Last week (12/2/16) I had the opportunity to attend the Boston University Law School/ AALL hosted -National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials. This topic has seen an uptick in interest in recent years, mostly among law librarians and on legal blogs, as state copyright issues have arisen and have greatly affects both patron access to material and publisher pricing. As a self –proclaimed “IP Junkie,” was looking forward to this all-day event to further explore these musings with an audience of folks whom I knew would be just as passionate about this copyright issue as I am, and I can tell you AALL an BU did not disappoint.
The daylong event covered a host of subtopics within the state copyright arena. The agenda boasted everything, from a copyright issue overview; to a panel addressing who owns the copyright in the work of the United States Government; to how we make the content easily available to people; to journalists limited access to legal materials changing what stories find their way to print; and finally several organizations discussing aspirational examples for expansive, accurate and open access to state legal materials. I think the experience of the full day was best stated by one attendee, who after the event, shared on social media that he was now suffering from, “Gov’t info Overload.”
It is important to note his use of the word “overload” instead of overwhelmed. For me, the positive overload of content was a direct result of the wide breadth of speakers, who spoke passionately throughout the day about how they have been touched and limited by the copyright status of and access to United States law. Another wonderful take away I gleaned from the day’s event was each speaker seemed to be striving for a positive way to improve access and discussing exploring ways that this original public domain content will easily be available to all in the future.
You can always gauge if the content from your event is hitting a nerve with the speakers, audience and experts outside the forum when it gets the folks on twitter typing away. The event hashtag #NCCSLM throughout the day was aflutter with zippy one liners, links to resources, shout outs and retweets.
A few of my favorite tweets from the day are:
"Access to legal information is a straight up civil rights issue for our times." It's this simple and this big. @seamuskraft #NCCSLM— Mary Jenkins (@jenkinsm) December 2, 2016
A horde of angry law librarians at #NCCSLM who don’t give a damn about red states and blue states. They want green states. Free the law. https://t.co/oGEUJlBo1N— Carl Malamud (@carlmalamud) December 2, 2016
Many states are just "renting their law back" from companies like Lexis Nexis, says Ed Walters #NCCSLM— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) December 2, 2016
.@govinfogal told Gov Brown not all Cali law is in PD. His reaction: what? that's crazy, of course they are! Conversations needed. #nccslm— Meg (@mak506) December 2, 2016
Notice at bottom of DC Code page: "Please do not scrape. Instead, bulk download the HTML or XML"!! https://t.co/P11rdVblLi #nccslm— Meg (@mak506) December 2, 2016
Completion of digitalized case law slated for Jan '17. Goal is open state case law with no paywall. https://t.co/ey5pBiQSxT #NCCSLM— Mary Jenkins (@jenkinsm) December 2, 2016
@sarahjeong "Where there is low hanging fruit journalists are going to pick it. Law should be lower hanging fruit than it is." #NCCSLM— Margie Maes (@mkmaes) December 2, 2016
I encourage you to take a look at all the tweets from the day by searching #NCCSLM and listen to the day’s recording that will be made available from AALL in the near future.