IST 511: Day 2 – Copyright Law

Copyright law is a very good example of why I never wanted to be lawyer. This very simple idea (protecting work you’ve done so that others cannot plagarize) has become a very complex, living organism that seems to continually grow with each passing year. I do understand and agree very much with why copyright law exists – since I wouldn’t really want anyone stealing my intellectual property either – but I do find much of the fine details of these laws very confusing and somewhat tedious.

Here are some of the more important lessons I took away from class:

1) It seems that the biggest misconception is that if someone posted a picture (or really anything) online that it is free for public use and this is very much not the case. Search engines do sometimes allow searches for those materials that are protected under creative commons. This means that you can use  the material for free so long as you properly cite the work’s creator.

2) Libraries may loan out materials because they are protected under the idea of Right of First Sale which says that as long as the materials were lawfully aquired they can be borrowed.

3) Whether or not you have commited plagarism depends on many factors including how much of the original material was used and in what way.

Today’s guest speakers were very enthusiastic about their respective jobs and it was certainly interesting to see where their careers have taken them. The first speaker, John Schuster, spoke about his responsibilities training library staff all over the world to use different automated library systems including a secret government library in Texas where he was not allowed to see any papers on the staff’s desks. This obvious intrigued me; who wouldn’t want to be involved in some secret government project? He also made some very good points about the library needing to expand past its walls and into the community it serves which were probably much more relevant to where my career will take me.

Our second speaker, Jan Fleckenstein, pointed out that it is not necessary to know a lot about a subject in a special or academic library because you can always refer to peers who may have more specialized knowledge in that area. She also pointed out that most of the technology we will use in our careers hasn’t even been invented yet so we need to learn how to learn in order to stay current. This supported something Professor David Lankes said in our 601 class about innovation and how it was our job as future librarians to make his job as a professor much more difficult. I love the idea that as a school librarian I will be teaching students to use technology I can’t yet even fathom. There is something about it that feels very Ray Bradbury to me.

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