Copyright vs innovation in online classrooms #theta2015

Copyright and compliance when the law can’t keep up: Issues with innovation in online classrooms (abstract)
Alison Makins

Some parts of copyright law are too narrow – eg “broadcast” in Aus defined as radio and TV and doesn’t cover iTunesU, Tumblr, Vine, etc etc etc. Some parts are too broad. Change in the law is slow! So copyright can be a huge barrier to innovation. However this shouldn’t hold us back.

Universities tend to end up on ends of spectrum:
Hyper-compliance <--------------------> Total disregard

Alison advocates:

  1. taking copyright out of the picture so people don’t have to think about it. Use open access material and just read the licenses which were designed for users, easier to understand. Sells OA to instructors by stressing flexibility. Copyright exceptions use if locked up in LMS, but no good if you want to be portable. Or often easier to create original content and suggest additional readings.
  2. managing the risk – Some questions are clear-cut; some aren’t. Hyper-compliance says don’t do it (depriving students); total disregard says go for it (possible legal risk) – so middle road of managing the risk.

Think about:

  • What’s the likelihood of consequences? Think: identity of rightsholder; nature of use; scope of use; profitability; mitigating steps – only require reasonable analysis. eg a photo taken by restauranteur, used in full, cited and linked to restaurant website, in a MOOC, clear not trying to profit as taken casually and not trying to profit.

    Mitigation:
    Secure it (lock it down)
    Clip it (crop it)
    Attribute it
    Put endusers on Notice (so students know what they should do about it
    And also provide a way for people to contact you if they want it taken down so they don’t have to resort to suing.

  • What’s the severity of consequences? Consider: nature of work (how much effort put in?); value of work (proprietary information? market?); damage your use will do to value; scope of use; nature of likely consequences (eg takedown notice – but unlikely if already over internet)

Gives power back to users and takes it away from lawyers. 😀

Encourages everyone to do their own risk assessment – not sustainable to have a single copyright officer deciding everything. Try to walk them through the process.

Most creators (except for scholarly publishers) are comfortable having content used in educational settings.

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