Monday, September 09, 2013

Copyright for Information Professionals (IST 735), weeks 1 & 2

This fall, I am going to blog about my copyright class.

As I have for several years, I'm teaching a graduate course on copyright this fall, Copyright for Information Professionals (IST 735). The course titles includes the words "information professionals" in order to distinguish it from other copyright classes on campus. Indeed mine is focused primarily on how copyright affects libraries and education, with deviations to other areas during our discussions. The class is online, which I like for this topic. It gives everyone a chance to reflect - and do research - before speaking, which is important when dealing with the law.

The required textbook for the class is:
  • Kenneth D. Crews, Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions (3rd revised edition ed.). ISBN 978-0838910924. 
The students are also reading large portions of:
  • Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Tıtle 17 of the United States Code (Circular 92), October 2009, online in its entirety at
  •  Edward Samuels.  The Illustrated Story of Copyright.  Thomas Dunne Books,
    December 2000, online in its entirety at (This is in an odd online format, which limits how much I assign. I do suggest that students find a copy through interlibrary loan, since there are likely additional sections they would find useful.)
  • Peter Hirtle, Emily Hudson and Andrew Kenyon.  Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009.  Online in its entirety at
The mandatory readings for the first two weeks in the semester were:
You will notice that the readings for weeks 1 and 2 are basic.  In these weeks, I'm setting the stage for the sections of the law that will follow.  I tell them that they must understand the basics or they will not understand, for example, section 108.   And I do ask them to learn what is really in the law, rather than relying on what they think is in the law.

Thus far, the online discussion has been lively, including some side discussions on things like the copyright of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches.  A few of the questions have had me digging further into the law and reading new-to-me sections on recordings.  This proves that there is always more to learn!

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