May 27, 2022

New Article: "The Erosion of Fair Use Protections for Digital Scholarship"

The following piece was written by Stanley Wilder, University Librarian at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and appears in the April, 2011  issue (12.4) of The Charleston Advisor. The full text is open access.

Direct to Article (HTML and PDF Versions are Available)

Here’s a Very Small Portion of What Stanley Wilder Writes:

License encroachment on fair use principles began in the early 2000s, when some publishers began restricting the ability of libraries to use digital versions of journal articles to fill Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests. These restrictions were almost certainly the result of publisher concern over losing control of their content in a new and uncertain Internet environment. Whatever the motivation, these initial restrictions quickly spread, such that today, many publishers either prohibit filling ILL requests with digital copies, or prohibit ILL altogether.

License language has since proliferated in ways that go far beyond ILL. One recent license sets out to enumerate appropriate uses of its content, and then proscribes all other uses: “The Licensee, the Institutions and the Authorized Users have no rights in or to the Licensed Materials other than as set forth herein.” Given the endless diversity of uses that faculty and students make of scholarship, it would make more sense to enumerate inappropriate uses.

Read the Complete Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.