Tag Archives: Copyright

Creative Commons Part 2: Five Creative Commons Resources

Creative Commons

CMLE Guest Blogger: Carli Spina If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or contact me on Twitter where I’m @CarliSpina.

In my last post, I explained what Creative Commons licenses are. But how can you make use of these licenses and incorporate items that are licensed under them in your library? Perhaps not surprisingly, an array of resources have emerged to make it approachable to use Creative Commons licenses and to aggregate Creative Commons-licensed items. The resources suggested below are not the only ones available on this topic, but hopefully they will help to get you started with a variety of Creative Commons resources.

Continue reading Creative Commons Part 2: Five Creative Commons Resources

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2017?

If you are interested in copyright – or if you think copyright laws don’t really apply to you – you might want to look through this article from the Duke Law School Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Take a moment to mourn  the material we can not access, that we can not freely share with our patrons, and that may never be accessible to us!! (How many of our patrons would have enjoyed having a free copy of Green Eggs and Ham?)

Current copyright law is too often a tragedy for libraries, and for the communities we serve. Look at this list, published every year by this organization, and consider some ways you might work within copyright laws to help your patrons. And then be a voice of advocacy in your community to loosen these too-tight federal laws!!

Continue reading What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2017?

Creative Commons Part 1: What does “Creative Commons” mean?

Creative Commons

CMLE Guest Blogger: Carli Spina If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or contact me on Twitter where I’m @CarliSpina.

Creative Commons Part 1: What does “Creative Commons” mean?

Copyright is an important but often intimidating topic. As library staff, we may know that copyright protections exist, but knowing their exact parameters or how to get permission to use a copyrighted work can be complex and time consuming.

Recognizing this problem, a group of experts developed the concept of the Creative Commons (often abbreviated CC) and the associated licenses to make sharing, reusing, and remixing works easier for everyone. Using this approach, the creator of an item offers the item under a license (or legal agreement) that explicitly provides for the types of use that are permitted free of charge. Continue reading Creative Commons Part 1: What does “Creative Commons” mean?

Copyright as a Comic


We all know copyright laws are important. Definitely.

And we want to obey them, and to help our colleagues and patrons to do so as well. But it’s hard! It is federal law, and covers hundreds of years! (The first Copyright act was signed by George Washington in 1790.)

The consequences for violations of  copyright can be fearsome and expensive.

We are often expected to be the experts in copyright, and to help adjudicate the material for others. But the secret most of us harbor in our hearts is this: it’s just so confusing, too often we are guessing.

Whew! Everyone feel better now that we all know we ALL feel a lack of knowledge on this? Good!

Fortunately, there is information not only available but easily understandable! And it’s fun enough that you won’t mind sharing it to with patrons, Board members,  or anyone else who needs a quick refresher!

The Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain has produced a really good graphic novel that provides some great information: Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain.

“A documentary is being filmed. A cell phone rings, playing the “Rocky” theme song. The filmmaker is told she must pay $10,000 to clear the rights to the song. Can this be true? “Eyes on the Prize,” the great civil rights documentary, was pulled from circulation because the filmmakers’ rights to music and footage had expired. What’s going on here? It’s the collision of documentary filmmaking and intellectual property law, and it’s the inspiration for this new comic book. Follow its heroine Akiko as she films her documentary, and navigates the twists and turns of intellectual property. Why do we have copyrights? What’s “fair use”? Bound By Law reaches beyond documentary film to provide a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture.”

They are working to distribute this to everyone who needs it. So there are free digital copies available to anyone. And you can buy paper copies, either as single copies or 25 or more at an educator’s discount.

Do you just want to spend a few minutes watching an entertaining, and educational, video on copyright? Sure! Why not??

This is a video that is NOT a copyright violation, due to it’s very (VERY!) brief usage of Disney moves to explain the basics of copyright law – including the role Disney has played in extending the laws.

Copyright is a huge issue in so many libraries today. CMLE Headquarters will help to organize some training on this issue, or to help libraries connect with each other to talk about the specific issues they are facing in their daily work. We will also periodically add material here to this site, so you can reference it when you need it.


Welcome to the weird world of DRM

Digital rights management (DRM), protection of copyrighted works by various means to control or prevent digital copies from being shared over computer networks or telecommunications networks, has made downloading and using your favorite content a little harder. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently highlighted some examples: Kindle books can’t be read on another device, Apple songs can’t be played on another device, and DRM makes it hard to fast forward through previews while watching a DVD.

So, why does DRM exist in the first place?

Kyle Wiens of HBR tells us “we are told that digital locks and DRM protect creative content and the creative-types who make it.” Quoting Cory Doctorow, he raises some good points about how locks on something you own without the key, isn’t for your benefit.

They whole article is quick and light and worth the read. Check it out now!