Professional ethics, copyright legislation and the case for collective copyright disobedience in libraries

Pryor-Darnell, Teghan Alexis and Andersen, Nikki ORCID: and Rowling, Samara ORCID: (2019) Professional ethics, copyright legislation and the case for collective copyright disobedience in libraries. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 68 (2). pp. 146-163. ISSN 2475-0158

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Australian library and information science (LIS) professionals face conflicting legal and ethical obligations in relation to copyright. As law-abiding citizens, they have a legal duty to adhere to the Australian Copyright Act 1968. However, as LIS professionals, they are expected to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and access of information as outlined by the code of conducts of professional associations such as the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the American Library Association (ALA). This article explores the paradoxical relationship between copyright compliance and LIS’s professional ethics. A comparison between the Australian Copyright Act 1968 and core LIS values reveals that legislative guidelines contradict the aims and principles of the LIS profession. Consequently, a case can be made for collective copyright disobedience within the LIS profession. Collective acts of copyright disobedience such as online piracy and the Freedom of Access to Information and Resources (FAIR)’s Cooking for Copyright campaign have influenced major copyright reforms and the advent of new scholarly communication models. Based on these results, it can be argued that collective copyright disobedience by LIS professionals is not only justified, but necessary to fulfilling professional and ethical responsibilities.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until 1 Oct 2020 (18 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Academic Division - Library
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Academic Division - Library
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2019 04:37
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2022 04:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: library, freedom, professional ethics, copyright, collective disobedience
Fields of Research (2008): 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180115 Intellectual Property Law
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0807 Library and Information Studies > 080706 Librarianship
Fields of Research (2020): 48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4806 Private law and civil obligations > 480603 Intellectual property law
46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4610 Library and information studies > 461006 Library studies
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