This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Why libraries don't hold copyright

I like libraries. But librarians have never liked me. And I understand their point of view.  From the time I was a little kid, I would go into their buildings, take out the books, read them, and just generally mess up their neat system. I followed the rules, returned the books to the proper place, was always sure to whisper, but I was aware that their job would have been a whole lot easier if I hadn't ever gone there. And I don't ever recall saying *thank you* - I just took my books and wandered happily away.

So I understand librarians. They keep order and make things easy for people like me. They alphabetize and mend the books. It's their job to look after things. And you really can't blame them if they get a little, uh, possessive. And in the digital world, librarians are now thinking that they have copyright on the materials that they hold. They don't. Never did.

Libraries do not have copyright on the books they store, nor on the images, or anything else. Unless, of course the library itself created that book, or photograph. The copyright belongs to the author, or the photographer. And when a work goes into public domain, of course, the copyright belongs to all of us.

I don't expect librarians to be experts on copyright law. That is best left to experts like the wonderful copyright attorney (whose name I will not publish here, because I haven't asked his permission), who came to the Graphic Design classes that I taught at AIPX and GCC every semester for years.

I hope this helps.