One of the problematic aspects of copyright legislation is its vagueness. It doesn’t so much tell you what to do as prescribe a range of possible choices. This policy is designed to provide members of the Phillips Academy Community with a common understanding about copyright rights. It is further intended to provide the basis for a consensus about the appropriate limits on the discretion conferred by copyright so that copyright decisions are made by informed users in a consistent manner across campus.
The Need for a Copyright Policy Committee
During my sabbatical I gathered and studied copyright policies from dozens of small and large colleges and universities. They were appropriately diverse, since a copyright policy can’t be “one-size-fits-all.” While my original intention had been to learn about what needed to be in a policy, and draft a policy for the Academy, I became convinced that this was not a good approach. Rather, I believe that we need to reinstate a committee, or “working group” charged with the creation of a policy regarding the use of copyrighted material in a specified time frame. This committee would consider the issues and the politics, bring to bear its collective wisdom in decision making, and develop a policy that both supports our mission and reflects our unique situation.
Suggested Membership (6-8 people)
- Representative of the Business Office,
- Representative of Communications (Web Site)
- Representatives of Faculty (History, Music, World Languages?–maybe already ACT members)
- Representative of AV/Polk
- Representative of the Library
- Representative of Technology
Charge to the Working Group
The Charge to the working group should come from the Dean of Studies or from the Head of School. My recommendation is that the working group be charged with establishing the general principles for the policy. The specific details can be developed (evolved) over time as the policy is tested in practice. The working group might develop a “FAQ” as a guide to the development of the detailed policy.
The policy will need to be approved by the Head of School and the Trustees. I believe that if the working group is charged at the beginning of this Academic year, it would be possible to deliver a draft policy to the Head in time for her review in advance of the Trustees visit at the end of January.
Community Information and Education
Assuming that the copyright policy will be approved by the Trustees at their winter meeting, we should consider having a multi-pronged information and education campaign ready to go. We would want articles in the Phillippian and the Gazette, as well as in the PA Newsroom on the website. I believe that the Faculty handbook is scheduled for updating, and the policy should be included in that revision. Individualized training should be for held the secretaries of academic departments. Next year during the technology workshops at the start of the year, a discussion of the policy could be included in Blackboard / PANet training.
Examples of Copyright Education Resources
- The Copyright Crash Course—Produced by the University of Texas, this is a comprehensive discussion of the universe of academic copyright.
- Copyright Information and Education Center—An extensive set of materials and tools from the University of Minnesota Libraries, including a Copyright Decision Map and a Fair Use Analysis Tool.
- Copyright at Carlton—A similar, and similarly extensive, set of materials and tools, tailored to the specific needs of a small liberal arts college. This might be more applicable to the situation at the Academy.
- Copyright Metro—An interactive guide to using copyrighted multimedia material in teaching, from Baruch College.
- So You Want to Show a Movie on Campus (PDF)—A flowchart created by Stephen McDonald for determining whether and when you need a public performance license to exhibit movies and other audiovisual materials.
- Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States—Part of Cornell University’s Copyright Information Center, this tremendously useful chart tells you how to determine whether and when a work entered the public domain.
- Know Your Copy Rights—A brochure, developed by the Association of Research Libraries specifically for faculty, that emphasizes “what you can do”—and, best of all, it’s available for free download and distribution under a Creative Commons license.
Examples of Policies
- North Carolina State University: The TEACH Act Toolkit. This is a “step by step” guide for faculty at NCSU. This represents a fairly conservative approach to the rights conferred by the TEACH Act.
- University of Texas System: “Rules of Thumb” for Fair Use. The “Rules of Thumb” apply to coursepacks, distance learning, the use of images and multimedia, and electronic reserves. They are also pretty conservative. They “do not describe the outer limits of fair use; they describe a ‘safe harbor’ within the bounds of fair use.”
- Columbia University: Fair Use Checklist. This tool is intended to provide support to faculty in making fair use determinations. The tool seems designed to support use as opposed to the need for permission.
- Duke University: Copyright Guidelines for Electronic Course Content
- Cornell University: Electronic Course Content Copyright Guidelines.
- As a result of the suit brought against Georgia State University, the university has revised its policy to clarify its approach to the use of copyrighted materials under fair use within its course management system. Revised GSU Policy http://www.usg.edu/copyright/
American University/Center for Social Media: Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Media Literacy Education. This document sets forth a series of “principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials” in connection with teaching “the capacity to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms.”
- American Library Association: Fair Use and Electronic Reserves. This “document—endorsed by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) of ALA, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Law Libraries (AALL), the Medical Library Association (MLA), and the Special Libraries Association (SLA)—seeks to capture how institutions are applying fair use in the development of electronic reserves systems.”