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Tech Corner: A Fair Use Revolution

by Jeffrey Gallant on July 26, 2010 in Odum Library, Tech Corner

Welcome to the Odum Library’s Tech Corner! This is a blog section written by Jeff Gallant- a Reference Librarian, tech enthusiast, and self-professed geek.

At Odum Reference, we’re all about information literacy – being empowered by knowing where information is, how to find it, how to evaluate it, and how to present it.  We’re not just about books, but also video, music, and valuable digital information that’s often found online.  That’s why I’m really happy to let you know about the latest ruling in copyright law that affects how we can use digital information and technology.

Extremely important changes have just been made to the Fair Use part of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) by the Librarian of Congress.  These changes favor you and I, the users, in a big way.  Here’s how they affect us:

  1. Lawfully purchased or acquired video media can now be copied and used for criticism and commentary purposes. This means that a film enthusiast can use short clips of a movie within his or her review and know that it’s Fair Use to post these to sites like Youtube.  However, the use needs to be for educational, documentary, or non-commercial purposes, and that may have to be proven in court during a Fair Use trial.
  2. Computer programs that restrict interoperability (the ability for a device to work together with applications and networks) can be circumvented, so long as the circumventing is solely to promote interoperability. This means that “jailbreaking” a cell phone’s software, in order to make it work with different companies’ networks and applications that weren’t approved (for example, banned apps in Apple’s App Store), is considered Fair Use.  However, jailbreaking it to use pirated programs is still illegal, and jailbreaking often leads to voiding a warranty or repair plan.
  3. Video games that were lawfully obtained and have copyright protection software that restricts access to testing, investigating, and correcting security problems can have that software circumvented under Fair Use. This is only Fair Use if it’s for promoting security for the user or a computer network.  Don’t crack open that shiny new PC game just to create some hacks or send it to a pirating website!
  4. E-book software that restricts access to screen readers and read-aloud software can be circumvented in order to promote accessibility. This is a victory for accessibility, particularly for deaf users that need read-aloud software or screen readers in order to read any book.  This insures that either e-book companies will allow access to this software, or it’s Fair Use to “jailbreak” any accessibility prevention that a company fails to remove.  However, this only applies if a company does not provide any audio alternative in e-book format.  If a company charged double the price for an audio-only e-book, it’s illegal to jailbreak the cheaper e-book.

This new ruling is all about opening up digital information and technology devices.  Be sure to check on the latest Fair Use rulings if you are wondering what is Fair Use and what isn’t.


“Statement of the Librarian of Congress Relating to Section 1201 Rulemaking” U.S. Copyright Office, accessed Monday, July 26: http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2010/Librarian-of-Congress-1201-Statement.html

“Copyright Office: Jailbreaking an iPhone is Fair Use” PC Magazine, accessed Monday, July 26: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2366993,00.asp

Too Darn Hot

by Maureen Puffer-Rothenberg on July 26, 2010 in Odum Library

Some parts of the library are overheated right now. It’ll be fixed as soon as possible. People who know what to do about such things are doing what they do.

Too Darn Hot” from Kiss Me Kate, UK cast in the West End, 2002


MonkeySee Blogs About Libraries

by Maureen Puffer-Rothenberg on July 21, 2010 in Odum Library

Folks, let me refer you over to Linda Holmes’ awesome Monkey See blog at NPR.

This week Holmes points out that librarieswill hand you things for free,” and, librarians know stuff.”



Aw, it’s just what we do . . .


Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive

by Maureen Puffer-Rothenberg on July 21, 2010 in Odum Library

You can listen to over 28 hours of recordings made at classes William Faulkner visited when he was Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia in 1957 and 1958.

Faulkner talks about writing, answers students’ questions, and reads from his works including The Sound and the Fury.

The site requires QuickTime. Test your QuickTime on the home page.


Harvey Pekar, 1939-2010

by Maureen Puffer-Rothenberg on July 12, 2010 in Odum Library

Cleveland-based comic book writer Harvey Pekar, author of American Splendor, died early this morning.

Here you can read Walrus Comix’ interview with Pekar.

Pekar made several appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

You can read more of his stories at The Pekar Project.

We also have Pekar’s American Splendor: Another Dollar, and Our Cancer Year (Pekar’s memoir of chemotherapy, co-written with his wife Joyce Brabner).

Internet Café: Upgraded & Active Directory

by Sherrida Crawford on July 11, 2010 in Odum Library

Some of you may have noticed some new changes to the Internet Café on the 1st floor already, but for those of you who have yet to check it out, here is an update to its recent changes.

The Internet Café computers have been updated, and also have larger screens *just like the ones in GALILEO*. While this is awesome news by itself, these computers will behave slightly different than any other lab in the Library for the moment. These machines will no longer log in using the standard log-in & GALILEO password; instead, they will be logging in using Active Directory. This means only VSU Students, Faculty, and Staff will be able to log in using their own Active Directory account name and password.

If you are a student and do not have an Active Directory account already, please visit the IT Helpdesk Student Active Directory Application Guide. For Faculty and Staff applying from an office computer, please visit the IT Helpdesk Faculty & Staff Active Directory Application Guide. If you require assistance, please visit the IT Helpdesk located on the 2nd floor, next to the Circulation desk.

REMEMBER TO LOG OUT of your computer before you leave. This is an important step, just like remembering to select the “Done” key after completing a print job at any Ricoh printer. Do not disperse your account name and password to anyone. If you are not a VSU Student, Faculty, or Staff member there are 2 computers located behind the Reference Desk designated for your use.

We appreciate any feedback, and hope you enjoy the new systems.

VSU Odum Library Automation

Internet Café Closing Friday, Re-Opening Soon

by Maureen Puffer-Rothenberg on July 8, 2010 in Odum Library

The 1st floor Internet Café will close (temporarily) at approximately 8 A.M. on Friday, July 9th to replace the current workstations with 25 new computers.

Your Student Technology Fees at work!

The Office on DVD

by Maureen Puffer-Rothenberg on July 8, 2010 in Odum Library

You can check out the first four seasons of the television series The Office on DVD, from the FAMC (ask at the Circulation desk).

The Office has just earned Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Steve Carell), and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series).


Where have you been? And don’t say the bathroom cause I kicked in all the stalls.” –Dwight Schrute