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The List seems to be running parallel posts re the
functions/responsibilities of libraries--but Mason Vander Lugt's post
(under the rubric Folk Music of America), including the links to the two
excellent articles regarding copyright (one being the great survey by
ARSC's Tim Brooks regarding rights holders to historical recordings),
points up the *de facto* purpose placed on libraries in this county (US),
whether they want to acknowledge it or not.  Due to their broad "fair use"
exemptions to this country's hopelessly scr*wed up copyright laws, they are
the truly the guardians and protectors of what ought to have been Public
Domain in this country.  Without their "fair use" exemptions, a vast amount
of our important cultural heritage is at grave risk of being lost forever.
 They may be hesitant to acknowledge responsibility for that critical role,
which they may not view as consistent with their mission as they want to
define it, but US law has unfortunately defined it for them, like it or
not.  It is essential that libraries must be as aggressive as possible in
staking out, expanding and maintaining the borders of "fair use"
exemptions, because the alternative is "no use" for anyone in the future,
in most cases permanently.  In the US, the concept of Public Domain (which
ironically our founding fathers' meant to protect by creating copyright
protection of limited duration), almost completely lacks advocates to
protect it from virtual destruction by powerful commercial interests like
record conglomerates, which have been doing a fine job of whittling it down
over the years, but with almost no measurable commercial benefit to them as
a result.  Thankfully ARSC has stepped up to the plate as an advocate for
Public Domain, and libraries need to be sure that they acknowledge their
important role in this process by aggressively guarding, expanding and
protecting their "fair use" exemptions.  Their disposal of historically
important holdings, as described in this series of posts, is reprehensible,
irresponsible and indefensible.  If they cannot afford to house such
important historical material, they need to find places to which it can be
transferred that will, not disposing of it by selling it off to passersby
outside on the lawn, in the rain.

Regards,
John Haley

On Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 10:56 PM, Randy Watts <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>
>  >
> > When I was in high school and college and was doing research when I was
> > home, every time I went to my public library in Teaneck, New Jersey I
> > was told that the periodical I needed was in the Englewood Pubiic
> > Library.  It was well known in Northern New Jersey that the Englewood
> > library was THE go-to place.  Eventually a librarian gave me a copy of
> > the annual book of Bergen County Library periodical holdings so I didn't
> > need to keep asking her.  Then one morning I got a call from my
> > mother-in-law to get my butt to the Englewood Public Library because
> > they were disposing of their entire periodical collection at 25 cents a
> > volume. They were all out on the lawn.  That is why I have a bound set
> > of Time magazine from 1930 to 1945 and there are no libraries in
> > Northern New Jersey with any periodical holdings worth a damn.  They had
> > put the stuff out on the lawn, including Harpers back to the 1870s, and
> > in the afternoon it started to rain.  Nobody needs to go to the
> > Englewood Public Library any more.
> >
> > Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]
>
> I picked up 30-odd years worth of Schwann Record Guides that way. The
> library that disposed of them cleaned out their periodical holdings and
> dumped a great deal of material that was deemed "frivolous" in nature. A
> friend who worked at the library called and offered them to me before they
> made their way to the annual "friends of the library" sale. I was told that
> by the time they finished discarding "frivolous" periodicals, there wasn't
> very much left.
>
> Randy
>