Copyright Course


Lesley Ellen Harris is the guru for librarians and copyright issues. I have read her book on digital copyright and completed her course called Managing Copright Information.

At first I was a bit intimidated about the course as it is 16 lesson over 6 weeks. But they are manageable chunks and take about half hour, if you are a keener and explore the extra web sites. Here is my summary of some key points.

Copyright is fundamentally about a bundle of permission rights to photocopy, store, scan a work or even upload it on an intranet or web site. One does not need to be a lawyer to understand copyright principles. In fact a librarian is well-situated to negotiate a licence, because they know how the book, photograph, e-book or database will be used. Some highlights are licences result from negotiations with the vendor, and if the library is uncomfortable with any clauses like monitoring usage, then ask vendor if clause can be struck out. Most workplace issues can be resolved through educating others about copyright. Enforcing the terms of use agreement with end users is not within the responsibility of librarians, as long as librarians educate their clients on rights and responsibilities involved. Previously I always worried about the enforcement issues. Also there are risk management issues for companies. It would be both embarrassing and illegal, if a law firm was breaking copyright.

Below are a couple of great resources:

Key Issues with Publishers

Copyrightlaws dot com

Michael Geist’s blog

– Brenda


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