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RE: What does Tasini mean for us librarians?
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- Subject: RE: What does Tasini mean for us librarians?
- From: "Harper, Georgia" <GHARPER@utsystem.edu>
- Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 18:11:07 EDT
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I think there would be some fairly significant problems for libraries resulting from the two decisions about authors' rights, the 2nd Tasini case and the Ryan v. Carl case were it not for one fact: the authors who filed the suits seem to have been particularly irked by the attitudes of the defendants (the newspaper and magazine owners and electronic database owners in Tasini and the UnCover service in Ryan) that they owed the authors nothing. I have observed since these two suits came out that the National Writer's Union considers UnCover and CCC its buddies now, as both organizations are working closely with NWU to find authors to whom royalties are due and make every effort to pay them. Good faith/bad faith seems to be a critical issue, over and above whatever the law might say are the issues. For example, a library that relies on a licensor to guarantee that the licensor had the rights in a particular article to license to the library, or that CCC had the rights to grant permission to make a copy of the article for a course reserve, might *technically* be liable for infringement if it makes a copy and pays a royalty to the wrong entity (the publisher instead of the author), but the library was never in a position to change the practice of publishers or aggregators ignoring the fact that authors do not always assign copyright and sometimes are the proper parties to whom payment should go. Libraries have no way of knowing in any case what the arrangement was between the author and the publisher (beyond the "norms" for various industries), and they don't make a profit off of the work of the author, but these other entities, the publishers themselves and UnCover, do have some ability to discover who the payment should go to, and now the incentive as well, to find out before they make a profit on the work. Additionally, the writers finally have the legal incentive (affirmation of their rights) to get together and make figuring out who owns what easier. This is not to say we could not be sued, or that we might not have liability, only that the proper mix of incentives to sue us and payoffs for winning are missing. Georgia Harper University of Texas System Office of General Counsel Gharper@utsystem.edu <mailto:Gharper@utsystem.edu> 512 499-4462 (voice) /4523 (fax) Visit the Copyright Crash Course at http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/cprtindx.htm <http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/cprtindx.htm>
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