#SLAchat: Intellectual Property Laws and Information Access

Today's SLAchat question:

Should information professionals continue to be guardians of intellectual property, or should they be concerned with access to information? What challenges do you face in balancing the two? 

Sara Batts is helping start this conversation. She's Past-President of SLA-Europe, an SLA Rising Star (2011), and the Library Services Co-ordinator at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in London.  Sara Batts FINAL

Q: In a sentence, link, or picture, what’s your relationship with intellectual property?

Sara: Complicated: I respect authors’ rights, but I’m not sure we have a good balance between protection and promotion of content.

Q: What’s more important in your current role; proper handling of intellectual property, or generally enabling your users’ access to the proper information?

Sara: It’s sometimes more than a challenge than I wish it were between the two – I want to be an enabler, no-one likes a jobsworth, but equally, acting illegally is not something I am prepared to do.

Q: Any advice for someone looking to stay apprised of ongoing changes in copyright law (besides Click University!)?

Sara: Follow blogs and other places where conversations happen about this, in your own jurisdiction.

Q:  You work at an international law firm. What’s the biggest challenge this presents as a legal librarian?

Sara: It’s a balancing act to ensure that we provide a good service, and pass documents and information on to our lawyers when they need them – but still staying legal in our handling of copying and downloading. The two aren’t always compatible and it’s been known for a lawyer to be irritated by additional wait time or restrictions on use. 

Share your own perspectives below.

PS – Today (1 May) is Law Day here in the United States!

 is a discussion series we hope you participate in by talking with your colleagues about topics that interest you. Send me an e-mail if you have a topic-idea for an upcoming SLAchat. 

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