At the University of Minnesota Libraries we are planning to implement standards and policy for copyright and fair use. (Finally!) One of the administrative issues we're dealing with is vesting authority for resolving disputes between users and staff. Sometimes these tensions are the result of reasonable disagreement about fair use. Frontline staff here can always refer these matters to their managers, but the managers have no one to refer to, other than the Office of the General Counsel. At least, now, with the new standards and policy in place I'll be able to appeal to these when Prof. Jones wants me to make a copy of "Nowhere in Africa" and disagrees with me that doing so would be an infringement. But, if Prof. Jones wants to pursue the matter beyond me, I haven't anyone in the library to refer her to. Next up in the chain of escalation is the OGC, and they don't want to be bothered by this sort of quibbling.
I'm wondering how other libraries handle escalation of copyright disputes with users. I presume there are a variety of models, probably ranging from throwing up hands and screaming to sending users to copyright workshops. I'm interested to know about any libraries that have a copyright permissions manager or authority in place as the resident expert who would be available, if wanted, to all service staff for assistance in the case of disagreement with users over interpretation of fair use. Do any of you have such resident authority in place? If so, is it a formal position, recognized in the person's position description? And, is it a larger position, e.g. permissions manager for reserve services. Or, is the authority vested informally but appropriately because that person "knows" about copyright.
Any reply may be sent to me directly. I'm happy to summarize responses for the group if there's interest.
Dan Donnelly, Manager
Learning Resources Center
University of Minnesota Libraries
612.624.6536 Fax 612.625.5583
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