[Libs-Or] Librarians Care About the Public Domain: Free State Government Information

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 15 12:32:24 PST 2014


Librarians Care About the Public Domain: Free State Government Information
Posted on January 14, 2014 by TWegner


*To celebrate Copyright Week <https://www.eff.org/copyrightweek>, the
American Library Association will join a number of organizations around the
world in exchanging ideas, information and actions about ways to reform
copyright law. From Monday, January 13th until Saturday, January 18th,
copyright experts will explore different aspects of copyright law on the
District Dispatch. The guest article below comes from Kris Kasianovitz,
Government Documents Librarian at Stanford University.**

*"Contrary to popular belief, state agencies do have the right to copyright
their publications."* ~Margaret T. Lane,  "Selecting and Organizing State
Government Publications" 1987.

Section 105 of the Federal Copyright Law only covers federal government
information. The copyright fate of state and local is left to case law,
ambiguous or in some cases very explicit state level laws governing
copyright of their publications. In a fast-growing digital world, access to
digitized or born digital publications is the new norm for faculty,
students, journalists, citizens.  But this access is impeded by the lack of
clarity on the copyright issue of state and local publications. The time
has come for this to change.

Personally, I believe all state and local government publications should
rest in the public domain, just like their federal counterparts. They are
created for the people, at the tax-payers expense, to advance transparency
and support democratic processes. Access to these materials, especially
when libraries and archives have the means to digitize and disseminate the
content, should be supported by state government agencies.

In the Summer of 2008, I wrote an article for *Documents to the
asking "Why Care about Copyright?"  In it I asked the following set of

Why should we as state government information librarians care about
copyright? Most who work with the materials feel or believe they are public
documents freely available to all, just like federal publications. We are
not necessarily doing anything with this material that could be interpreted
as copyright infringement. We collect, house, and make them accessible to
our communities--who in turn use them mostly under the principle of fair
use. But wait, what happens when libraries want to digitize state
government publications and make them widely accessible? What do we need to
take into consideration when we capture, preserve, and make born-digital
state government materials and web sites accessible through online archives?

Unfortunately, these questions still remain unanswered; the copyright
conundrum is alive and well.  This is the driving force behind Free State
Government Information (FSGI) http://stategov.freegovinfo.info/

FSGI is a small group of librarians seeking to promote law, regulation and
policy at the state level that ensure the widest possible access, use and
reuse of state government information for the purposes of research, civic
engagement and government transparency.  FSGI accomplishes this mission
through collaboration with government agencies and libraries in developing
and advocating for a standard intellectual property policy and practice
that will place state government information into the public domain or
other freely accessible status.

Are you ready to get involved?? Send us a message via our contact form at:

<http://www.districtdispatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Melissa.png> Kris
Kasianovitz, State and Local Government Information Library,
Stanford University Library, krisk11 at stanford.edu

The views and opinions expressed in this post are that of the author only,
not of Stanford University.

*The opinions stated in the guest article do not necessarily reflect the
views of the American Library Association.


*Diedre Conkling*

*Lincoln County Library DistrictP.O. Box 2027Newport, OR 97365Phone & Fax:
541-265-3066Work email**:
**diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
*Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude."--Maya Angelou
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