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Kraemer Copyright Conference Review
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I have been remiss in not writing about the Kraemer Copyright Conference in Colorado Springs, CO, which I was lucky enough to be able to attend from June 6-7. As described by conference organizer Carla Myers in the email interview I published on this blog in April, the conference has been held every year since 2013 at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. This year, for the first time, the conference spanned two full days and was organized around the theme “Libraries and Copyright: Past, Present, and Future.”


The highlight of the conference for me was definitely meeting the other people who were in attendance. In addition to community leaders like Kevin Smith, Kenneth D. Crews, and Carrie Russell, all of whom I regularly link to and quote on this blog, I very much enjoyed meeting so many other librarians interested in copyright! As great as the presentations were, they could not compare the conversations I had in between sessions, during question and answer sessions, and after we finished for the day.


Just to be clear, though, the session were great! My favorites were Kevin Smith’s presentation on “Libraries & Copyright: The Past and Present,” which included discussion of a pre-history of copyright dating back to a dispute between St. Columba and St. Finnian in 6th century Ireland that I was not previously familiar with; a panel discussion called “Copyright & Libraries: Looking Forward,” where I learned about Brandon Butler’s amazing seven-word summary of a user’s rights and responsibilities under 17 USC 107 (“Use fairly. Not too much. Have reasons.”); Sarah McCleskey’s thought-provoking break-out session on “Copyright and Video Content in Libraries,” which inspired a great discussion; and Carrie Russell’s brutally honest presentation called “Copyright Law and Policy: Advocating for Libraries,” a report from the front lines of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology’s fight to represent the interests of the public in a legislate environment increasingly dominated by big companies. Slides and other materials from these and all of the other session are available on the KCC’s website.


Some other things I learned include:

  • That Kevin Smith and Kenneth D. Crews have a great comedic rapport--their joint session “Copyright in Action: Practical Advice on Addressing Copyright Issues at Your” featured the best shtick I’ve ever seen at a library conference!
  •  That a tremendously useful-looking repository of copyright educational resources for higher education called CHEER! exists.
  • That in a paper called “The Impact of Substantial Compliance with Copyright Exceptions on Fair Use” Jonathan Band argued that although courts typically view specific exceptions to copyright and fair use in isolation, these exceptions should exercise a “powerful gravitational pull” on the fair use analysis in situations where the defendant is in substantial compliance with the requirements of the exception. In fact, on pages 18-19 he comes right out and says something I’ve always thought: “[b]ecause Congress in section 110(1) specifically permitted an educational institution to perform a copy of a motion picture to potentially thousands of students over decades, streaming the same film from a course website would have no meaningful effect ‘upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. . . .’”
  • Although I knew the Section 108 Due Diligence Project existed, I had no idea it was so far along!

It sounds like a near-certainty that this conference will take place again next year. For anyone contemplating going, on-campus housing is available for a very low rate (I paid less than $50/night), and Colorado Springs is lovely this time of year, so it may be worth arriving early or staying a day or two extra to take in the sights such as the Garden of the Gods and to partake in local fare such as Odell Brewing Co.’s 90 Shilling Ale, the best new (to me) beer I’ve tried this year. I caught a connecting flight in Denver this year and then took a cab to UCCS from the Colorado Springs airport, but another option would be to just fly into Denver and rent a car: the two cities are just an hour apart.


NOTE: in this post I promised “detailed dispatches,” and I know this doesn’t qualify! The slides on the KCC’s website really are much better than my notes, though, so I hope you’ll forgive me!


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