Anti-Valentine Books - February Book Display
“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.” ―Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.” —John Green, An Abundance of Katherines
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”―Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”―Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
“It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”―E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
Stop by the New Books Area in Willis Library on the first floor to check out our themed book display. To learn more, see the complete list of the books on display this month.
2013 Artists' Books Competition Exhibit
Entries in the seventh Artists' Books Competition and Exhibition will be on display in the Willis Library Forum, Room 140 from January 24 - June 13, 2014. Sponsored by the Friends of the UNT Libraries, this bi-annual contest is open to UNT faculty, staff, students, and the community at large.
Artists' books date to the early medieval period and may be created with handwritten texts that are merged with illustrations, fabric covers, scrolls, foldout content or loose items contained in a box. These books may or may not have content that can be read, and may be produced as one-of-a-kind objects.
Adam Rowlett is the purchase prize winner of the UNT Libraries Biennial Artists’ Books Competition and Exhibition 2013 for his book, Heavens. Heavens is described by the artist as “a short, illustrated narrative employing geometric abstractions.” Rowlett was named Best New Artist by the Dallas Observer in 2012 and is a graduate student at UNT (MFA ’14). His work will be cataloged and permanently added to the Libraries’ artists’ book collection. Heavens is currently on display in the Judge Sarah T. Hughes Reading Room, Willis Library, Room 437.
A Hearing Regarding Fair Use and Baby Steps Toward Open Access
Subcommittee Hearing Regarding Fair Use
Yesterday, the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet of the Judiciary Committee heard testimony regarding fair use. This testimony was in response to the actions of some members of Congress currently considering whether to propose a bill to statutorily expand or minimize fair use. The individuals who testified at the hearing yesterday included Professor Peter Jaszi, the faculty director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at the American University Washington College of Law; Professor June Besek, the Executive Director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at the Columbia Law School; Ms. Naomi Novik an author and co-founder of the Organization for Transformative Works; Mr. David Lowery, a singer, songwriter, and lecturer at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia; and Mr. Kurt Wimmer, the General Counsel at the Newspaper Association of America. Each of these individuals offered written and oral testimony that covered the full gamut of how numerous individuals believe how fair use should be applied to new digital technologies.
Before examining some of the testimony given by these individuals, let us quickly reexamine the doctrine of fair use. According to the doctrine of fair use, one may use another creator’s copyrighted work, or portion of their work when the subsequent user meets the standards laid out in the fair use test. Also remember, although originally created by case law, fair use is a statute that has been passed by Congress. In general, if one meets three or more of the four prongs in the statutory fair use test, he or she should feel confident in using a copyrighted work. If one meets only two prongs of the test, there is some risk involved. If one meets only one or less of the prongs of the fair use test, then one should look to similar items that meet the fair use test, that are licensed for use with a Creative Commons license, that are designated as open access, or one should return to the tabula rasa and commence a new path.
In reviewing the above-mentioned statute, some members of Congress recently stated they would like to either expand or contract the doctrine of fair use, hence the subcommittee hearing yesterday. As predicted, the testimony at this hearing varied as some quipped pro-expansion comments and others advocated for contraction in the utilization of fair use. For example, Kurt Wimmer’s testimony seemed to suggest he believed fair use was working well with the transition of print newspapers to a digital format. Naomi Novik, who co-founded the Organization for Transformative Works advocated that fair use should be expanded and strengthened to meet the needs of new digital technologies. Whereas, Professor June Besek at the Columbia Law School advocated for a contraction of fair use warning that interpreting the fair use doctrine with few boundaries to what a subsequent user may do with a copyrighted work is worrisome.
Despite the attention to the hearing yesterday, it is unlikely Congress will amend the fair use doctrine any time soon. For one thing, this current Congress does not have a stellar record of passing a lot of legislation. If an amendment did pass, it likely would be tacked on to a larger piece of legislation. However, not tweaking fair use, for now anyway, is probably positive for libraries. Remember when legislation is passed it is up to our courts to interpret the legislation, and that interpretation is usually to what citizens, libraries, and other entities are supposed to adhere. Today, despite various appeals and possible negative oral argument at the appellate level, it still appears that the progress of such cases as Cambridge University Press v. Becker and the Authors Guild v HathiTrust reveal positive headway for libraries and the academy’s use of materials for educational purposes via fair use. Further, for those who do not like the manner in which fair use is currently being implemented, have you ever heard the saying “the devil you know is better than the devil you do not know?” In other words, if Congress tweaks or issues a massive overhaul of the fair use doctrine the courts would ultimately be given a fresh stab at interpreting such newly revised legislation. Since the judicial progress of cases interpreting our current version of the fair use statute is mostly pro-use, if you will, it might behoove libraries if Congress leaves fair use as is, for now, and instead consider offering a more liberal approach to section 108 of title 17 of the United States Code. Such liberalization of this statute could offer more explicit latitude for libraries to digitize content and make it publicly available. Also, it would be helpful if Congress would give more consideration to passing legislation that strengthens open access without extended embargoes.
