A Guide to Oral History and the Law by John A. Neuenschwander

By John A. Neuenschwander

A advisor to Oral heritage and the legislations is the definitive source for all practitioners of oral heritage. In transparent, obtainable language it completely explains all of the serious criminal concerns, together with criminal liberate agreements; copyright; privateness; screening, enhancing, and sealing approaches to guard opposed to defamation; the safety of sealed and nameless interviews from court docket disclosure; the position of Institutional overview forums (IRBs); educating concerns; and the hot matters raised by way of interviews on the web. Neuenschwander's important concentration is prevention, instead of litigation, and he cites not just the newest lawsuits but in addition examples of approaches and rules that oral heritage courses have used successfully to prevent criminal problems. The publication presents greater than a dozen pattern criminal unlock agreements appropriate to quite a few occasions. This crucial quantity can be utilized by pros, family members historians, and scholars alike.

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10 The lawsuit that generated the subpoena was a civil antitrust action against Microsoft involving competing browsers and more particularly Navigator, which was developed by the Netscape Corporation. During the discovery phase of the case Microsoft C ompelled R elease of I nterviews | 2 3 learned of a forthcoming book written by two distinguished researchers from MIT and Harvard. The book, Competing on Internet Time: Lessons from Netscape and the Battle with Microsoft, was based in part on forty interviews with current and former Netscape employees.

The possibility of a legal claim for copyright infringement seems even more remote because in almost all circumstances oral historians secure the copyright L egal R elease A greements | 1 3 to interviews through the release process. Despite the highly unlikely prospect that any of these legal claims would ever arise, if they did, an exculpatory clause in an interviewee’s release agreement would place the entire responsibility for such an unfortunate event upon his or her shoulders. This would appear to be an ethical reach and might even prove to be unenforceable.

For most oral historians, having to obtain consent by first walking potential narrators through a kind of horror chamber of risks is nothing short of overkill. However, the Principles and Best Practices of the OHA actually mirrors some of these consenting elements. Two sample IRB modified agreements (Nos. 9 and 10) appear in Appendix 1. Legal Release Agreements for K–12 Projects Thousands of teachers on all levels use oral history in their teaching. Most of these teachers see oral history as just another teaching resource, a tool much like a field trip or computer program.

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