The Association of Research Libraries posted their Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries to assist libraries in handling a variety of common scenarios in which copyrighted material is put to use.
The code is a product of dozens of interviews with research and academic librarians on the topic of dealing with the potential conflicts between copyright law and their internal practices. This is an often potentially dangerous area for librarians since their goals can often be seen as at odds with strict copyright protection laws.
The ARL feels that by setting out a standardize code of practice they will have the opportunity to influence current and future policy on the topic, and can help create an accepted standard of practice amongst a broad base. The code, which can be viewed from here, deals with topics such as digitizing content, providing materials for exhibitions or staff and student use, as well as making content available on the web.
This announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing debate regarding H.R. 3699, titled ‘Research Works Act’, which is a controversial proposed law that would limit the dissemination of research output material that is covered under publishers’ copyright. There have been numerous reactions to the proposed law’s intent, with well structured arguments both for and against the bill.