Copyright warning found by library photocopiers deemed misleading

Originally published at: Copyright warning found by library photocopiers deemed misleading | Boing Boing


Found via Hacker News, where the top comment is as is often the case an engineer type authoritatively declaring the subject-matter expert wrong on the basis of a logical interpretation of statute.


Everyone knows that logic doesn’t apply to statues.


Different sections of the copyright law. Fair use is described in section 107. Section 108 describes the circumstances under which libraries are indemnified for making copies. The thing is section 107 much more vague than people tend to think it is. Instead of describing exactly what is or is not fair use, it lays out factors to be considered by judges: How much of the work is being copied? What is it being used for? Will this affect the market for the work? etc. This means that fair use is mostly a matter of case law *, and whatever a judge that you might end up in front of (probably not a specialist in copyright law) might decide. With the costs of going to court being so high (not to mention the tripple damages assessed for copyright infringement) organizations are incentivized to avoid infringement and follow the copyright holders very narrow view of fair use.

Section 108, on the other hand, positively indemnifies the library or archives from being sued if that notice is posted on the copiers. or wherever requests for copies are made. So that notice is not about whether your copies are or are not fair use, but it makes sure that is between you and the copyright holder and that the library won’t be sued.

  • And some of the precedents have reached interesting conclusions. eg, Texaco vs AGU decided that when looking at the percentage of the work being copied, the “work” in question is a journal article, rather than an issue of the journal or how many issues that the library has paid for. So even if the library has 50 years of the journal in its collection, copying an article is copying 100% of a work for making a fair use determination.

Re: That sign above the post - that could by my GF’s work. I am convinced 1/3rd of the city’s admin time is spent dealing with their copier.


One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

The sign is pretty clear that one of the conditions is private study, scholarship, or research (although one might argue that those are three of the conditions, not one). This doesn’t imply that those are the only conditions, but you can read into it that way if you want.

To be fair, it seems like this would only matter if anyone ever actually read the notice.


“Notice: This CD Album contains technology intented to prevent multi-copying this disc more than once; by doing so may conflict with some disc and computer virtual drives.”


If you’re going to try and trick us with a phony warning, at least get your spelling correct.

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I was quite distracted by the sign used to illustrate the article. In all the versions of it I’ve seen before (being in the UK) this part:

“Likewise attempting to use another machine may cause it to also malfunction”

says this:

"“Likewise attempting to use another machine may cause it to also malfunction, as they belong to the same union.”

I wonder if we added the photocopier union in the UK version, or if the US version takes it out because unions seem to be topic non grata over there.

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Well, it could work. If you change the spelling to “rootkit”

Fun fact: Those Sony disks with the Windows rootkit also likely contained Mac rootkits. The one I looked at had some kernel extensions. I didn’t know enough 68K assembly to see what those actually did.


I thought about that when I first read it. I suspect that there’s no rootkit or anything actually on the cd besides music. I also thought: for a tiny label trying to break a new band, do you really want to scare people away from sharing it with everyone? Dumb move.

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“Multi-copying more than once” – so I can make as many copies as I want, as long as I only do it once?

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It’s a fist, “balls” is redundant.

Love ya Rob!

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