The Shifted Librarian Defined

By Deane Barker on October 1, 2003

What Is a Shifted Librarian?: I always wondered where she came up with that name.

“…So back to the definition of information shifting. It comes from a New York Times article that discussed the history of consumer fair use and the entertainment industry’s efforts to regulate use of VCRs and MP3 players. It referred to the 1984 Supreme Court decision in favor of VCRs in which the judges declared that these devices were okay because consumers were using them to ‘time shift.’ In other words, to record shows to watch them at their convenience.

Next up was a case in 1999 over the Diamond Rio MP3 player. Industry folk argued that consumers were illegally transporting digital files on it, but the judges decided that consumers were simply ‘space shifting,’ which meant they were just taking music they already owned and listening to it somewhere else. That’s a very brief summary of the court cases, but what the article pointed out was that information in general was being shifted now that it was digital.”