This grant funds an initiative by the Association of Research Libraries to document and clarify copyright and intellectual property law issues related to the archiving of software. Led by intellectual property lawyer, Peter Jaszi, the initiative has three parts. First, Jaszi and a team of collaborators will undertake a broad literature review and conduct some 40 long-form interviews with legal experts, librarians, museum curators, software developers and other stakeholders to produce “a report on problems that arise in software preservation regarding issues of copyright and fair use.” The report will then become the basis for a set of small workshops to generate, after legal review, a code of reasonable best practices used by archivists to resolve those problems. Finally, a substantial outreach push will build community consensus in support of those best practices. The work will be stewarded by the Association of Research Libraries, whose membership has a strong interest in this area, but will also draw heavily on the museum community, as well as major professional organizations in computer science, and other computationally intensive disciplines.
The effort promises the legal state-of-play surrounding several thorny intellectual property issues related to software archiving, promote better archival practices across the country and further the cause of reproducibility in research, which depends on the continued availability of software used to generate scientific results.