Re: What constitutes a reasonable search

Francis C Poole (fpoole@UDel.Edu)
Wed, 23 Oct 2002 09:23:07 -0700 (PDT)

Ah, the joys of doing copyright/permission searches for out-of-print
A few years
ago we were trying to be extra careful in getting permissions. In one
instance we were tracking down a "monkey brain-electrode" film (you may
have been unlucky enough to have seen one of these) that was produced by a
psych dept. at some university in the 60s or was it 50s? Anyway after
several phone calls over two or three weeks, we got in touch with an
outfit that dimly remembered distributing it. That led us to another
contact in the university psych. dept. who said they believed the rights
were held by a retired professor. After more phone calls we learned that
the professor had died and that his widow supposedly held the rights.
Several more phone calls led us to a nursing home where his widow was now
living. We got her name and wrote her a letter of inquiry. She replied and
we sent her a permission form which was returned with a shaky signature
granting us permission to make a VHS dub.

After this experience I felt like I had had electrodes planted in MY
BRAIN. Since then we go through 2 or 3 quick steps and if we can't locate
the copyright holder by then we usually go ahead and make the copy. I have
other examples which I won't burden the list with, including a phone call
to an octogenarian living in Spain! It would be nice if some of these
"rare" orphaned 16mm educational films were available on video. But until
that happens I guess we gotta do what we gotta do. We try to do things in
compliance with copyright laws at least so far as the electrodes reach!

Francis Poole, Librarian
University of Delaware Library
Media Services

On Wed, 23 Oct 2002, Gary Handman wrote:

> I think this definition of reasonable is reasonable (even beyond
> reasonable). Except for the letter (I say the hell with it) it's pretty
> much what we do here. I also think documenting the attempt on paper before
> making the copy is a good idea. I think I may have said earlier that we
> include a note in our local cataloging records indicating that it is a
> preservation copy of an out-of-distribution title. We do not include a
> record for the copy in OCLC.
> Gary
> At 07:15 PM 10/22/2002 -0700, you wrote:
> >OK... so in our discussion of the US Copyright law allowing libraries to
> >copy a film/video under certain circumstances the question arose about what
> >constitutes a "reasonable search" for an unused copy.
> >
> >This sounds like a good question to post to this discussion list for
> >comment.
> >
> >I suggest that a reasonable search would include (but not necessarily be
> >limited to):
> >
> >1) checking the standard resources: Variety Video Directory, Video Source
> >Book, Books in Print (lists videos now),
> >
> >2) An OCLC search for alternate distributors
> >
> >3) Searching the large distributors' web/catalogs (Facets, Filmmakers
> >Library, Women Make Movies, First Run Icarus, etc.)
> >
> >4) A letter to the last known address of the last know distributor
> >
> >5) Attempted phone calls to the last known telephone number of the last
> >known distributor
> >
> >6) A posting to this discussion list (VideoLib) asking for information from
> >others.....
> >
> >
> >What other approaches would constitute a reasonable effort?
> >
> >
> >
> >deg farrelly, Associate Librarian
> >Media/Communications Studies/Women's Studies
> >Arizona State University West
> >P.O. Box 37100
> >Phoenix, Arizona 85069-7100
> >Phone: 602.543.8522
> >Email:
> >
> Gary Handman
> Director
> Media Resources Center
> Moffitt Library
> UC Berkeley