Karen Coyle wrote an excellent post about OCLC’s delayed implementation of the records licensing policy. An exerpt:
Those of us who promote open access must use this time wisely.
- First, we need to get some solid legal advice. It’s clear that OCLC can propose any kind of conditions in a contract and hope to get signers; it’s less clear that OCLC can impose a contract on members 1) without their explicit agreement 2) that covers data created before the contract becomes valid 3) that binds third parties to the contract.
- Next, anyone who has bibliographic data should release it “into the wild” as quickly as possible. Once the data is circulating, it will not be possible to withdraw it. One solution is to create database dumps and to upload these to the Internet Archive. They will be there for downloading by others, and some of the data may end up in the Open Library. Assuming that bibliographic records cannot be covered by copyright, all of this data ends up in the public domain to fuel innovation and creativity.
If enough people take advantage of this extra time to better understand the copyright issues as well as to provide the data stored in their systems to open repositories, the message that will be sent not only to OCLC but everyone involved with libraries will be this:
We are more interested in services and sharing than in ownership. Our values and our culture are built from this premise. Organizations and companies that wish to work with us need to understand this, and they need to provide services and sharing as their top priority. Since this is what we value, whis is what we will reward.