Monday, February 13, 2006

Copyright & digital rights

That is the topic of this week's lecture that I posted to my graduate students. It is week #5 and we've discussed the basics of project management and material selection. (Project and material selection was done over a two week period, due to the amount of readings.) There were a large number of readings that they could have done for this week, but only two were mandatory. I told them to skim the rest.

As we know, copyright is an important factor when deciding whether or not to digitize materials. Many programs digitize works that are clearly in the public domain rather than going through the hassle to copyright clear materials. I predict, though, that our users will push us to digitize materials that are still copyrighted. Why? Because they will want to use these materials and will not understand why they are not available. In order to digitize these materials, we will need to create easier ways of copyright clearing them, especially those materials known as orphan works. Hopefully the copyright offices in each country will address this problem. Likely a project will just digitize (like Google) and either create a precedent by its actions or spark litigation that will create rules that can be followed. However this "path" gets created so that copyrighted works can be cleared more easily occurs, I hope it occurs soon.

Two of the students this semester live outside of the U.S. (Australia and Japan). The lecture did include some information that was directed towards them, but I'm sure they will be doing more learning on their own. Likely, too, they will teach the rest of us a thing or two about the copyright law in their countries.

For you information, the readings for this week are:
I also pointed them to two blog postings that might be of interest:

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