Willing to share your campus/library copyright policy?

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  • I have been charged with finding sample “successful” university, and or, library copyright policies. Is anyone willing to share their process for developing a campus or library copyright policy?

    I am interested in how this process originated, what steps you took to develop policy, how it was implemented, any campus outreach activities, and any attempts at measuring “success”?

    Any input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  • Dear Juju,
    This is not the type of question we are prepared to answer at this forum. There are many universities that have their copyright policies posted on the web and can be found by doing a simple search. The purpose of this forum is to answer specific copyright questions as you have discovered in past queries you posted. In addition, not all of the members of this forum are academic librarians which may influence the type of results you may get. Posting this request at an academic librarians Listserv would probably yield the results you are looking for as well.
    Good Luck on your search!
  • Juju:

    I get this question frequently when I travel to conferences. My response is
    copyright policies should be considered within the context of the mission of your academic institution. The preamble should not begin with a sentence:

    "The purpose of the policy is to make sure that everyone abides by the law."

    The purpose of the policy is to explain how copyright relates to your ability to achieve your mission, your university values, etc. When you consider this from that context, the policy really says "we respect copyright, because when interpreted and applied correctly (and I do mean correctly), copyright helps to advance the progress of science and the useful arts and we are writing this policy to help you better understand that."

    We need to take every opportunity to preserve and practice copyright as it was intended in the Constitution. One policy that does this is the University of Georgia System. http://www.usg.edu/legal/copyright/

    Why is this policy so respected? Because it was co-written by one of the leading copyright scholars (Ray Patterson). Ray worked with Congress to update the copyright law in the 1976Act (the basis for the law as we know it) and wrote a number of copyright books and treatises. He is frequently quoted in case law.

    Of great importance to your policy is a thoughtful explanation of fair use and why it is so essential to educational institutions. Without it, balanced copyright law would not exist, universities could not meet their mission, teachers could not teach, students could not do research, there would be no academic freedom, the first amendment would wither away on the vine, etc etc.

    I would also recommend getting all of the players involved (including faculty representation, computer people, a high level administrator) otherwise you will run into trouble when you try to have it ratified as official university policy.

    Having said that, the Library should take the lead in crafting the policy. Create an outline of the policy and distribute when your meetings begin.
    Let the group react to your lead. Don't sit back and let them try to write it.

    I would hope that there would be some mention that the university will protect their community if and when there is any litigation when they believe that the alleged infringement is fair. But I doubt that you can get that in. Usually, the policies tell the university community the exact opposite "you are on your own if you get in trouble."

    I hope this is helpful.


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