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Copyright for Multimedia - Review of Weeks 3-4

Monday, June 5, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: CCUMC Executive Office
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I have finished taking Copyright for Multimedia, the Coursera MOOC I’ve been working on for the past few weeks! Although weeks 3-4 are a bit denser than weeks 1-2, as I thought they would be, my overall assessment of the value of this course hasn’t changed: it’s a fine accompaniment to the instructors’ first course, Copyright for Educators & Librarians, which is in turn a great introduction to copyright, and the five-question framework for copyright analysis that both courses use is a useful tool that people who complete the courses will probably be able to use to successfully navigate a wide range of situations. Both MOOCs are great refreshers for people who have completed a program like CopyrightX, but I don’t think that either one is a good substitute for the experience of working through a variety of scenarios with a copyright expert that a mediated course like that supplies.


Speaking more specifically about the content of the second half of the course, week 3 is comprised of five lessons consisting of just over an hour of video lectures and approximately one additional hour’s worth of readings; week 4 has about 80 minutes of video lectures and about 30 minutes of readings. What I liked best: the amount of time the instructors spent on the specific scenario whereby someone wants to use a popular music as the soundtrack for a video, which is far and away the most common source of copyright questions I receive from students! What I liked least: the fact that the instructors barely mention media course reserves. I expected this to dominate much of week 4, especially after the instructors structured an entire video around the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. The ACRL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, a very similar document that clearly identifies media reserves as a fair use, isn’t ever mentioned, though, and the subject is glossed over in a minute-long discussion of AIME v. UCLA.  This is even more perplexing in light of the fact that Kevin Smith, one of the instructors, has written extensively about the fair use implications of this case! I also would have appreciated more resources related to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a non-copyright issue that the instructors correctly identify as being an important consideration for anyone working with video in a higher education context. Oh well!


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