that limits what computer or device I can use to read the book, draconian user agreements that criminalize fair use, etc. I came out with a cool button (see icon), a renewed commitment to my decision not to buy ebooks for personal use, and an extensive list of articles to read (see website).

The second was the presentation from which the post takes this title, a call to action from librarian James Neal in which he asked academic librarians not to abandon our fair use rights. Fair use is not an act of defiance, nor is it a way to skirt copyright law. Fair us is built in to American copyright law, and it's the cornerstone upon which many academic, artistic, and even business pursuits are built. The more we let the fear of lawsuits scare us into not exercising fair use, the more we let restrictive licensing agreements and DRM ignore fair use, the more we enter into international copyright treaties that don't make room for fair use, the more at risk we are of losing it. But if enough librarians band together to fight, he is convinced that we can make a difference, and I believe him. (Much like the OTW provides a platform for fans to stand together on the same issue -- I wish I felt more comfortable combining my personal and professional life score, because how awesome would Fannish Librarians for Fair Use be?)

Food for thought; motivation to continue and extend my efforts as a copyright activist. If I care this much, I should do more.

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Tags: books, copyright, fandom, librarian
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