Tag Archives: libraries

Another copyright case, another victory for libraries

Last Tuesday, in the case of Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold the “first sale” doctrine for materials purchased from non-U.S. sources.  This ruling allows legal purchasers of copyrighted material from overseas to continue to subsequently resell, loan, rent, etc., copyrighted material.  The first sale doctrine, in general, is the exemption that allows libraries to loan books to borrowers, video stores (those that are left) to rent DVDs, or individuals to loan or resell a book or CD or other copyrighted work to someone else without fear of running afoul of the normal protection afforded to copyright holders to control the sale and distribution of their copyrighted content.

At issue in the Kirsaeng case was whether or not materials purchased overseas were subject to this exemption, or if the exemption applied only to those copyrighted materials purchased within the United States.  The plaintiff, publisher John Wiley & Sons, argued that the exemption did not apply to works intended to be sold overseas, and that the defendant, a graduate student named Supap Kirtsaeng, had violated copyright law by purchasing textbooks in Thailand intended for that market (and sold there at a lower price than in the U.S.) and then reselling them in the United States to help finance the cost of his graduate education.

Why is this important for Middlebury?  Because Middlebury libraries purchase at least 10% (by cost) of our material from overseas vendors.  (This is a conservative estimate based on our expenditures with our primary foreign dealers; the actual percentage is certainly higher, although probably not by much.)  If this case had been decided differently, there would be considerable doubt as to whether we could continue to loan materials purchased overseas without some sort of legislative intervention that specifically allowed it.

If you would like to read more about the case and its implications, take a look at this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Kenneth Crews, from Columbia U., has an excellent analysis on his blog here, and Kevin Smith at Duke has a couple of posts here and here.  And if you are a true glutton for punishment, the full text of the SCOTUS decision is here (pdf).

Recent article by Robert Darnton

Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library, describes many of the issues facing libraries – from digital books to the rising price of journals in this article published November 23, 2010 in the New York Review of books.

Top 10 Trends Affecting Academic Libraries

The ACRL Research, Planning and Review Committee, has recently released their list of the top 10 trends affecting academic libraries now and in the near future. This list was compiled from a literature review, supplemented by a survey of ACRL members in February 2010.  The complete article can be found here:

“2010 Top Ten Trends In Academic Libraries: A Review Of The Current Literature.” College & Research Libraries News June 2010, 71:286-292

(hopefully the link will work – if you’re off-campus you may need to log-in with your EZProxy credentials)

Here are excerpts from the list, in alphabetical order.  These probably won’t surprise anyone; certainly we are seeing increased activity in all of these areas here at Middlebury.• Academic library collection growth is driven by patron demand and will include new resource types.
• Budget challenges will continue and libraries will evolve as a result.
• Changes in higher education will require that librarians possess diverse skill sets. As technological changes continue to impact not only the way libraries are used but also the nature of collections, librarians need to broaden their portfolio of skills to provide services to users.
• Demands for accountability and assessment will increase.
• Digitization of unique library collections will increase and require a larger share of resources.
• Explosive growth of mobile devices and applications will drive new services.
• Increased collaboration will expand the role of the library within the institution and beyond. Collaboration efforts will continue to diversify: collaborating with faculty to integrate library resources into the curriculum and to seek out information literacy instruction, and as an embedded librarian; working with scholars to provide access to their data sets, project notes, papers, etc. in virtual research environments and digital repositories; collaborating with information technology experts to develop online tutorials and user-friendly interfaces to local digital collections; collaborating with student support services to provide integrated services to students; and collaborating with librarians at other institutions to improve open source software, share resources, purchase materials, and preserve collections.
• Libraries will continue to lead efforts to develop scholarly communication and intellectual property services. … Recent developments illustrate a trend toward proactive efforts to educate faculty and students about authors’ rights and open access publishing options and to recruit content for institutional repositories (IRs).
• Technology will continue to change services and required skills. Cloud computing, augmented and virtual reality, discovery tools, open content, open source software, and new social networking tools are some of the most important technological changes affecting academic libraries.
• The definition of the library will change as physical space is repurposed and virtual space expands. Most academic libraries provide access to a more resources than ever before. However, the number of physical items in many libraries is declining, as libraries withdraw journal runs to which they have permanent online archival access and/or move lesser-used materials to off-site or shared storage facilities, thus freeing up areas that are repurposed to provide space for individual student and collaborative work.