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 Posted: Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 03:14 am
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booklover
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Okay, THIS is my last post on this topic.

Ashbel, copying copyrighted material is not illegal. If it was, libraries would not be allowed to have copy machines in the building. Under the fair use doctrine, photocopying is restricted to certain conditions, of which scholarly research is one (and that is all I use those books for). As scanner technology improves, that will have to be added to the fair use consideration.

This is taken from the American Library Association's guidelines for universities, researchers and classroom reserve photocopying. While obviously not the same as law, still it makes sense.

" The Copyright Act allows anyone to photocopy copyrighted works without securing permission from the copyright owner when the photocopying amounts to a "fair use" of the material. 17 U.S.C. SS107. The guidelines in this report discuss the boundaries for fair use of photocopied material used in research or the classroom or in a library reserve operation. Fair use cannot always be expressed in numbers -- either the number of pages copied or the number of copies distributed. Therefore, you should wight the various factors listed in the Act and judge whether the intended use of photocopied, copyrighted material is within the spirit of the fair use doctrine. Any serious questions concerning whether a particular photocopying constitutes fair use should be directed to University [College] counsel.
A. Research Uses At the very least, instructors may make a single copy of any of the following for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparing to teach a class:
    1. a chapter from a book;
    2. an article from a periodical or newspaper;

    3. a short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
    4. a chart, diagram, graph, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.

These examples reflect the most conservative guidelines for fair use. They do not represent inviolate ceilings for the amount of copyrighted material which can be photocopied within the boundaries of fair use. When exceeding these minimum levels, however, you again should consider the four factors listed in Section 107 of the Copyright Act to make sure that any additional photocopying is justified. The following demonstrate situations where increased levels of photocopying would continue to remain within the ambit of fair use:
    1. the inability to obtain another copy of the work because it is not available from another library or source cannot be obtained within your time constraints;
    2. the intention to photocopy the material only once and not to distribute the material to others;

    3. the ability to keep the amount of material photocopied within a reasonable proportion to the entire work (the larger the work, the greater amount of material which may be photocopied).

Most single-copy photocopying for your personal use in research -- even when it involves a substantial portion of a work -- may well constitute fair use."

Second, as I've let this mull over in my mind, I think the spirit, if not the full letter, of the copyright law is geared more toward not allowing someone to profit from the work of another, not restrict in what form that person can have the work. I'm not taking a book, scanning it, printing it out and then re-selling it. I'm scanning a book, leaving it on my computer, and taking notes from it when it is convenient for me to do so. If you want to equate that with theft, than no amount of rationalization on my part will change your mind. However, my conscience remains clear.

One other thing...no one has responded to my scenario about borrowing an item from someone because you didn't want to buy it. In borrowing a truck that a buddy has paid for am I illegally depriving truck manufacturers of a sale? Do I have to say to my family, sorry but we have to spend $25,000 to buy a truck because if we don't, then we are injuring those companies who make the vehicles? I think most people would say that is preposterous. The principle with taking a library book (which I repeat for the 1,000,000th time has already been paid for) and scanning it is the exact same principle, albeit on a smaller scale.

I think what has got most people bothered is that I'm depriving the author of ANOTHER sale. I haven't appropriated his intellectual content anymore than if I borrowed the book from the stacks, read it, took notes, and then put it back on the shelf. The problem arises only if I present his or her work as my own. When I buy a book, all I have ownership of is the delivery system. I don't own the content. When I scan a book, all I own is the delivery system. Again, I don't own the content. Nor am I trying to.

I've edited out some statements that I wrote while upset. I think the ALA standards speak better for my position than anything else I could say.

A final note. During my research, I came across the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which states it is a violation to circumvent a technological measure that controls access to a work that is covered by copyright. As I was not aware of that law's existence, I am no longer using the database that my friend has access to. When I'm wrong, I will admit it.

Best
Rob

Last edited on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 05:11 am by booklover

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