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Videos Show Value of Code of Best Practices in Fair Use

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Greg Cram on NYPL’s use of the Code

Today, October 21, 2014, ARL released three videos on the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, a clear and easy-to-use statement of reasonable approaches to fair use of copyrighted material, developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education. With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the new videos capture how the Code has assisted many communities by providing helpful guidance about the scope of best practice when fair use comes into play.

In one video, Greg Cram, associate director of copyright and information policy at the New York Public Library (NYPL), explains how NYPL utilizes the Code in support services and how, for example, the library used the Code in determining whether to digitize a large collection of materials from the 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair. An educational curriculum has been built around this collection and it is widely used in New York City schools. The materials have also been used in a free app, Biblion, that Apple named one of the best education apps of 2011.

In a second video, Peter Jaszi, law professor and faculty director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at American University’s (AU) Washington College of Law, and Patricia Aufderheide, university professor in the AU School of Communication and director of AU’s Center for Media and Social Impact, describe how codes of fair use are developed and discuss the impact such codes have had on multiple communities, including, filmmakers, scholars, and writers.

In the third video, Peter Jaszi and Brandon Butler, practitioner-in-residence at the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, discuss how research librarians view copyright and fair use, the eight areas that the Code addresses, and how the Code has been adopted by many in the research and academic library community. Butler concludes:

[W]hether…and how…the [Code] continues to thrive is really in the hands of the library community. It is to you now, out there, to take this document and breathe life into it, to make it a part of your policies, to make it a part of your policy making process, to share it with your allies throughout campus, to publicize the successes that you’re having as you apply this document…[T]here is a groundswell, now, of support for this document. It has a very strong foundation, and it’s for the library community at large to build on that foundation and continue to make this a living document.

Watch these videos and others about the Code on the ARL website.


The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.

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