butler150px[Cross posted from brandonbutler.info] Yesterday an exciting new (free!) book was published to provide expert advice on a wide range of issues relevant to anyone who cares about (and especially those who care for) sound recordings. The ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation was made under the auspices of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections and the Council on Library and Information Resources with funding from the Library of Congress. I have two contributions about the legal dimensions of this important work.

First, I hope to have struck a few blows for the right and the good in my chapter on copyright, which discusses the legal rights as well as the responsibilities of libraries and others who have sound recording collections. Unfortunately much of the copyright guidance I see circulating for practitioners consists almost entirely of “thou shalt not,” and pays little attention to the substantial part of the law that says “please do!” When it comes to preservation, the law can be quite favorable, indeed, and I hope folks will feel more confident taking advantage of their rights based on this book.

In addition to my chapter on copyright generally, there is also a supplemental report on fair use that Peter Jaszi and I wrote drawing on all of the existing best practices that treat the subject of fair use for libraries, scholarship, teaching, etc. Peter and I spoke with a variety of practitioners working with recorded sound to find out what some of their recurring challenges are when it comes to copyright and fair use. Happily, we found that there were quite a few that could be addressed using principles derived from library and education professionals’ existing norms. So, we provide a kind of meta-best practices that shows how each of several sound recording challenges can be met using fair use. The situations we discuss include:

  1. Electronic access to rare/unique materials for offsite researchers/users
  2. Electronic access to collected materials for affiliated students and instructors in support of teaching
  3. Preservation/format-shifting
  4. Collecting online materials
  5. Data-mining/non-consumptive research
  6. Digital exhibits and exhibits for the public
  7. Transfer of copies to third parties in support of down- stream fair uses

I hope you will check out the ARSC Guide, and (if you like it) share it far and wide.