[Michlib-l] Possible ADA problem in the making

lois-sez lois-sez at lois-sez.com
Tue Jan 22 18:32:32 EST 2019

As both a performer and librarian I was approached by a librarian for ideas 
on a possible ADA problem that could easily become a problem for all 
libraries.  I'm also the mother of a hearing impaired daughter and 
appreciate the posting on program publicity about providing assistance with 
advance notice.  This, however, might take that stated assistance and 
create problems with copyright, privacy and more.
 The library has a homebound resident wanting initially video access to 
library board meetings.  They have been providing that by having a staff 
member tape them.  Now there is a similar request to permit attending 
programs this way.  The library would be unable to do this with their movie 
program and can see this being a problem beyond that for other programs.  I 
agreed.  Musicians, for example, would be ruled out for most 20th century 
music.  The venue, not the performer, is liable for payment of royalties.  
As a storyteller, only material in the Public Domain would be able to be 
used.  Sometimes I have received permission as long as electronic 
reproduction is not made.  What would this do for Fair Use when a librarian 
does a storytime?  It definitely goes beyond what is permitted under Fair 
Use.  When the library director brought up privacy concerns for the 
audience, I suggested the camera angle avoid the audience.  Later, thinking 
about my own programs, I realized this also will affect audience 
participation in a program, requiring permission forms.
 As an example of the latter, and the copyright issues, I told the director 
about a program I'm developing about prohibition (High Times in the Dry 
Times) which stretches from Michigan's entry into prohibition two years 
before the entire nation until its ending in 1933.  This would possibly 
require royalties for some music such as "Happy Days Are Here Again."  
(Fortunately the Charleston and the song "Nobody Knows You When You're Down 
and Out" just entered Public Domain.)  The point is both lectures and 
concerts may require library payment for both spoken text and music still 
under copyright.  (That could include some preschool songs if a child or, 
in this case, grandparent want to "attend" with a grandchild.)  Looking at 
those privacy concerns, I plan to have individuals in the audience show 
large pictures about what I'm discussing.  That idea of camera angles could 
require anyone not wishing to be seen sit behind the camera.  Try that with 
 I gave her the number of a lawyer particularly attuned to the 
copyright/royalty issue, but I'd love to have others here add their 
thoughts and suggestions before this becomes a new standard for libraries.

 	 		 			 			Lois Sprengnether Keel
 			and blog at http://www.StorytellingResearchLois.com
			Storyteller in MI Arts & Humanities Directory
			and in Historical Society of Michigan Directory
			State Liaison for National Storytelling Network
			Webmaster for http://michiganstorytelling.org/

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