Copyright Fun

At my library, we've been learning about copyright all summer. Would you believe we didn't have a university copyright policy, or hardly any information available regarding copyright? So we're making a push to educate faculty so there's no more slightly-illegal reader-copying going on that could get us in trouble!

The more I looked into it (and watched that video), the more I realized how strange and nuanced (and kind of silly) the laws really are. For example, one of the things I'm in charge of is e-Reserves, which means I scan material into a PDF, and add it to our catalog for students to access online. This is OK and considered fair use, as long as it only remains available for one semester. However, if a professor were to do essentially the same thing--scan it and make it available on eClass--that would be the equivalent of making copies and handing them out to the class, which is NOT OK. Even though it seems the same, one is considered fair use, and the other is not.

It's been rather challenging to learn all the details, and even more challenging trying to explain them to professors who don't understand why they can't just make a copy of an article. But it's definitely an important thing to get a hold on. Maybe even more so because of how many are unaware of how the law works. You're liable whether you know it or not!

I'm really glad our library is taking the reigns and educating people about this. It'd be the worst to have a huge lawsuit slapped on you when you didn't know you were doing anything wrong! Check out the LibGuide one of our librarians made. It has a lot of useful information.

Is your library heading up a copyright crusade? What techniques have you used to make your campus copyright-friendly?