Copyright for Educators & Librarians

Copyright has always been a bit of a puzzle for teachers and librarians.  It seems like a mysterious set of rules, and the news media occasionally reports on dire penalties imposed for copyright infringement.  However, the law was designed to empower teachers and libraries, with both specific and general exceptions that facilitate education.  Our goal in this course is to begin to demystify the law and help educators and librarians do their jobs more effectively.

The three instructors for the course all began their careers as librarians, and all went to law school in order to assist their colleagues in schools, colleges and libraries better understand copyright.  Each now holds a position where their principal role is to help sort out the copyright conundrums that arise in education and libraries.  In all of these situations, our goal is to help teachers and librarians accomplish their legitimate educational goals in ways that respect copyright and reduce the fear and uncertainty that sometimes hampers creative teaching.  As lawyers, we strive to find responsible ways to say “yes” when asked if a new teaching idea or library services can be considered within the confines of the copyright law.

Throughout the four weeks of the course we will introduce specific examples of copyright questions that arise in education.  We will both introduce a framework for analyzing copyright questions that participants can use to consider the specific issues they encounter, and we will work through real life examples.