Rep Your Major

The University of North Carolina is one of the few schools in the country that has a joint law degree and library degree program. At last count, there were 11 other programs in the US.

I am currently enrolled in the joint JD/MSLS program. The joint program is tiny with only 3 students currently enrolled over the course of the four year program. When I graduate with my classmate next year, he and I will be the third and fourth person to graduate from the joint program at UNC since its founding in 2005.  I will be third, since my last name starts before his does alphabetically.

I was admitted into the two programs concurrently and I completed my first year of law school before taking any classes in the School of Library and Information Science (SILS). That year is mandated by the American Bar Association and covers the following topics: Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Legal Research, Property, and Torts. Administratively, I had to defer my admissions to SILS for a year while finishing my first year in the School of Law. Then, in fall semester of my second year, I was all SILS all the time. In the last two and a half years of graduate school it has been a mix of classes between the two programs. Unlike our classmates in either of the programs, our program is a lot more rigid with specific classes. On top of the normal requirements from both schools, we are required to take Copyright Law, Intellectual Property Law, Advanced Legal Research, and Cyberspace Law Seminar in the law school. In the library school, our additional required classes are Information Ethics, Government Documents, and Law Libraries and Legal Information. The entire list of classes is available here.  Anne Klinefelter, the Director of the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library, is the advisor for the dual degree programs.

By doing the two programs together I had a year less of graduate education. Traditionally, the law degree is three years and the library degree is two years, but doing the joint program at UNC, the two degrees are completed in a total of 4 years. When I graduate, I will graduate with a JD from the School of Law and an MSLS from the School of Information and Library Science.

Anne Gilliland in the Scholarly Communications Office also has her law degree and Master of Science in Library Science. So, for us, when we’re asked to #RepOurMajor, we have to ask, which one?

I Bleed Blue

Today’s Targram Challenge is “I Bleed Blue.” When Tarheels say Bleed blue, of course, we’re talking about Carolina Blue and not the darker, wrong color blue, down the road.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” Because of that, the University has registered many symbols, words, and phrases with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Many of them we expect to see: Rameses, the Old Well, Zero Dark Thursday from last year, and UNC with these examples.

Here at UNC, the Department of Finance and Administration has a section for Trademarks and Licensing, which includes a PDF of have some of the registered trademarks. You can get into trouble for trademark infringement in similar ways that you can with copyright infringement.

If you have questions about Trademarks or anything else, please feel free to come talk to us in the Scholarly Communications Office!

Heel Nation

Today’s TarGram challenge is “Heel Nation.” For us in the Scholarly Communication Office that means “Heels in Scholarship.” To see what your classmates are doing, check out the Carolina Digital Repository. While UNC does not currently have an Open Access Policy that requires deposit of articles, some professors have been placing documents their anyway. Especially for graduate students, placing documents in the Carolina Digital Repository is a great idea, because you can include presented posters and link to the CDR on your CV. If you’re interested in seeing what your fellow Tarheels are up to, check on the CDR. If you have questions about any potential copyright issues, when posting to the CDR come talk to us in the Scholarly Communications Office!

Treat you Self!

Today for the TarGram Challenge is “Treat you self.” For many of us, treating ourselves involves pop music, light fiction, or so bad they’re good movies. There are a lot of great places to treat you self within the University Libraries! You can use Spotify to stream or Itunes to download music. You can check out Graphic novels from the SILS library. Did you know you can even check out movies from the Media Resources Center on campus? Anything we don’t have, you can always request through Interlibrary Loan! But the one thing you can’t do is download it illegally.

UNC has a Data Network and Acceptable Use Policy. If you are caught downloading on campus, your use could be suspended, you can be academically disciplined, or even expelled because of illegal downloading on UNC’s campus. Downloading illegally is a violation of the Copyright Code, and UNC is required to have a policy to prevent illegal file sharing and enforce it.

There are many alternatives to illegal downloading.  Some bands will release their entire album for free, like Radiohead did in 2007 with their album In Rainbows. Some items are available in the public domain and thus available for free, like the transcriptions that Project Gutenberg has made available. If you have a question about file sharing or anything else, come and talk to us in the Scholarly Communications Office! We would rather help you upfront then see you expelled because you downloaded rather the purchased “All About That Bass.”

Lunch in Lenoir

If you’re still doing the TarGram challenge, then today you’re thinking about lunch for #LunchInLenoir. While Anne and I love lunch in Lenoir (primarily Mainstreet) as much as the next Tarheel, we also consider how copyright law might be implicated when eating lunch.

Recipes are a weird beast in copyright law. First, we have to break the recipe into its components. The United States Patent and Copyright best explains how to dissect the recipe. There are three parts: a list of ingredients, the process to make the recipe, and then final product. The US Copyright Office has officially stated that the ingredients list is not copyrightable. Many think that the list is not copyrightable because a list of ingredients is a list of facts (things you need to make the recipe), and facts are not copyrightable. However, the instructions on how to combine the recipe may qualify for copyright protection, if there is enough creative expression in the recipe.

