I don’t doubt that many of you would be riffing Dorothy, too, if you had been with me in Chapel Hill on March 16 and 17 for the annual University Intellectual Property Officers (UIPO) symposium. For two days, approximately 30 lawyer-librarians, lawyers, and librarians gathered in beautiful Wilson Library on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus to discuss all things copyright and higher ed. While I was in copyright nerd heaven (in Blue Heaven, no less!), had you gone, you may have been a bit lost, as we were a lawyer-heavy group: if you think librarian lingo can be hard to follow, I promise that legal lingo and logic–from lawyer-librarians, no less–is harder. Nevertheless, we are a jovial bunch, and had two days of stimulating, engaging conversation around fair use for orphan works, working with university counsel, accessibility issues, digitization and digital collections, film and media archives, open access, open education, and legal updates from the U.S. and international fronts.
As one of my colleagues noted at our meeting, in many respects, the UIPO group is essentially Copyright Fight Club (the first rule of Fight Club…[you know]). Our discussions, both at the symposium and online, are confidential. We are not an official designation of any organization or association (although we grew out of ARL), we do not have officers or committees (yet), and our symposiums are not overly formal. This was my first year attending, but it will not be my last. In fact, this will likely be my future primary meeting of the year. I cannot overstate how valuable it is to attend a small, copyright-focused meeting with friends and colleagues who do exactly what I do, who face many of the same inquiries and challenges that I face, and who are more than willing to disagree, debate, and dissect current issues. I realize that many of you have experienced this type of synergistic immersion before, but I had not–at least, not to the same degree. And I loved it!
I have visited some of you to discuss ideas and insights gleaned from this meeting. If anyone has specific questions about the topics I noted, I’ll be happy to chat with you.