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"A Study of Copyright Infringement Preventative Measures in Scottish Public Libraries." K. Young. D. McMenemy. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2014. Download PDF (BibTeX) MSc Information and Library Studies

In acknowledgement of the difficulties faced by public libraries in balancing the interests of their users in fully utilizing the information available to them, against the moral and legal rights granted to intellectual property owners, this research explores the types of measures in place at public libraries to address copyright issues. The research focuses on the geographical domain of Scotland, with data on copyright infringement minimization measures currently in use being obtained through requests under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The aim of the research is to discover whether public libraries in Scotland are implementing active programmes of copyright infringement minimization and if so the types and quality of measures which they have in place as compared to the recommendations put forward by authoritative sources. It is also the objective of this research to examine the policy decisions taken by public libraries in respect of their obligations under copyright law, and in particular whether they consider being found liable for the digital copyright infringements of their users as a significant risk, especially in light of recent legislative developments such as the Digital Economy Act 2010.

Through the research undertaken, it was found that public libraries in Scotland do not take a uniform approach in their tackling of copyright issues. Some local authority areas have comprehensive programmes to address their legal and ethical obligations under copyright law while others did not have any formal policies on the matter. Certain measures were underutilized by most local authorities, such as active education of users and staff on their rights and responsibilities under copyright law. Differences were also noted in the treatment of! digital copyright infringements as against 'traditional' infringements, with digital copyright infringement being less obviously tackled, if even acknowledged, as part of copyright policies for public libraries.

The research findings allow for a number of recommendations to be put forward, namely: (1) that public libraries work together to produce a standard policy covering copyright issues applicable to libraries and how infringements can be minimised; (2) education programmes should be established for staff and users on the copyright provisions most applicable to them, including activities and resources targeted for certain categories of users such as teenagers or researchers; and (3) awareness should be raised of digital copyright infringement and information provided on an equal basis to 'traditional' copyright infringements.