The threshold is for originality in a recipe fairly high. Generally, courts have viewed recipes as a process and do not offer copyright protection to the description, unless another author has copied the recipe word for word. The threshold for whether a recipe is copyrightable is originality. So “Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees” is probably not copyrightable because there are only a few ways to express it, and it is not original enough. However, “I love bananas and always add an extra banana to the batter for banana bread” may be copyrightable. Finally, if you take a picture of your finished banana bread, that will qualify for copyright protection.

The USPTO mentions that it is possible for a recipe to qualify for patent protection, although that threshold is also really high. Finally, you can always protect the recipe through a trade secret by keeping the recipe a secret – think Grandma’s secret sauce or Coca Cola. So, while you may not be able to protect your recipe through copyright law, that doesn’t mean you can’t protect your recipe at all by law.

If you have any questions about copyright and recipes or anything else, talk to us in the Scholarly Communications Office! If you’re asking about a recipe, make sure to bring us a taste. We don’t have any food allergies!

Leave Your Heelprint with the Carolina Digital Repository

Today’s #TarGRamChallenge topic is “Leave Your Heelprint.”  One excellent way to do that is to deposit your research and scholarship in the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR).  The CDR provides a secure place to store your work for the long term.  It accepts a wide variety of  digital file formats and applies sophisticated techniques to preserve the files.

Most material in the CDR is available to the public and can be searched with search engines like Google.  Current collections include material that ranges from the African American Performance Art Archive, UNC Scholarly Posters, and images and slides from the UNC Research Laboratories of Archeology.

Contact the CDR staff to get started and #LeaveYourHeelprint.

Lolly Gasaway: Mentors on Campus

When I think of mentors on campus for today’s #TarGramChallenge, I immediately think of Laura N. “Lolly” Gasaway, retired emeritus law professor and former director of the UNC Law Library.  She was one of the first people to work  and publish in the area of copyright and libraries, and she has been an inspiration for many of us working in the field today.  Soon after I starting doing this work of providing copyright education and information to non-lawyers, I signed up for a webinar with Lolly Gasaway on copyright basics in education.  This was long before I came to work at UNC.  I didn’t sign up because I needed a refresher on the subject, but because I wanted to see how someone with years of experience taught copyright to people who were starting with little knowledge of the law.  I was pleased that our basic organization of the material was similar.  During the question and answer period, I also picked up some ideas, like how to discuss with for-profit educational institutions and their copyright questions.

You can get a sense of Lolly Gasaway’s style and work from her recent book, Copyright questions and answers for information professionals, available in print and electronic formats from UNC Libraries.





Turn It Blue

Today’s #TarGramChallenge is to #TurnItBlue. So we’re looking at the bound set of briefs and records from the North Carolina Court of Appeals housed at the law library, which have all been bound in blue binding.

This summer, we in the Scholarly Communications Office worked with Anne Klinefelter, Director of the UNC Law Library, and David Ardia, Co-Director for the Center for Media Law and Policy on examining private and sensitive information in North Carolina Supreme Court briefs that the law library has digitized. Everything that you could imagine that you would want protected is available in those legal archives. We identified over 100 items of potentially identifying pieces of information in records and briefs alone.

Earlier this year, we also investigated the library’s liability for invading privacy under North Carolina law, when digitizing historic documents. While you may think of the Scholarly Communications Office as only focused on copyright, we can do so much more. So if you’re working on an item or are concerned about other legal issues with your scholarly publishing, like defamation or invasion of privacy, come in and talk to us! We’re always here to help.


Library Shelfie

#LibraryShelfie? For the #TarGram Challenge? A library shelfie is the PERFECT blog post for the Scholarly Communications Office.

Sometimes when you are trying to untangle a problem, you may not even know where to start. This is true of all research projects, but perhaps this is most true when you’re trying to unravel copyright law, whether you’re putting together your syllabus or textbook or signing your publication contract. By the time you’re doing that, we understand that the last thing you want to do is to research an area with which you may be unfamiliar. Well, come talk to us in Scholarly Communication. We can answer your questions or give you some introductory reading.

Some of the introductory materials that we would use, like the Statement of Best Practices in Fair use of Dance-Related Materials, Complete Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators, and NOLO books on copyright law. There are other books that we can point you to, depending on what you need.  We can also help you find useful websites and ebooks, so you can learn about copyright in your home, dorm, or office. Come to the Scholarly Communications Office and talk to us!  We want to make sure that you have the resources that you need for your issue with copyright.

CU at the Union

Today’s TarGram Challenge location is CU at the Union. When you’ve been doing this challenge, we imagine that a lot of you have been taking selfies and putting the picture up online. Did you realize that you had a copyright interest in that photograph? This means that you have the exclusive right to use that photo and direct its use at your direction. You hold the copyright in that photo as soon as you snap the picture. So, if the picture is really awesome and you want other people to use the photograph, perhaps you should give it a Creative Commons license.

Right now, a Creative Commons license is one of the best ways to signal to others you’re okay with them using your photograph. If you have any questions about the Creative Commons License, or anything else, come talk to us in the Scholarly Communications Office.