Online Courses and Copyright
- February 4, 2008 @ 1:44pmSLG says:Can someone help with the below? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I direct an online program and I have three questions directly affected by that delivery system. Let me preface my questions by saying that any materials we would reproduce under Fair Use would be posted on a class site that only students who were enrolled in the class would be able to access.
Can we digitally reproduce an article from a journal in our library and post that article on a class site? If we can, do we need to use Adobe Acrobat to secure the document so it cannot be "copied and pasted" or printed?
Does Fair Use allow me to copy a portion of a book in our library and post the digital file on a class site? If so, what guidelines determine how much can be reproduced?
Does putting a digital file on an online class site fall under the category or reproduction or distribution--or both?
- February 5, 2008 @ 3:19pmJanetCroft says:I looked at your institution's library's web page, but they didn't list electronic reserves among their services, which would be the best solution to your situation. You might talk with your librarian to see if she has any interest in setting up e-reserves, because doing this sort of thing through your library gives you the most protection as an institution, in my opinion. It doesn't look like your institution has Desire 2 Learn or any other courseware either, which also would have helped.
But you do seem to have a way to limit access only to the students in the class, and that's a major step in the right direction--probably your most important line of defense.
1. Can we digitally reproduce an article from a journal in our library and post that article on a class site? If we can, do we need to use Adobe Acrobat to secure the document so it cannot be "copied and pasted" or printed?
You can do this. You might check with your librarian and see if she has any guidelines already in place for paper reserves about how many articles per journal, etc. You can't really prevent a student from printing out or sending the article to a bunch of his friends, whatever file format you use, but you can prevent direct access by outsiders. However, a pdf is nice for the instructors because it makes cut-and-paste plagiarism much more difficult. Libraries make a cover sheet or stamp the first sheet of a scan with the disclaimer saying something along the lines of "This material may be protected by copyright law," and this protects them from violations by the end user. Your librarian can tell you the wording she uses.
2. Does Fair Use allow me to copy a portion of a book in our library and post the digital file on a class site? If so, what guidelines determine how much can be reproduced?
Yes, you can do this too. Different libraries have different guidelines about how much can be copied. For example, my institution says up to 50 pages or 2 chapters, whichever is less. But these are just guidelines, and the best way to approach it is to consider the Four Factors of Fair Use for each item individually.
3. Does putting a digital file on an online class site fall under the category or reproduction or distribution--or both?
Actually, I wouldn't call it either -- I would call it a protected fair educational use. But if you are worried, look for articles in your library's online databases to which you can just provide a link -- linking is the safest thing!
- February 8, 2008 @ 9:43amCarrie says:I'll add that ALA has a paper on its web site regarding fair use and electronic reserves. It goes into a bit of detail regarding the four factors.
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