Libraries write and enforce many policies and some libraries have policies regarding copyright. Sadly, there are libraries which do not have any sort of copyright policy in place. While a library might think that it isn't necessary, having a policy that defines responsibilities of the library and its users can create a useful "fence" which can inform everyone's actions. This might be especially helpful for library staff, who may not be copyright experts, but who do need to use the law responsibly.
In my graduate class entitled Copyright for Information Professionals, I had students construct a copyright policy for the library of their choice. I have them consider several sections, knowing that this policy is likely longer than one they might construct for an actual library. However, I want them to consider - and demonstrate proficiency - in several areas. The elements of the policy are (in brief):
- Name and location of the library
- Mission of the library
- Purpose of the policy
- A list or overview of the relevant sections of copyright law, which affect this library
- General copyright rules which the library follows
- Specific rules or guidelines used by staff in their work for the library or for patrons
- Advice – for users and staff – on seeking / copyright clearance
- A disclaimer
- Who to contact about copyright matters
- An FAQ (frequently asked questions)
- Does my library have a copyright policy?
- Does it provide information that creates the guidance which staff and users need?
- Does the policy reflect good copyright practices?
- Is the policy being followed?
- Developing a Library Copyright Policy - An EIFL Guide
- The following policies are offered as examples to show the variety of policies which libraries have in place. No endorsements are implied.