What is it about?

Academic librarians at Kansas State University and Eastern Carolina University help to better serve their communities by providing information, resources, instruction, and educational materials on how to act legally and ethically when using licensed and copyrighted materials; also how to better understand and navigate the legalities of fair use, educational copyright exemptions, and Creative Commons (a form of Open Access, i.e., free to reuse) licensing. A popular copyright framework (developed by copyright attorneys Kevin Smith and Lisa Macklin) presents five straightforward steps to reuse another's work. Our team used the framework to create a guide that was applied to common copyright questions: online courses, data and text mining, public musical & theatrical performances, music added to videos, film showings, academic work, and so on.

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Why is it important?

When the academic community and the public better understand copyright and licensing, they can make better decisions about creating new works and reusing & remixing others' works (e.g., academic papers, musical works, videos, photographs). Through education and access to easy-to-understand resources, members of the community will take more proactive approaches to copyright or licensing problems rather than reacting to problems after they occur. For example, when having a film showing, an individual can plan ahead to find a film in the public domain or a film available through the library streaming services or purchase the necessary public performance license ahead of time.


Finding useful and comprehensible information on copyright and licensing can be challenging for the layperson, and while anyone can freely access the U.S. Copyright Act online, the layperson does not know where to search for sections and exemptions that will apply to their situation; even when they do, they may not understand the convoluted legalese. Our guide, resources, instruction, and consultation services helped the community to understand how copyright works, how to better approach creative and scholarly projects, and how to reach out to the copyright experts for help and information.

Research Impact Coordinator Rachel Miles
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Navigating 21st-Century Digital Scholarship: Open Educational Resources (OERs), Creative Commons, Copyright, and Library Vendor Licenses, The Serials Librarian, May 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/0361526x.2019.1589893.
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