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Special Interest Group Archive: Copyright

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

June 21, 2016

The first Copyright SIG was held on Friday, June 21. These are notes and links produced from the meeting's atendees.

Open Discussion

Initial Brainstorming Session:

Cops – who is the copyright officer?

Where do we fit in as educators and leaders?

What is the difference between the ethics and the law?

How can students use internet information?

How do you discover what is available? And how do you get something that is useful?

How do you create a copyright policy when you can look at it from all different kinds of angles? For instance - can you take photographs within a historic house? What if there are copyrighted works on the walls of that house?

Access for existing digital content and policy for new works that are being created.

Distinction between copyright and ownership.

When does fair use come into play?

Creative Commons – licenses that are available to student-made works. The default setting is the most restrictive setting. All part of digital commons. Some projects have restricted access (campus only) in addition to restricted copyright.

All creative commons licenses require attribution.  

What is the difference between copyright and rights? Copyright is a law. Anything fixed and tangible can have copyright. Licenses are author rights, and that trumps the copyright. Deed of gift defines what parts of materials can be used by the rights holder.

Open access – faculty is paying a lot of fees to publish, without much institutional support. Bard is looking at having a pre-pub open access repository. It takes faculty buy-in to have policies to allow pre-pub materials to be open access, even opt-out policies.

Faculty put things up on Blackboard, publishers aren’t letting faculty put textbooks on course reserve. Anticipation that faculty might come to the library with questions. TEACH Act addressed some of the new online systems. What do you do when something is behind a login? Does Fair Use apply?

Sci-Hub article –

Could people be punished for using the service?

The authors of the articles are still left hanging – they aren’t getting compensation or statistics.

But then what about the people and institutions that can’t afford to buy the publications legitimately?

What are the ethics of withholding information from people that could use it but can’t afford it?

Every year, the library has to negotiate with the database companies, and if the college is paying a lot to access the database and the writers are paying a lot to be in the databases, how is it fair to anyone?

Open access is the legal way to make the content available – but then how is it discoverable? (Digital commons feeds to Google) There is an aggregator for open-access journals. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Policy Breakout Group


What is the librarian’s role? We’re not police – but we can create a LibGuide or a webpage with copyright information. It might be good to consult with a lawyer. It’s also a good idea to have a blanket license for music and performing arts. The library could hold a workshop, but how does that work in places with few librarians, and how do you get faculty through the door?

You need to reach a key faculty person, a division head, or someone who is a stakeholder.

Often, the policy is to take your chances and to adapt as necessary, especially if something is not written. 

Notes from the table:

  • Who's job is it? Who gives support to the library to create policy?
  • How do we educate faculty?
  • Libraries: "blanket licenses" for public performance (don't use movies not under this license.)
    • Movie licensing - USA
    • Internet Archive
    • ASCAP for music
  • document conversations / emails about copyright advice in case an issue arises later.
  • can policy include fees for reuse of digital content that is in public domain?
  • use standard / acceptable docs to make policy decisions (like Cornell's copyright timeline.)
  • add disclaimers to copyright advice to contract lawyer
  • demonstrate that you are doing the best you can to follow the law ie, fair use checklist webinar and web content that educates the community.
  • Is it possible to have a copyright workshop with a copyright lawyer? (note from CBG - yes! We will work on that for the CE calendar.)

Open Access Breakout Group


There’s not so much publishing going on in the small colleges, but students and faculty would benefit from being able to access items from other schools. Who is the person who is going to do the work and be in control of the repository? Bias of open access not being as academically rigorous is still a hitch. How does peer review come into play? There was a lot on privacy issues – do people want something they wrote 30 years ago to still be out there? How will this work with future technology like Amazon Inspire and Google Classroom? There is confusion about how open access does not mean public domain. 

notes from the table:

  • ...Someone always pays. Sometimes the author for tenure spends $3,000-4,000 per published article.
  • Digital Commons as repository and platform (authors on campus could also allow for pre-pub content to be available.
  • Who will organize the faculty???? - Perhaps a librarian focused on scholarly communication?
  • Cost of textbooks - U Portland & SUNY have "open textbooks."
  • ROLE: Library as Publisher - support the publishing process is important: editing, peer review, etc. 
  • Perception of Open Access is that they are not as intellectually rigorous. 
    • PLOS: Public Library of Science (peer reviewed.)
    • DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals
    • EBSCO Discovery (although too many results, and open access materials are not always important.)
  • Impact of Open Access when it comes to privacy issues:
    • Archives (letters that are published digitally)
    • items that were published before digital - no one expected them to be online.
    • Digitizing student work such as literary magazines
    • Can things be "unpublished" automatically?
    • Beware the "Streisand Effect" 
  • Upcoming technology including Amazon Inspire and Google Classroom are targeting K-12 students. Will your name be associated with your elementary classwork forever? 

Fair Use Breakout Group


Clearing up the concept that online does not equal free to use. You need to use the four factors of free use:

  1. Purpose – education vs. commercial
  2. Nature – published vs. unpublished
  3. Amount – portion in relation to whole
  4. Effect – on the market value

How do you determine if something is being used for commercial purposes or not? Does fundraising for a nonprofit count? That is an instance where a lawyer is needed. If you can’t take your own photo, is it better to beg forgiveness than ask permission?

Permission and attribution are two different things. Can I use this? Either way, it needs to be attributed. 

Notes from the group:

  • Free Web = FREE! (right?)
  • "It's for education!" :) = fair use
  • Copyright & fair use guidelines are NOT law
  • issue of determining copyright status
  • is not-for-profit fundraising considered "commercial" use?
  • What about stock photos from free online sources? (use Creative Commons licensed or public domain images when possible.)
  • For educational purposes, you can use copyrighted images a long as you attribute (but ask permission first if possible.) 
  • Permission vs. attribution --> are there guidelines for location of this info on creative documents, PowerPoints, etc.? ie: does it need to be on top of the photo, or can it be on a credit page at the end? 

Links and downloads

These are some of the resources that we mentioned in the group and might help with further reading. 

In Attendance

  • Carrie Allmendinger, Historic Huguenot Street
  • Derek Sanderson, Mount Saint Mary College
  • Gina Shelton, Dominican College
  • Tess Hartman-Cullen, SUNY - Ulster Community College
  • Ida Brier
  • Jeremy Hall, Bard College
  • Kim Hooper, John Jay High School
  • Tina Kiernan, SUNY -Dutchess Community College
  • Helene Tieger, Bard College
  • Tessa Killian, SENYLRC
  • Carolyn Bennett Glauda, SENYLRC
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