Managing Copyright in Your Library

16 January 2014 — From guest blogger Lesley Ellen Harris, copyright lawyer and the instructor for SLA’s Certificate in Copyright Management program:

When seeking answers on copyright law, many people are frustrated by the all-too-familiar answer of “it depends on the circumstances.” Copyright law, however, is a complicated area of the law, with many nuances and interpretations. I believe that copyright compliance is more about managing copyright law than knowing everything you can about domestic and international copyright laws.

In a series of courses I’ve now taught with SLA for seven years, the emphasis is on managing copyright. The purpose of the courses is to help non-lawyers (although lawyers occasionally participate in the courses) learn to apply the copyright law to their everyday situations – situations like sharing a PDF article, using images found online, and negotiating digital licenses. Some of the key things we examine in the courses include:

  • Centralizing copyright issues within a single person’s or a committee’s role rather than copyright being an issue inconsistently dealt with throughout an organization
  • Learning the basics about domestic and global copyright law
  • Understanding the role of risk management and dealing with answers that do depend on the circumstances
  • Developing practical management tools like a written permissions procedure and copyright compliance guidelines.

The courses are updated each year and customized to meet the needs of the students who participate in them. Readings and lectures are a component of the courses, as is participating in discussions.

The program consists of 9 courses, 8 of which are required for you to receive a program diploma.  Courses may also be taken à la carte.  Most courses take place online, and two are offered at the SLA Annual Conference each year. Discounts are available for SLA members.

CCM100 Introduction to Copyright Management: Principles and Issues, an online course with three sessions, begins Thursday, January 23.  We hope you can join us!  CCM200 U.S. Copyright Law Principles begins Thursday, February 13.

For more information about the program or individual courses, contact Lesley or Carolyn Sosnowski, SLA’s director of education and information services.

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