May 21, 2022

Journal Article: “Academic Special Collections and the Myths of Copyright”

The following article was recently published by the Journal of  The Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship.


Academic Special Collections and the Myths of Copyright


Teresa Auch Schultz
University of Nevada, Reno

Dana Miller
Oregon Historical Society


The Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship
Vol. 3 No. 3 (2019)
DOI: 10.17161/jcel.v3i3.7887


This study compares the copyright and use policy statements posted on the websites of the special collections of Association of Research Libraries member libraries. In spring 2018, 99 academic special collections websites were viewed, and data was collected based on the following: 1) presence and content of a general copyright statement; 2) mention of copyright owners besides the special collections; 3) presence and accuracy of statements regarding fair use and public domain; 4) policies for patron-made copies; 5) whether the special collections required its permission and/or the copyright owner’s permission to publish; 6) whether any use or license fees were charged and how clearly fees were presented. Authors analyzed whether these policies reflect copyright law or went beyond it, unnecessarily restricting the use of materials or imposing fees where rights are in question. A majority of the sites included general copyright statements, mentioned other copyright owners, and mentioned fair use, but only a minority mentioned the public domain. Just more than half restricted how patrons could use patron-made copies. About half required the special collections’ permission to publish a copy, and a fifth said any third-party owner’s permission was also required for publication.

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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.