Fight back in the copyright conflict with Unglue.It!

06/12/2012 § 1 Comment

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two part series. An interview with Lauren Pressley, author of So You Want to Be a Librarian, was posted last week on Thursday, November 29.

Librarian and author Lauren Pressley is working with crowdfunding startup unglue.it to provide free access to her book So You Want To Be a Librarian. We interviewed Lauren last week to learn more about the book, and now we have some thoughts from Andromeda Yelton, a member of the unglue.it team and a fantastic librarian in her own right. Read her ideas on the current campaign, the future of public information in ebook form, and hacker-librarians’ role in the copyright conflict!

Why is unglue.it excited about Lauren’s book?
We have deep roots in the library world — Eric Hellman’s first company was Openly Informatics, which worked with library linked data, and I’m a librarian.  Eric’s idea for Unglue.it came in part out of watching the library world struggle with problems of ebooks and copyright.  And all along, many of our biggest fans have been librarians.  So to be able to offer a book by a librarian, for librarians, about librarianship, feels like the stars aligning.
What potential does this campaign hold, if successful? (What will it mean for libraries, for unglue.it, for library school students, etc.)
As a Creative-Commons-licensed ebook, it would be free for book lovers everywhere to read, copy, and share.  Every library school admissions site could give it away to prospective students, to help them understand if a library career is right for them.  Every library career services and advising program could give it away to all of their students, to help them make informed career planning decisions.  As librarians we love quality information and as students you need books you can afford — this is both!
In addition, since the campaign license has just been changed from CC BY-NC-ND to CC BY-SA, you’ll be free to modify the book, as long as you attribute Lauren and share your modified book under a compatible Creative Commons license.  That means that as librarianship evolves, you can keep this book up to date, as well as use it as an instrument for telling your own story about becoming a librarian.
What else should we know?
Over the weekend a Congressional staffer proposed some logical reforms to copyright law – clarifying fair use rights, shortening terms of protection, increasing the cost of copyright renewal so that only the most commercially valuable properties remain in copyright.  This would have allowed creators to be protected while making it easier for creative works to enter our public-domain heritage.  These sensible reforms were shot down within days by the powerful media industry.
To me this says if we want a copyright culture that protects a balance between creators and consumers — a culture that insures the progress of the useful arts, the way the Constitution says it should — a culture that supports libraries’ mission of sharing and preservation and public education — we’re going to have to create it ourselves, from the grassroots up.  We can’t sit around waiting for lawyers and lobbyists to crafts a system that benefits libraries.  It’s going to take risk and hard work, and it’s up to us.

For even more fun, Andromeda & Lauren are running a photo contest! Post photos of your copy (or your library’s copy) of the book in creative places doing fun things. Notoriety and swag to be awarded by celebrity guest judges Andy Woodworth and Cindi Trainor. Post to your favorite social media by Dec 15 to be eligible, more details at http://blog.unglue.it/2012/11/27/so-you-want-to-be-a-librarian-photo-posting-contest/

Andromeda Yelton is a former Latin teacher and recent library science graduate (with a background in mathematics) who’s quickly made a name for herself in the library world. She has a BA in Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College, an MA in Classics from Tufts, and recently completed her MLS from Simmons. She blogs at Across Divided Networks and at ALA TechSource, and won the 2010 LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award for the article “A Simple Scheme for Book Classification Using Wikipedia”. She is a 2011 American Library Association Emerging Leader. Andromeda was one of the leaders of the crowdsourced philanthropy project Buy India a Library. She also has first-hand experience with public broadcasting- she was once a listener contestant on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. (Bio credit: unglue.it)
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