Omnibus Appropriations Bill
Speaking of open access, Congress recently passed an Omnibus Appropriations Bill that is a step in the right direction in improving access to taxpayer-funded research. This legislation directs federal agencies (with research budgets more than $100 million per year) within Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education to provide online access to articles funded by that research, however, these articles may be subjected to a 12 month embargo. This legislation is more legally robust than the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Directive on Public Access issued by President Obama a few months ago, however, it is hopeful Congress will soon consider putting forth legislation that promotes open access and does not permit such extended embargoes. For example SPARC is currently calling for this law to be strengthened by decreasing the embargo period to 6 months, making access to these materials available via a centralized repository, and providing universal access to these materials.
Disseminating Information (Disinformation) With The Click Of A Button
The Internet and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can present conundrums when juxtaposing them with the law as it is written, and certain individual posts. For example, in 2012, a libel lawsuit manifested after the American Career College terminated an employee. After termination, the ex-employee allegedly posted libelous information about the College on Wikipedia. As is noted in that case, in determining whether written statements are libelous, courts must weigh any real harm to the plaintiff against a defendant’s First Amendment right to free speech. Another concern in this case involved the potential for such alleged libelous statements to be copied, pasted, and disseminated to thousands or more individuals with a couple of clicks. Of course, all of which could be done by utilizing various social media platforms.
These types of cases where an individual’s right to free speech and an entity’s (for-profit or not-for-profit) right to not be defiled in writing are becoming more prevalent. For example, in 2009 a student at Butler University posted statements to a personal blog that the University administration perceived as defamatory (libelous). The University administration initially sued the student, not knowing this student attended Butler University. Upon learning this student attended their own University, this lawsuit was apparently settled. It is noted that such a lawsuit and other similar cases challenge the standard of academic freedom of students, faculty, staff, and all members of academies established by Chief Justice Earl Warren in his comments conveyed in Sweezy v. New Hampshire decided in 1957. Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957).
Two other apropos lawsuits filed a few weeks ago further illustrate the free speech/libel dilemma. These two cases are pending in Texas and involve family arguments, employment disputes, and alleged libelous actions. One case involves an owner of a funeral home who is asking the Texas Supreme Court to issue a permanent injunction to prevent a family member from repeating (resending on Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia…, or posting to a website) ten specific statements deemed false by a Bastrop County jury. In a second case before the Texas Supreme Court, a business owner is asking the court to mandate a former employer to remove statements from two websites that are allegedly libelous.
Why should we care about such libel lawsuits? Only one of the above-mentioned cases involves a non-profit university, however, such accusations of libelous conduct may become more common as instructors implement more Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 in their pedagogy. Also, students freely post about university related matters on their personal blogs, Facebook, and other social media sites, similar to the student at Butler. Further, the costs of these lawsuits can be astronomical. For example, in the funeral home case mentioned above, the jury awarded $4.5 million to the funeral home, due to the defendant’s alleged libelous statements. Even if a defendant is found not liable of defamation, attorney’s fees alone can be stellar. For example, in 2012, during a separate employment related libel case in Tarrant County, Texas, a court awarded the plaintiffs $14 million as damages. This award was overturned on appeal, yet the defendant’s legal fees totaled just over $1 million.
The pertinent point is with the ease of disseminating information (disinformation), statements distributed electronically could be interpreted as defamatory by an audience. Thus, it is important to provide training to staff, faculty, students, and the greater university community regarding what is defamation (libel, slander), what is private information, and how to prevent a breach of either kind. Further, it is wise to provide training regarding what is and is not acceptable in regard to posting to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 sites. Additionally, pass along this training to students; closely monitor student posts in online courses; if a student makes a mistake, use the blunder as a teachable moment; create an internal retraining and/or judicial process to deal with alleged misconduct; create a centralized site that the university community may consult to educate themselves; and on this site offer a comment box on which individuals may post questions and receive answers to their queries.
In sum, it is important to be cognizant of the different types of defamation in general: slander (spoken); libel (written). It is also wise to be careful what one puts in writing, but also defend your right to academic freedom in putting what you want in writing. Further, it is astute to educate students on such matters, and use any student missteps as educational opportunities for said students. It will additionally be interesting to discover how the Texas Supreme Court holds in the two above-mentioned cases, so that we may envisage how a similar scenario occurring in the academic library setting might result.
Eagle Commons Library Announces New Spring 2014 Hours
Eagle Commons Library’s hours are changing for Spring 2014.
The new hours are:
- Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Friday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Course Reserves located in ECL will only be available during our open hours. While these changes at ECL are necessary given budget constraints, library services will still be available online and at Willis Library during extended hours.
- Circulation and reference assistance are available at the Willis Library Services Desk Monday-Thursday until midnight and on Saturdays from noon-4 and Sundays from 1-midnight.
- Patrons can use the Online Holds service to have books delivered to Willis Library for after-hours or weekend pick up.
- Printing, scanning, and laptop checkout is available 24 hours in Willis Library during the long semesters (excluding University holidays).
Direct comments or questions about the new ECL Spring 2014 hours to Julie Leuzinger, Eagle Commons Library Department Head.