Here is the interview of Benjamin White i did in co-operation with the Videopuppets when he attended the Nordic Cultural Commons Conference in Stockholm the 22. and 23. of October, 2008. White is the Intellectual Property Rights Manager at The British Library. The title of the interview was Libraries as platforms for sharing and below the embedded video is the list of questions from the notes and preparations i had made before the interview.
For starters about the situation in Britain
Introducing Ben White? ”Benjamin White, for starters, could please introduce yourself and your work at the British Library?”
Legislation news? ”What about recent news in the British copyright legislation”
Legislation trends? ”What trends do you see in the legislation?”
Problems? ”In the light of this, what do you see as the main problems regarding IPR in British libraries at this time?”
Strenghts? ”What do you see as the main strenghts of British libraries regarding IPR at this time?”
The situation in Britain seems rather similar to what we have here in Finland: all digital content (also movies and computer programs) in library collections have been negotiated for. The law doesn’t grant libraries a right to acquire, archive and/or distribute electronic publications.
”How could libraries assist people in content sharing? Should libraries offer technical solutions (similar to youtube, wikis, p2p networks etc.), support use of the already existing services, assist in organization and metadata creation, educate about licensing and copyright issues or merely provide network-access?”
(Public) libraries as educators in IPR? ”Libraries are helping people to access and also to produce and share material online. Do you see it could the job of libraries to educate the patrons about intellectual property rights both to respect the copyrightholders’ rights but also to inform about rights granted by the IPR (like make copies of CDs from the library collections) and to help them make educated decisions about licensing out their own works?”
Libraries as content producers ”Libraries are also creators and publishers of online content themselves. Of course there is the catalogue but also podcast and vidcasts of reading sessions for kids, reviews, readinglists and so forth. What type of licensing should be used for this content?”
EULAs: ”Especially with all the interest in web 2.0, some libraries seem keen in letting their patrons join the cataloging fun up in the ivory towers. In Finland Hämeenlinna library is piloting the Axiell Arena and other libraries are soon to follow. Do you have an opinion about what kinds of end user license agreements (EULA (ii-juu-el-ei)) should be established between the libraries and the producer-patron contributing to the library website?”
Cuts ”Libraries always whine they are lacking in resources? What services/processes would you remove if it would help libraries get better?”
Value of libraries online
”What is the value of libraries online anyway? What could libraries add to the internet that cannot be expected to emerge without them? When i think about what the fundamental ideas of libraries are supposed to be and when i look at what has happened in the internet over time i cannot help wondering could hypertext, links, The Internet Archive, Creative Commons, tagging, del.icio.us, The Gutenberg Project, early linkcatalogs like Yahoo! directory or dmoz, p2p networks, all the online literacy discussion forums, LibraryThing, various Google products or the Wikipedia Literacy Portal have been products and concept set up and popularized by libraries? Why weren’t they?”
Need for libraries online? ”Do people really need libraries in their online activities, or is online involvement mostly beneficial for libraries themselves? For everybody, including libraries, the internet has marketing potential, but also customer-intelligence, material collection, interoperation, worldwide news et cetera are some of the benefits the libraries can gain from the net. The reverse way to ask this question is: how would the disappearance of libraries affect the online activities of people? Would anyone really notice and what would be lost?”
Long tail and out of print ”In the era of digital content distribution, the concept of out of print is irrelevant. Limiting and enabling access to material is not tied to the existance or nonexistance of physical objects. Number of printed copies and export/import were the DRM of yesterday. How will this change the markets since libraries will lose one of their best advantages, the kind of long tail bookstores and other content distributors have lacked until now?”
I’m terribly sorry i cannot make proper shownotes and other metadata at this time, but warm thanks to Benjamin White for the interview and massive props to Videopuppets! Yay!