From: Tom Fine <tflists@BEV

 From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 3:53 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Folk Music in America

I keep telling my local library -- study up on fair use and don't be afraid to assert your rights. It's a good time to figure out the boundaries because I highly doubt a megaglomerate or their RIAA lapdogs would go after a local library for anything but horrible abuse of fair-use. The negative publicity would be considerable so the legal precedent would need to be worth it.


I think it has to do with what side of the fence you are on. I think much of the copyright law is irrational. As an I have written before...I try to fly below the radar. Yet, with my record label, I go by the book. As a librarian, I went by the book, even when my superiors thought I was being too strict in my interpretation of the law. However, shortly after I raised my concerns, our University was threatened by a class action suit for copyright had to do with a choral director who was making photocopies of music and then taking his music budget for "other" purchases. As a result, the University said it would not support you if you were in violation of copyright. I pointed out in a previous note, at the time of my employ, I had been put in a position of having to supervise staff who were making illegal copies of discs. It was that photocopy situation that eventually forced the library administration to forward my
 concerns to the Office of General Counsel at the University.

Yet, there are...or at least were...ways around some aspects of the law. For example, at least at one time, it was legal for a library to have an unsupervised dubbing facility on site, just as one could have a photocopy machine in a library. Perhaps the law was changed? It placed the liability on the shoulders of the library patron. True, some materials could have been deposited with the proviso that they could not be auditioned in any way which would allow for illegal copying. 

I am also reminded of a discussion I once had with Gerry Gibson at Library of Congress. I asked him about accepting collections where individuals might have recorded broadcasts. Strictly speaking, the ownership of the broadcast could be questioned...both the individual's right to have recorded and keep the broadcast, and the library accepting and holding such material. As Gerry said to me, "for God's sake keep the stuff." I cannot tell you how many times I accepted donations of in house and broadcast recordings which had been refused by other libraries. Some of the material I did accept eventually made its way (with the permission of the appropriate estates) to releases on Pearl and Arbiter.