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Overcoming Copyright Obstacles to Creating Digital Libraries

The 2013 Sara Fine Institute Lecture

When: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 / 2:30 pm

Where: Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom, School of Law, University of Pittsburgh, Barco Law Building, 3900 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Who:  Pamela Samuelson, Professor, Law School and School of Information, University of California at Berkeley

There are at least three serious obstacles to the creation of digital libraries.  While technological and financial obstacles are nontrivial, there are reasons to be optimistic that they can be overcome in time.  Copyright looms as perhaps the most significant impediment, one that seems more intractable than the others.  This talk will consider the role of the fair use limitation on copyright as a mechanism through which at least some digital library projects may be accomplished.  How much digital librarians will be able to depend on fair use will be affected by the forthcoming appellate court rulings in the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust and Authors Guild v. Google cases.   The talk will explore the pros and cons of some other options that have either been adopted or are under consideration to overcome copyright obstacles in the U.S. and elsewhere.  The implications of the current U.S. Copyright Office inquiry about orphan works and mass digitization will also be discussed.

Pamela Samuelson is the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley. An acknowledged expert on digital copyright law, intellectual property, cyberlaw and information policy, Samuelson is Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. She serves on the board of directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, as well as on the advisory boards for the Center for Democracy & Technology, Public Knowledge, and the Berkeley Center for New Media.

A 1971 graduate of the University of Hawaii and a 1976 graduate of Yale Law School, Samuelson practiced law as a litigation associate with the New York law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher before turning to academic pursuits. From 1981 through June 1996 she was a member of the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, from which she visited at Columbia, Cornell, and Emory Law Schools. Since joining the Berkeley faculty, she has been a distinguished visiting professor at University of Toronto Law School as well as a visiting professor at the University of Melbourne and Harvard Law Schools. She was named an honorary professor at the University of Amsterdam in 2002.

She teaches courses on intellectual property, Internet law, and information law and policy. Professor Samuelson has been a contributing editor of Communications of the ACM, a journal devoted to coverage of existing and emerging technologies. From 1997 through 2002, Samuelson was a fellow of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Anita Borg Institute honored Samuelson with its Women of Vision Award for Social Impact in 2005, and the public interest organization Public Knowledge awarded her its IP3 Award for her contributions to Internet law and policy in October 2010.

This event is hosted by the Sara Fine Institute at the School of Information Sciences and co-sponsored by the Innovation Practice Institute at School of Law at the University of Pittsburgh.

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