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Fair Use Challenges in Academic and Research Libraries

Monday, December 20, 2010

Abstract

This report summarizes research into the current application of fair use to meet the missions of U.S. academic and research libraries. Sixty-five librarians were interviewed confidentially by telephone for around one hour each. They were asked about their employment of fair use in five key areas of practice: support for teaching and learning, support for scholarship, preservation, exhibition and public outreach, and serving disabled communities. Interviewees reported a strong commitment to obeying copyright law; rarely concerned about their own liability, librarians primarily felt responsible for ensuring their institutions were in compliance with the law. Practice varied considerably, from a rigid permissions culture to ample employment of fair use.

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