Copyright Advisory Network

A community of librarians, copyright scholars, policy wonks. Join us.

The CAN is back! We have been on hiatus for far too long!

The Copyright Advisory Network (CAN) exists to help librarians understand copyright law and appreciate the important role that they can play in serving the public “to advance the progress of science and the useful arts.” We use the Network to respond to copyright questions posed by librarians, but perhaps—more importantly, help librarians learn about copyright from a broader perspective, primarily its impact on information policy issues fundamental to our profession, including free expression, equitable access to information, censorship, and intellectual freedom.

Currently, the Network has three parts:

  1. The CAN forum is where librarians can ask copyright questions or talk about copyright concerns and get a response from a cadre of copyright scholars/mavens who have library copyright expertise. All of the scholars are librarians and some of them have law degrees but none of them give legal advice. Think of the response as informed opinion gleaned from experience, education, and interest in copyright law.

  2. Copyright tools help people understand common library copyright perplexities. These tools were created by Michael Brewer and Justin Spargar and are available [link] to use at your institutions as copyright guides and educational tools. The tools are governed by a Creative Commons Attribution- license that allows “others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.” If you create a new work based on a CAN copyright tool, we ask that you “pay it forward” by retaining the same CC license to advance access and learning for all. See XX to request the files.

  3. The CAN also serves as a general library copyright resource for learning, among the many resources that you can already find on the web. This is a newer part of the CAN that we are interested in expanding.

How to participate:

Everyone in the CAN community must have register to participate. If you wish to be anonymous, you can create a user name of your choosing. Anyone can participate in the Forum, asking or responding to queries and expressing opinions.

Who are we?

We are librarians that participate in or are a member of the OITP Copyright Education Committee of ALA. (We have a keen interest in copyright and some of us are designated copyright specialists or scholarly communication librarians at our home institutions. We volunteer our time to maintain the Network by responding to queries, creating copyright resources and sharing copyright news. Our goal is to provide a response from a CAN user within a 24-hour period, Monday through Friday. We are out of commission weekends and holidays.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We do not give legal advice. We provide informed opinions. Responses will likely be imprecise because with copyright, there are no definitive answers. We believe that discussion will help identify community norms while recognizing individual choice. As information professionals, we serve the public and support our respective institutional missions; responses from the CAN’s scholars should be viewed through that lens.