Shrunken Heads and Electronic Resources

There is a show on the Discovery Channel called Oddities about a store in New York City that sells bizarre things. A recent episode featured a client trying to sell the store a shrunken head. Ultimately, there are laws about buying and selling human remains and body parts. However, a brief conversation with a lawyer made it clear that Oddities could indeed purchase the head and sell it.

It should not be easier to determine whether a shrunken head can be legally sold than it is for libraries to figure out restrictions on lending eBooks, music downloads, and all manner of digital content. The terms of use for different publishers and services range wildly and are so extensive that a lawyer really would be useful. However librarians are often being charged with figuring out what is possible.

From Kindles to Nooks to iPods to iPads, it seems clear that libraries can freely purchase and lend the devices, but the content – even the apps – are handled like licensed software for one user. For personal use.

If someone can help standardize the industry or even simplify the terms on behalf of libraries, I would be grateful.



1 thought on “Shrunken Heads and Electronic Resources”

  1. This post made me laugh out loud. On the other hand, the shrunken head picture is not exactly pleasant at breakfast. So, erm, thanks for that.

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