In an Association for Research Libraries News item, Krista Cox (ARL) announced the release of the ARL’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation. From the announcement:
This Code was made by and for the software preservation community, with the help of legal and technical experts. The publication provides librarians, archivists, curators, and others who work to preserve software with a tool to guide their reasoning about when and how to employ fair use—the legal doctrine that allows many value-added uses of copyrighted materials—in the most common situations they currently face.
Libraries, archives, and museums hold thousands of software titles that are no longer in commercial distribution, but institutions lack explicit authorization from the copyright holders to preserve these titles or make them available. Memory institutions also hold a wealth of electronic files (texts, images, data, and more) that are inaccessible without this legacy software.
The Code includes sections with guidance on accessioning, stabilizing, evaluating and describing digital objects; documenting software in operation and making that documentation available; providing access to software for use in research; providing broader networked access to software maintained and shared across multiple collections or institutions; and persevering files expressed in source code and other human-readable formats. ARL will introduce the Code with “supporting webinars, workshops, online discussions, and educational materials later this year and in 2019.”