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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. The previous Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
6/29/2012 9:29:57 AM

Book Review—Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators, Crews, Kenneth D., Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators, 3rd Edition. Chicago, IL, American Library Association, 2012, 192 pages inclusive of appendices and index. Softcover, $57, ISBN 978-0-8

The stated purpose of Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators“ is to provide a basis for understanding and working with the copyright issues of central importance to education, librarianship, and scholarship.” (p. xii)  Mission accomplished!  Kenneth Crews has written an excellent resource, providing effective strategies for both librarians and educators to use to address the complex copyright issues that arise in schools, libraries and other educational settings without sacrificing the teaching and scholarship needs of their patrons.  This book is a must have for all library types.

Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators takes the reader on a “graceful and systematic walk through the principles and functioning of copyright.” (p.1).  It is the authors hope that by reflecting on the entire copyright path from beginning to end, the reader will find various steps along the way that will lead to a more direct and easier answers to their questions and encourage a move away from the often relied upon, and complicated concept of fair use. As such, Part One of this book, The Reach of Copyright, addresses the basics of copyright protections, while Part Two, Rights of Ownership, discusses who owns the copyright, how these determinations are made, and the rights of the copyright owner.  Part Three provides an in-depth discussion of the law’s fair use exception.  In this section the author painstakingly walks the reader through the importance of fair use in the growth of knowledge, the language of the statute, and the four factors used to determine whether the exception applies.  In the final chapter in this section, the author applies the fours factors to common scenarios that arise in the academic and library settings.  In Part Four of the book, Focus on Education and Libraries, the author examines the TEACH Act, Section 108 provisions and how changes in technology, the rise of distance education, and other classroom innovations have affected the application of traditional copyright principles in these non-traditional settings.  Part Five, the Special Features section, discusses the complexities encountered when dealing with musical compositions and sound recordings, the DMCA and its anti-circumvention features, the law’s application to unpublished materials and archives, and obtaining permissions from copyright owners.

From beginning to end, there are many extra features in this book, when used in combination with its straight-forward, clearly written text, makes this an excellent resource on this topic.  They provide the reader with a wealth of information that can be used to clarify the points the author is making in the text.  First, most chapters begin with a list of “key points” the author hopes to convey, making it clear from the beginning which aspects of the law will be explained in that chapter.  Then, throughout the chapter, the reader will find boxes that provide citation to relevant cases, references to other chapters in the book for more detailed explanations, hypotheticals applying the law, and extensive end notes at the chapter’s conclusion.  All of this allows the reader to see how these concepts have been applied both by the courts and in common library and academic situations, making it easier to understand the complexities of this area of law. 

Furthermore, the appendices provided by the author are also very useful.  The first is selected portions of the Copyright Act the reader can refer to while going through the text of the book.  Next are several checklists the reader can use to help apply various aspects of the law.  There is a checklist to make fair use determinations; a checklist for applying the TEACH ACT requirements; and checklists for libraries to use when making preservation or replacement copies, or copies for a private study.  Finally, the author provides a model letter for permission requests, a guide to additional readings on this topic, and a subject index.  This book is more than just theory.  It also focuses on the practical implications of the law and provides the tools librarians and educators need to make informed decisions about the use of the material.

Overall, this is an excellent resource and a must-have for anyone who deals with copyright issues in libraries and educational settings.  The author has succeeded in providing a clear path for the reader that will enable her to make decisions that comply with the spirit of the copyright laws while protecting the interests of the copyright holders.

Posted By Christine Hepler at 6/29/2012 9:29:57 AM  0 Comments
6/27/2012 3:46:11 PM

The July Issue of Spectrum is Now Online

The July issue of Spectrum is now available online in a PDF format and includes articles about:

Paper copies of the July issue were mailed to members June 26. Look for yours in the mail!

Posted By Ashley St. John at 6/27/2012 3:46:11 PM  0 Comments
6/25/2012 4:50:55 PM

Book Review - Bloomberg Visual Guide to Municipal Bonds

Bloomberg Visual Guide to Municipal Bonds, by Robert Doty.  Bloomberg Press, 2012, 192 pages inclusive of appendices and index.  Softcover, $60, ISBN 9781118152553.

Bloomberg Press’s Bloomberg Visual Series thus far includes the Guide to Municipal Bonds and the Guide to Candlestick Charting.  Covering the relevant topics of finance and trading, the Bloomberg Visual Series truly lives up to its name.  Throughout the Guides are large, colored charts, color coded key points, step-by-step instructions, do it yourself features, definitions, and smart investor tips.  This easy-to-follow style is visually pleasing and draws the reader into discovering more on the topic.

Having these visual features throughout the text of the Guide to Municipal Bonds helped me as a reader better understand the topic of municipal bonds.  Had the book simply been a textbook without any added features, I, as a novice to the topic of municipal bonds, would have easily become lost and mired down with all of the new words and terms being presented to me.  I would dare to say that the topic of municipal bonds is not one that many of us learned while pursuing either our law degree or masters in library science.  Thus, a text with these added visual features is highly beneficial not only to a seasoned practitioner by also to us librarians.

The book covers twelve chapters with each ranging from as many as twenty-six pages to as few as eight pages.  Easily readable, each chapter typically begins with key points and definitions to get the reader acclimated to the topic being presented.  Throughout each chapter the reader will be guided by each type of visual feature the book offers reinforcing the words written by the author.  Additional information is given at the conclusion of most chapters whereby the reader may find other sources to reinforce what he or she had just read.

The author concludes with two appendices.  The first appendix provides additional resources for the practitioner dealing with municipal securities.  These resources include additional Bloomberg materials such as Bloomberg Municipal News and Bond Data, resources of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), resources of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and a host of others.  The second appendix provides a Bloomberg Functionality Cheat Sheet which lists several mnemonics that are used in Bloomberg terminals to access the Bloomberg Professional service and monitor real-time market data.

As the president of a private consulting company in Sacramento, California, Doty lends a wealth of knowledge to this text.  He has written numerous publications in the field and has participated in principal drafting roles for several national and regional municipal disclosure and securities law guidance publications.  His knowledge and expertise in the field combined with the visual aspects of the Bloomberg Visual Series has produced a well-organized, easy-to-follow book on the topic of municipal bonds.  It is a good item to add to any law library collection especially those that may be lacking items in this area.  

Posted By Stephen Parks at 6/25/2012 4:50:55 PM  0 Comments
TOPICS: book reviews