Essential Law for Information Professionals, 4th edition

Oct 2019 | 400pp

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Essential Law for Information Professionals, 4th edition

Paul Pedley

Essential Law for Information Professionals, fourth edition, provides up-to-date and easy-to-follow practical guidance on the law as it affects information management and the principles underlying practice. Using individual cases to illustrate these core principles and contextualise regulations, it cuts through the legalese to provide exactly what’s needed in an easily digestible format showing examples of how the law has worked in practice in specific legal cases. The book gives readers the tools to quickly assess legal hazards and identify solutions.

Information law is a particularly fast moving area of law. In the eight years that have passed since the best-selling third edition was published, there have been many changes to the legislation and numerous legal cases which have further developed our understanding of the law. The fourth edition fully reflects those changes, which include:

  • a new chapter on library law which covers the legal framework for libraries (concentrating on legislation and soft law relevant to libraries)
  • implementation of the GDPR through the Data Protection Act 2018
  • a major overhaul of the copyright exceptions, and the 2018 implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty 
  • the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 and the implications of the 2018 proposals for a new re-use directive
  • extension of the public lending right scheme to e-books
  • CILIP’s ethical framework.

Readership: Essential Law for Information Professionals is an essential guide for anyone working in the information professions. It is also the ideal legal textbook for students of information studies and librarianship.


List of figures and tables

List of case reports

Table of statutes, etc.

Table of cases


Glossary of terms


1        General law and background

1.2     Court system

1.3     Sources of law

1.4     Legal concepts/terminology

1.5     Conclusions



2          Library law

2.1       Localism Act 2011

2.2       Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

2.3       Sustainable Communities Act 2007 and Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Act 2010

2.4       Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964

2.5       Local byelaws

2.6       Literary and Scientific Institutions Act 1854

2.7       Library Offences Act 1898

2.8       Prison service instruction: prison library service

2.9       School library service

2.10     Equality Act 2010 (section 149: Public sector equality duty)



3          Copyright

3.1       General principles

3.2       Economic and moral rights

3.3       Legislative framework

3.4       Acts permitted in relation to copyright works          

3.5       Licensing   

3.6     Digital copyright

3.7     Copyright clearance

3.8     Open access

3.9     Ethical and professional issues and conflicts

3.10   Further information




4.         Legal deposit

4.1       Introduction

4.2       General principles

4.3       Enforcement

4.4       Copyright and use of legal deposit material

4.5       Online defamation

4.6       The future

4.7       Further information


5        Breach of confidence

5.1     General principles

5.2     Obligation of confidence and the Freedom of Information Act

5.3     Remedies

5.4     Trade secrets

5.5     Case law on breach of confidence



6        Contracts and licensing agreements

6.1     General principles

6.2     Negotiating licences

6.3     Consortia and standard licences

6.4     Technology solutions

6.5     Use of passwords for licensed products

6.6     Further information



7        Data protection

7.1         Introduction

7.2         General principles

7.3         The six data protection principles

7.4       Accountability

7.5       Processing of personal data         

7.6     Exemptions

7.7     Privacy notices

7.8     Register of fee payers

7.9     Rights of the data subject

7.10   Data breaches

7.11   Data protection impact assessments

7.12   Fines and prosecutions

7.13   Data protection issues for libraries

7.14   Data protection standards

7.15   How to protect your information

7.16   Identity theft

7.17   Further information



8.       Privacy

8.1     General principles

8.2     Obligation of confidence v. breach of privacy 

8.3     Codes of practice

8.4     Injunctions

8.5     Privacy and libraries

8.6     Case law

8.7     Further information


9        Freedom of information

9.1     General principles of freedom of information

9.2     The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) 

9.3     Publication schemes

9.4     Datasets

9.5     Copyright implications of the FOIA

9.6     Freedom of information and library and information professionals

9.7     Freedom of information rights and request procedures

9.8     Exemptions and appeals

9.9     Enforcement

9.10   The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

9.11   Freedom of information in Scotland

9.12   Freedom of information and data protection 

9.13   European Union documents

9.14   Further information and keeping up to date



10        Human rights

10.1   General principles

10.2   Human rights and data protection

10.3   Human rights and breach of confidence

10.4   Human rights and copyright

10.5   Human rights and freedom of expression

10.6   Summary

10.7   Further information



11      Re-use of public sector information

11.1   Background

11.2   General principles

11.3   Public task

11.4   UK government licensing framework

11.5   Right to data

11.6   Charging

11.7   Complaints procedure

11.8   Further information



12        Defamation

12.1      Introduction

12.2     General principles

12.3     Slander           

12.4     Libel

12.5     Defences to libel

12.6     Remedies

12.7     Defamation and the internet

12.8     Checklist




13      Professional liability

13.1   General principles

13.2   Contract

13.3   Tort (delict in Scotland)

13.4   Liability and electronic information

13.5   Liability for copyright infringement

13.6   Risk management

13.7   Indemnity and insurance



14      Cybersecurity and cybercrime

14.1   Background

14.2   Cybersecurity and cyber essentials

14.3   Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime

14.4   The Computer Misuse Act 1990

14.5   The Network and Information Systems Regulations

14.6   Hacking

14.7   Viruses, worms and Trojans

14.8   Intellectual property infringement

14.9   Pornography

14.10 Fraud

14.11 Denial of service attacks

14.12 Acceptable use policies

14.13 Communications Act 2003



15      Disability discrimination

15.1   General principles

15.2   Copyright and the disability exceptions

15.3   The Right to Read

15.4   Website accessibility

15.5   Further information



16      Other legal issues relevant to librarians

16.1   Introduction

16.2   Police surveillance and libraries

16.3   Cloud computing

16.4   Stocking extremist/controversial literature

16.5   Censorship

16.6   Theft or mutilation of rare books

16.7   Lending of audio books and e-books

16.8   Further information

Paul Pedley MA MLib FCLIP has been following developments in UK information law for over twenty years. He has been a member of the Libraries and Copyright Alliance since 1998, and regularly trains, lectures and speaks on copyright and other areas of information law. He is the author of a number of books published by Facet Publishing including the E-copyright Handbook, Copyright Compliance: Practical steps to stay within the law and Essential Law for Information Professionals.