Building Hours for Summer 2014

The regular Summer Session (June 2 - August 8, 2014) hours for Willis Library are:

  • Open 24 hours


  • June 2, 2014 — Open 7am - 24 hours
  • July 3, 2014 — 24 hours - Close 7pm
  • July 4 & 5, 2014 — Closed
  • July 6, 2014 — Open at 11am - 24 hours

Please see the Libraries' Summary of Hours page for Summer 2014 hours and closings at Discovery Park Library, Eagle Commons Library, and the Media Library.

Dr. Martin Halbert Receives 2014 TDL Award

Dean of UNT Libraries, Dr. Martin Halbert, received the 2014 Texas Digital Library (TDL) Scholarly Communications Award at the annual Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL). This award honors the work of an individual or group in a Texas academic library who has made significant advances in our understanding of the issues surrounding scholarly communications and/or in developing innovative solutions to address the current academic publishing system.

The contributions of Dr. Halbert to the landscape of scholarly communication and open access are significant and far-reaching, not just in Texas, but nationally and internationally. Local noteworthy accomplishments include his leadership in the adoption of the UNT Open Access Policy, our UNT Scholarly Works open access repository, and the annual UNT Libraries’ hosted Open Access Annual Symposium. Dr. Halbert has also played an instrumental leadership role with the MetaArchive, the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, the DataRes research project on data management, the ETD Lifecycle Management project, and the Chronicles in Preservation project, as well as establishing the Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation (ANADP) international conference on digital preservation. These initiatives offer a sampling of Dr. Halbert's many achievements in the field of scholarly communication and open access.


We congratulate Dr. Halbert on the 2014 TDL Scholarly Communications Award and thank him for his tremendous efforts.  

Article by Laura Waugh

Photos by Daniel Alemneh

Librarians Ride in TLA's First Cycling for Libraries Event

UNT librarians Kris Helge and Susan Whitmer recently took part in the Texas Library Association's first Cycling for Libraries event in San Antonio.

The event helped to kick off the association's annual conference.

Cycling for Libraries is an international movement to raise awareness of libraries’ roles in community education and to provide networking opportunities for library professionals.

The event began at San Antonio’s Riverwalk bike trail with an itinerary that included two innovative libraries on a 20-mile route. The first destination was Bibliotech, the all-digital library. Bibliotech librarians highlighted the features of this born-digital facility: computers, e-readers, smart boards, interactive furniture, reading room, and café. Bibliotech's mission is to bring digital literacy to Bexar County.

To learn more, please see the full artice in UNT's InHouse: Librarians ride in TLA's first Cycling for Libraries event.

Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 954 F. Supp. 282 (S.D.N.Y 2013) and Fair Use Revisited

In revisiting this case, we remember that Google entered into agreements with numerous libraries such as Harvard University, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress to digitize millions of print books maintained in the collections of these libraries. Although most of the books Google scanned were out of print, the majority were still protected by copyright. However, each of the books protected by copyright and scanned by Google were only displayed via three snippet views as a result of a Google books search. Each snippet view also referred researchers to potential sellers of the books, such as Google additionally created several limitations for each snippet view. Some of these limitations included only displaying one snippet view per page, no more than three snippet views were accessible regardless of how many times a user searched for a book, and at least one out of every ten pages of a book was redacted.

The Authors Guild objected to the scanning of the books in these various collections and sued Google alleging that Google committed copyright infringement by scanning the books, giving digital copies to the participating libraries (each partner library received a digital copy of each of their own books that was scanned), and by displaying portions of books via search engine results. The district court held that such scanning was not copyright infringement, served a social utility, and was instead fair use. This case is now on appeal.

In retrospect, some interesting insights manifested from this case. One of these interesting insights discussed at the Ball State Copyright Conference I attended last week was that the district court ruled in favor of fair use because Google used the copyrighted materials for a transformative purpose (for a purpose separate from the original creators’ purpose). The authors and publishers created these works to distribute information and to make money, whereas, Google used the works to create a searchable index and a location tool, which offered a new social value. Further, this transformative use created a transformative market, so it did not directly compete with the market served by the original creation. The court further noted that Google was really not directly benefiting monetarily from this transformative use. More importantly, this case and other recent cases indicated that when a court deemed a use of a copyrighted work as being transformative, the other three factors seemed to fall by the wayside. Why? The transformative purpose meets the first factor of fair use (purpose of use). Additionally, the transformative purpose creates a transformative market, thus the use complies with the fourth factor of fair use (the effect on the original market) and the transformative use does not directly compete with the original market; and the transformative use usually assuages any negative manifested issues in regard to how much of a work is used (the third factor), because the transformative nature of the use nullifies any lengthy use of the original item.

In sum, when a copyrighted item is used in a genuinely transformative manner, the judicial branch is consistently changing the way it analyzes fair use. The more transformative a use, the more the concerns with commercial effect and how much of an item is used becomes less important. Therefore, this is a reminder, that for now, fair use and transformative use is a fruitful tool for libraries to utilize when using copyrighted items. Although Congress is currently reviewing the modern Copyright Act, and it may issue a proposed new Act in one of the next sessions, the Judicial Branch’s current interpretation of fair use is greatly benefiting libraries in America. Therefore, it might not be a bad result for libraries if Congress leaves the current Copyright Act as-is. 

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.