Tag Archives: library-ethics

Film followup

As expected, the library copyright giants have stepped in to review the debate at UCLA.  ACRL Insider provided a hook for the Library Copyright Alliance’s tantalizing and detailed analysis of the case.   Having wrestled with some of this before when I researched the copyright merits of Google’s Book Project in its 2006 form, I was happy to find the familiar words and insight from writers like Jonathan Band, a major copyright analysis figure in the library world.  One of the intriguing arguments is the issue of repurposing a movie in the course environment.  For those who’ve studied film, just watching the film is only part of the experience as written assignments, background materials, etc. are also additions to the movie experience.  Therefore, the full-stream experience repurposes the work and makes the activity covered under fair use.  Other interesting arguments are made around the second element of the TEACH Act.  Although the section 110(2) stipulates “limited portions” of a work, Section 110(1) provides access to in-person full movie viewing.  While I see the logic in the argument, I just wonder if the film companies will overcome the letter of the law and allow full-streaming.


Teaching online classes with videos: Different rules for a different medium?

While reviewing the large number of unread posts in my Google Reader, I found Jessamyn’s note about the issues facing UCLA and their use of videos in online courses intriguing, both because I use videos when I teach and the new aspect of the debate regarding electronic media and online courses.   While course content — books, articles, essays, etc. — have already been well worked into online courses with the blessing of the copyright deities thanks to passwords and other protections, I have to ask  why should videos be different?  Granted, ripping a video off a VHS or DVD and uploading to the site is just obviously violating the terms of the video in the first place (the red warning screen does actually say something and is not just a small pause before a movie starts).  But, as an individual, I’ve grown accustomed to streaming my Netflix on my computer, my TiVo (if I had one), and soon my Nintendo Wii.  Many people have even grown accustomed to streaming videos from their phones thanks to YouTube.  So why shouldn’t we be trying to stream videos in online classes? Why should the copyright safeties function differently for videos (or perhaps even other multimedia) than the digitization and uploading of their print counterparts?

I don’t exactly have a lot of answers, so lets start with the questions.  Should we instead shift power over to Hulu and have students from political science and history watch select videos from the Biography channel? Should students learn about foreign traditions and cultures via Rick Steves’ Europe?  Furthermore, why are vendors like Baker & Taylor not stepping up to the plate to adjust their model of just selling DVDs to Netflix-style renting and streaming?  Other providers, such as DeepDyve, a search engine and article renter that helps provide temporary access to information for those unwilling or unable to make the full database licensing commitment, are providing fascinating alternatives to how people perceive, use, and access information and at what cost.   Couldn’t videos do the same since usually the video must be watched for a particular week or two of a class before moving on to the next topic?  Checkout options for eAudiobooks have been developed for public libraries by other vendors such as NetLibrary; so why are we struggling with videos so badly?

In short, I find the response to pull videos that are using the same protection methods as digitized print materials a wee bit extreme.  I can only hope that these other questions might help stimulate the aforementioned into some sort of action to find a better compromise than just saying no.  To hear more about the debate, I recommend looking at the Jan. 26 and Feb. 4 articles from Inside Higher Ed.

Library ethics and Tourette’s Syndrome

With words too profane to express here, I found myself facing a person with potential Tourette’s syndrome in my academic library today.  While I was stunned at being called a racist while I walked by in passing, I had no idea what else was in store.  Unsure what to do but comfortable with searching for my answer, I took to the internet and my databases to research what other individuals have encountered related to this problem.  As for library journals, no one seemed to have faced this issue.  The internet did provide one result but of little use to my situation.

To  make sure the issue wasn’t just unfiltered frustration, I spoke with the patron about checking his language.  The patron’s reply of not having said anything left me wondering, how do I even know if a person has Tourette’s or is just abusing the situation?  The National Tourette’s Syndrome Association provides a great set of resources to provide more information about the overall disease and dispel myths, such as the common cursing associated with Tourette’s is actually only present in about 15% of individuals with the disease.  Other elements that relate to the disease are ADHD and OCD  behaviors.  Knowing how to identify the disease is definitely key to prevent unnecessary discrimination and to help establish the issue at hand.

Alright, so with an idea of what TS is, how do we develop an idea of how to maintain the standards of the library while not preventing student access to public computer terminals?  What are the issues a post-secondary environment creates for both staff and students?

As a first step, reviewing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides information regarding the educational standards for students ages 3-21, including the issues of setting individual educational programs (IEP), eventual transition to adulthood issues, and how students with disabilities tie in to the other educational regulations such as No Child Left Behind.  If you have a few weeks to lose, you can probably stumble across some useful information, but the casual reader will be easily frustrated by the dense nature of the materials.

As my patrons’ patiences were wearing thin, I decided to ditch the government site and pursue ERIC, the educationally focused database, and found some great resources on how teachers are learning to manage student behavior.  Turton and Rayner provide a good, accessible article on the issue of Tourette’s in the academic sphere and some great, innovative ideas on how to positively create harmony instead of simply expelling or punishing a student without any explanation of what was wrong.  One idea in particular is the reverse mentoring where a peer group meets with a student to help teach him or her about social etiquette while the student mentors or tutors the students in math, science, English, or any other subject of his expertise. Having a session to also train a student on library etiquette with other student staff or librarians could be highly beneficial to both groups. While a temporary patron would not result in such an effort, the community college setting with return users that potentially stay at the same institution for more than a semester may be ideal for developing a library component along with the IEP.