Always wanted to be a Copyright Expert
Concerns about copyright laws and policy continue to grow for CIO’s as we find ourselves in gatekeeper position for the management of copyright protected material in this digital age. I believe it was back in 2009 when Lawrence Lessig was making such a stir for copyright reform. He properly recognized an author’s right to have their material protected but that our copyright laws made no sense in this digital age. This Lessig quote helps to show the idiocy of applying copyright law today. “If the only way a library can offer an Internet exhibit about the New Deal is to hire a lawyer to clear the rights to every image and sound, then the copyright system is burdening creativity in a way that has never been seen before because there are no formalities.” I remember Lessig was trying to rally Higher Ed to help lead reform. At the time the RIAA was still in disbelief that music distribution had been transformed by the digital age. Google was scanning the books of the world accepting the obvious legal showdowns were inevitable. Well that battle continues as various authoring groups fight to keep control of their compensation formulas.
The latest legal decision for an academic high-profile copyright case has proposed a new framework for determining when professors should be allowed to make electronic excerpts of copyrighted works available to students for free. This was The Association of American Publishers vs Georgia State University, which recently ended with most counts going in favor of Georgia State. This case does offer some promise that we could get clarity for what Fair Use Policy really means with respect to e-reserve accessibility for education. But appeals and more hoops have been thrown up in hopes that we, higher education, will just give up and sacrifice learning for our current outdated copyright protection. All we ask is for reasonable flexibility to allow us to make information available as intended for learning. Allow the Fair Use Policy to be used as intended. And as I mentioned in my last post, I am about to deploy a new digital object distribution tool that will help me comply with the Fair Use Policy. I would like to thank the courts for committing so much time and effort to these legal definitions. Especially District Court Judge Orinda Evans for her year long effort and 350 page judgement for the George State case.