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June 2008, Week 1


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Susan Klawansky <[log in to unmask]>
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Susan Klawansky <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 2 Jun 2008 12:18:11 -0400
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Last week, I posted a question asking how the copyright laws/guidelines
effect journal club article distribution.  We are a teaching hospital, and
on any given day, I have no doubt at least one journal club is occurring
somewhere in the institution.  But I've always been unclear about how
copyright impacts these learning situations.

Here are the responses I received.  Perhaps the answer is not as
straightforward as I had hoped.  Then again, when is copyright ever

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond.


As the librarian as well as CME director at our hospital, I consider this
issue frequently. I have emailed a few times for permission for our ICU Jl
Club and rec'd it from a couple of publishers. Others I never heard from one
way or the other. I have not requested permission in a long time. I will be
interested to see what others say.


It's a little less clear when you are making multiple copies of an article
or articles.  I sometimes do it simply because I think the other points of
the copyright law are met but I don't feel as comfortable and confident
about that as I do the Electronic Reserve Shelf on our intranet.  I'm not
sure taking a non-profit hospital to court over this would really be what
the publisher or vendor would want to do since the idea that educating
health care providers on how to do it right when treating ill people seems
more in the common good than giving gigantic profits to Elsevier or whoever.

Frankly I think this is a grey area.  If you keep it within the institution
and for education and especially for patient care related things, I'd feel
pretty safe.  We don't have any ties with educational institutions so I'm
not sure whether making "multiple copies for classroom use" would
technically apply to us under the copyright law.
It might.  Or, not. There are no court cases on it. I checked.


I think you'll find that anyone making multiple copies does have to get
permission to do so, unless each person copies the article his or herself. 
Even in a classroom situation, which a journal club is not, faculty members
have to get permission unless they can claim spontaneity.  It's best to get
permission.  I really like a number of web sites that are put up by
Universities or their libraries.  Here are a couple of links.  This one is connected to a wonderful web site,
but it will be going away because the author, Kenneth Crews, has moved on to
Columbia University:  (his new site)


Can you hear my groan?  We struggle with this greatly.  We have not gotten
permission and are clinging to the educational fair use clause.
Please post any definitive answers you receive.


We get permission if we do not have the article available electronically. 
If we do own the title, each participant goes and gets the article for
himself/herself.  No multiple copies are made to distribute.


Susan Klawansky
Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center
Seattle, WA
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