Copyright for Library and Information Service Professionals

Librarian Career Development

ISSN: 0968-0810

Article publication date: 1 October 1999




McCracken, R. (1999), "Copyright for Library and Information Service Professionals", Librarian Career Development, Vol. 7 No. 10, pp. 109-110.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The Aslib Know How Guides are described as a series of short, easily accessible guides to issues of current concern. Paul Pedley’s book certainly lives up to that billing, for nothing could be more contemporary or of more concern to library and information service professionals than a short, practical guide to copyright.

The author is a well‐known and experienced practitioner in the field and he has written a guide that adopts a very practical approach to the subject. In the current climate of rapid technological and legislative change it is often left to the library and information service professionals to make sense of and offer guidance to users seeking clarification on a range of copyright issues. This is not always fair and is often not by design but by default. Yet, if no‐one else can offer advice, how is the professional to react to queries without seeming obstructive or ill‐informed and without putting either the institution or the user at risk of infringement.

This book may provide at least some of the answers in an easily readable and accessible form. The issues are set out clearly and comprehensively and the practical, down‐to‐earth approach realises the legislation in everyday situations. The guide begins by developing an understanding of what copyright is. It then proposes sensible measures to reduce the risk of libraries and their staff being held responsible for breach of copyright by their users. This is set in the context of the more commonly applicable permitted acts, fair dealing and library privilege, and licensing schemes. Later there are exercises in applying knowledge through a short series of realistic case studies.

Electronic media are, as one would expect, addressed at some length and there is a very readable account of the current debate between those who lobby for tighter legislative protection of copyright, including the erosion of some of those permitted acts currently available, and those seeking to construct defences against that erosion.

This is a useful and entertaining read that will appeal to a wide audience. There is something here for everyone. Those requiring advice will find it here, while the more experienced will enjoy the account of the current debate on electronic issues.

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