Library catalog metadata: Open licensing or public domain?

As reported a few weeks ago, OCLC has recommended that its member libraries adopt the Open Data Commons Attribution license (ODC-BY) when they share their library catalog data online. The recommendation to use an open license like ODC-BY is a positive step forward for OCLC because it helps communicate in advance the rights and responsibilities available to potential users of bibliographic metadata from library catalogs. But the decision by OCLC to recommend the licensing route — as opposed to releasing bibliographic metadata into the public domain — raises concerns that warrants more discussion.
[Thanks Sarah!]


I've never understood this. Did individual librarians catalog these materials and then their library uploaded these records to OCLC? or did OCLC do all the cataloging?
If the libraries created the records, then the libraries could argue that they retain the copyright (whatever that may be) to the records. I don't think OCLC has the right to transfer the copyright without consent of the library or librarian, much like Facebook can't claim ownership of uploaded photos (only use of those photos).
so if libraries retain copyright for the bib records then OCLC is only granted use, but the libraries also have use.
I guess the libraries would have to have agreed to transfer the copyrights to OCLC, but I don't think that would have happened unless it was by some obscure wording in the contract.

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