I had the pleasure of speaking at last week’s Texas Library Association Annual Conference in Austin which meant fun people and good Mexican food. With Gretchen McCord, I also presented the L. Ray Patterson award to Georgia Harper. Recently retired, Georgia was the Scholarly Communications Advisor for the Texas University System. She actually won the Patterson Award last year, but we decided to do the actual presentation in Austin, Georgia’s home town.
Initially hired to review research contracts at the Texas University System, Georgia started to get copyright questions from librarians, and happily expanded her career to copyright advisor and fair use advocate (she was very bored with contract law). She is most well-known for the Copyright Crash Course, one of the first extensive web sites providing information about copyright, particularly in the academic setting.
After thanking Gretchen and Pat Smith, executive director of the Texas Library Association, for providing the perfect, appropriate venue for the award, Georgia told us, “My colleagues have been so generous with me over the years, offering their time, their energy, their thoughtful advice, and their expertise, whenever I needed it. It is their generous giving from the heart that makes it possible for me to stand here today. That’s how I learned the values and the practices that made me the kind of copyright attorney this award honors. So, thanks to my colleagues and my clients! And thank you to the American Library Association for recognizing the important role that advocacy of user’s rights plays in bringing to fruition the fantastic projects that our clients imagine.”
A very praiseworthy honoree, Georgia’s name will be added to our exalted list of Patterson Award winners that promote the purpose of the copyright law —”to advance learning” as Ray Patterson would say—and users’ rights to information.