Librarianship & Intellectual Property

Core Values of Librarianship

(Pulled from Michael Gorman's Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century)

  • Stewardship
    • preserving the human record to ensure that future generations know what we know
    • caring for and nurturing of education for librarianship so that we pass on our best professional values and practices
    • being good stewards of our libraries so that we earn the respect of our communities
  • Service
    • ensuring that all our policies and procedures are animated by the ethic of service to individuals, communities, society, and posterity
    • evaluating all our policies and procedures using service as a criterion
  • Intellectual Freedom
    • maintaining a commitment to the idea that all people in a free society should be able to read and see whatever they wish to read and see * defending the intellectual freedom of all members of our communities
    • defending the free expression of minority opinion
    • making the library's facilities and programs accessible to all
  • Rationalism
    • organizing and managing library services in a rational manner
    • applying rationalism and the scientific method to all library procedures and programs
  • Literacy and learning
    • encouraging literacy and the love of learning
    • encouraging life long sustained reading
    • making the library a focus of literacy teaching
  • Equity of access to recorded knowledge and information
    • ensuring that all library resources and programs are accessible to all
    • overcoming technological and monetary barriers to access
  • Privacy
    • ensuring the confidentiality of records of library use
    • overcoming technological invasions of library use
  • Democracy
    • playing our part in maintaining the values of a democratic society
    • participating in the educational process to ensure the educated citizenry that is vital to democracy
    • employing democracy in library management

Articles to Read

Intellectual Freedom

Intellectual Freedom Issues - a list by ALA of popular Intellectual Freedom issues (ex: RFID, DRM, CIPA, USA Patriot Act)

When US-Made Censorware Ends up in Iron Fists Global Online Freedom Act and the ethics of selling censorware to Burma, Saudi Arabia, China, and others.

Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID's)

Berkeley Public Library RFID FAQ - This is a nice clear overview about the use of RFID's in libraries.


Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)

"The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders — and the technology companies that distribute their content — the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates." from Circumventing Competition: The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by Timothy B. Lee

Fair Use Under Fire - A Library Journal article "ALA's copyright expert gives her take on the challenges digital rights management presents for end users—and librarians"

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - Wikipedia article on DMCA

Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) - The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law enacted by Congress in December 2000 to address concerns about access to offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. CIPA imposes certain types of requirements on any school or library that receives funding support for Internet access or internal connections from the “E-rate” program – a program that makes certain technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. In early 2001, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules implementing CIPA.

People to Know

Lawrence Lessig - professor at Stanford law, copyright expert


Creative Commons - Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."

What is Intellectual Property?

Library Bill of Rights

SPARC The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. The group's main focus are initiatives to promote open access in the world of scholarly publishing.

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