On Fri, 7 Oct 2005, Matthew Snyder wrote:

> First, regarding the restrictions that institutions put on who can hear
> archived holdings with murky legal status, it should be stressed that for
> most major institutions (and probably most minor ones as well), the main
> worry is getting sued down to their skivvies by a copyright holder who
> pops out from under a rock with a lawyer by his side.

If a library has a deposit agreement which limits the auditioning of
copyrighted material to a controlled environment, I can understand
concern, however, from a technological standpoint this is impossible to

If there is not a prior agreement, the copyright does not hold the library
responsible for an unsupervised copy being made.

I wonder if there is any case history of libraries being sued?

Also, as I have stated before...when a copy is duplicated, the person
making the copy can be held responsible. I know of no case history of any
individual being sued for making a single copy of anything. My guess is
that there isn't much point in going after any individual unless they were
a Bill Gates.

> The point here is
> that a library's job is NOT to keep everything it ever gets. Archives do
> that, and even then they don't keep EVERYTHING, they only collect what
> they define as being part of their mission.

Yes, but, do you believe a library has an ethical responsibility to
explore venues of disposal which could make those materials available to
archives and individuals who could make good use of those
materials...and/or make every reasonable effort to maximize a potential
revenue stream from the disposal of those materials.

I am reminded of the old days when we had our book sales...which was, in
my opinion, a great benefit to scholarship and the intergrity of the
materials. The down side was a rare first edition book which was donated
to the library...marked for sale at $1 and discovered by the donor of
the book on the book sale shelf. That was the last book sale we
we just surplus...which means an equivalent situation could have that book
being sold for a few pennies...the only difference being that the donor
might not be aware of how little his donation was valued.