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Copyright for Educators & Librarians - Weeks 3-4 Review

Monday, November 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: CCUMC Executive Office
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Weeks 3 and 4 of Copyright for Educators and Librarians (the Coursera MOOC I’m currently taking; see this post for an explanation why) are, unsurprisingly, much more dense than the first two weeks of the course.


Week 3 starts out with a lesson on “Owning Copyright,” which addresses many of the questions that teachers have about copyright as it applies to their work. The second lesson, “Limitations on Ownership,” covers first sale (the doctrine that allows libraries to lend out books that they don’t own the copyrights to) and the public domain. The two lessons contain about an hour of videos and about 80 minutes of reading, including the week’s supplemental readings.


Week 4 consists of two lessons that discuss exceptions to copyright that are important for educators, 17 USC 110(1) and 11(2) (the exceptions for educational performances) and 108 (the library exception), one review of the five-question framework for copyright analysis introduced in the second week of the course, and an overview of licensing and permissions. This amounts to about an hour of videos and about 140 minutes of reading, including the week’s supplemental readings.


My favorite thing about Week 3 is its emphasis on providing practical advice. For instance, it implores teachers to honor the Golden Rule when using works created by their students and argues that there are a number of pedagogical reasons for respecting students’ copyrights. It also observes that in the United States, employers typically own the copyrights to works created by employees in the scope of their employment, which means that full-time teachers should assume that their school owns the copyright to any materials they create for classes they teach. Additionally, the essential readings contain one of my favorite copyright resources, Peter Hirtle’s “Copyright and the Public Domain in the United States” chart, and the supplemental readings include two chapters from the book Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums by Hirtle, Emily Hudson, and Andrew T. Kenyon which cover the topics of “Duration and Ownership of Copyright” and “Exclusive Rights & Infringement” in great depth. In fact, one way to think of Week 3 is as an extended introduction to these book chapters.


Week 4 focuses less on dispensing advice and more on making sure that students understand how to think through real-world scenarios. It contextualizes the exceptions in 110(1), 110(2), and 108 as representing possible answers to question 2 of the five-question framework for copyright analysis introduced previously, then skips ahead to licensing and permissions, which represent questions three and five respectively (question four is the topic of Week 5). In doing so, it really does begin to make a case for this framework as a roadmap capable of guiding users through nearly any copyright question they are likely to receive. The essential readings contain great resources related to permissions, including sample/template letters, and a great introduction to Creative Commons licenses. It also includes a law review article by David R. Hansen called “Copyright Reform Principles for Libraries, Archives, and other Memory Institutions” that I liked so much that I will write about it in its own post after this course is over!


All in all, I continue to be impressed! More specifically, I think the course is answering the challenge I laid down in my previous post: I believe that a person who knowledge of copyright prior to taking this course likely would be able to effectively use the framework for copyright analysis to successfully navigate a wide range of copyright issues. I will have a final verdict next week after I complete Week 5!