The American Library Association on Copyright: Edit

The Digital Age presents new challenges to fundamental copyright doctrines that are legal cornerstones of library services. Libraries are leaders in trying to maintain a balance of power between copyright holders and users, in keeping with the fundamental principles outlined in the Constitution and carefully crafted over the past 200 years. In this role, we closely follow both federal and state legislation and make our voices heard when our issues are moving. Libraries are perceived as a voice for the public good and our participation is often sought in "friend of the court" briefs in important intellectual property cases. Our involvement extends to the international copyright arena where we also follow the treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory and which could influence the development of copyright changes at home.

Copyright issues are among the most hotly contested issues in the legal and legislative world; billions of dollars are at stake. Legal principles and technological capabilities are constantly challenging each other and every outcome can directly affect the future of libraries.

Everyday copyright law affects the way libraries provide information to their users. The first sale doctrine enables libraries to lend books and other resources. Fair use allows for the use of copyrighted works for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, scholarship, or research. Libraries are permitted to make reproductions of copyrighted works for preservation and replacement purposes. And under copyright law, libraries can aid in the transformation and reproduction of copyrighted works for users with disabilities. As libraries advocate for user rights and access to information, it's crucial to continue to address the emerging challenges posed at the intersection of technology, society, and law [1]

Copyright Law: Edit

Copyright Basics

Copyright Basics

Copyright Basics from the U.S. Copyright Office Edit

This publication includes the Copyright Act of 1976 and all subsequent amendments to copyright law; the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984, as amended; and the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, as amended. The Copyright Office is responsible for registering intellectual property claims under all three.

U.S. Department of Justice on Copyright Infringement Edit

This is the U.S. Attorney's Criminal Resource Manual. Sections 1840-1856 and section 1860 pertain to Copyright Law.

Copyright Basics for Librarians Power Point from the University of Wyoming Edit

This is a presentation on basic copyright for librarians by Wyoming State Library's Intellectual Property Rights Librarian, Karen Kitchens.

Digital Millenium Copyright Act Edit

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. The legislation implements two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties: the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The DMCA also addresses a number of other significant copyright-related issues.

The DMCA is divided into five titles:

  • Title I, the “WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998,” implements the WIPO treaties.
  • Title II, the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act,” creates limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement when engaging in certain types of activities.
  • Title III, the “Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act,” creates an exemption for making a copy of a computer program by activating a computer for purposes of maintenance or repair.
  • Title IV contains six miscellaneous provisions, relating to the functions of the Copyright Office, distance education, the exceptions in the Copyright Act for libraries and for making ephemeral recordings, “webcasting” of sound recordings on the Internet, and the applicability of collective bargaining agreement obligations in the case of transfers of rights in motion pictures.
  • Title V, the “Vessel Hull Design Protection Act,” creates a new form of protection for the design of vessel hulls.

Duration of Copyright: Edit

US Copyright Office on Copyright Duration Edit

The provisions of copyright law dealing with duration are complex. Different standards apply depending on whether federal statutory copyright protection was secured before or on or after January 1, 1978, the date the current law—the Copyright Act of 1976—took effect. In addition, several amendments enacted since January 1, 1978, affect duration. This circular describes the changes to the law that affect duration and gives details about terms of protection for copyrights secured and renewed on certain dates. [2]

Citation vs Attribution: Edit

"Citation" and "Attribution" are often used as synonyms, but they mean two different things. Citation is a scholarly practice for tracking the ideological underpinnings of a work, usually referencing sources like published books, articles, government documents, primary sources, etc. Attribution is about crediting a copyright holder according to the terms of a copyright license, usually crediting artistic works like music, fiction, video, and photography.[3]

Copyright for Librarians: Edit

Harvard Course on Copyright for Librarians Edit

Copyright for Librarians is a joint project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society andElectronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), a network of library consortia in 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. The goal of the project is to provide librarians in developing and transitional countries information concerning copyright law. More specifically, it aspires to inform librarians concerning:


"Copyright for Librarians: the essential handbook" aims to provide librarians in developing and transition countries with information concerning copyright law. More specifically, it aspires to inform librarians concerning copyright law in general; the aspects of copyright law that most affect libraries; and how librarians in the future could most effectively participate in the processes by which copyright law is interpreted and shaped.

It can be used as a stand-alone resource or as an adjunct to "Copyright for Librarians" (CFL), an online open curriculum on copyright law that was developed jointly with EIFL and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. With a handy Glossarythe Handbook is essential reading for librarians and for anyone learning about or teaching copyright law in the information field.

It is available to download for free as a pdf, or to purchase online.