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OCLC’s latest policy

So, OCLC has released its new ‘WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities for the OCLC Cooperative‘ and the list servs/blogosphere has gone quite mad about it. I discussed this a bit before in another blog entry, so look there for history or directly to the Code4lib wiki.  You can learn what people are saying RIGHT NOW on NG4LIB and AutoCat (AutoCat will require a login  4/24/10 update in the comments, Bryan!), read the LJ article, or various blog entries (Karen Coyle, Terry Reese, Talis, and even the OCLC blog).

It seems the biggest bugaboo about this is ‘does OCLC own the records or is the data free’? Words like Copyright are being invoked as well as collaboration and control. 

OCLC depends on the revenue generated by new and enhanced records – and not only the revenue of ‘selling’ access to the records but also in using the records to denote ownership of an item for resource sharing or ILL purposes. Their concern seems to be someone else taking all these records and re-packaging and re-selling to others without paying OCLC. Has this been a problem in the past? Not that I know of but times, they are a changin’ – in this webbie world of ours, new possibilities are popping up.

From the librarian point of view, THEY created the records and THEY enhanced the records and what’s wrong with sharing that information? Librarians love to share (except for chocolate, don’t even ask). Why can’t the data be free and all benefit from it?

Is OCLC an exclusive club? That is, if you are not a member you cannot get in the pool or use the towels? Given the nature of records and record sharing, how can OCLC really judge if a record began life with them but is being exploited elsewhere?  Seems like the music industry has had this issue with sampling.  When does the sample become a completely different entity and when is it the same (what do you think Vanilla Ice or Verve)?

It’s going to be an interesting ride…

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  1. Bryan
    April 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    You can read Autocat posts without subscribing (see http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.education.libraries.autocat). Posts are available here from 2007 to present. To see posts from before 2007, you’ll need to subscribe the normal way.

  2. April 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks! I didn’t know (obviously). I’ll update the post.

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