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Copyright Gets a Tweak (Educational Concerns)

Posted by geeknews at 1:34 PM on December 1, 2006

Many of you may know that the Librarian of Congress recently made some exceptions to existing copyright laws dealing with various published works. These ranged from obsolete computer software to video in the classroom which immediately sparked my interest. I’m by no means a lawyer but after finally getting a chance to trudge through the legalese I have come to realize that this exception will allow professors to duplicate, edit and display copyrighted media for their classrooms. Two questions came to mind as I read this. 1.) The exception seems to focus on media studies or film professors and “works included in the educational library of a college or university‚Äôs film or media studies department” Does this mean history profs cannot show clips from “Glory” and other flicks that may be relevant to their class? I deal with such circumstances regularly and there is some protection for professors and media in the classroom but it is usually limited to a certain (very low) percentage of the work that can be shown. 2.) In today’s world the classroom is not just a physical place. Virtual classrooms are becoming more and more prevalent. Will professors be protected if they offer these videos on the web for their online students? We have made it a practice to gain permission to re purpose copyrighted material on the web for online courses or to make sure the media is in a password protected environment only accessible to the students. These new exceptions are a great step but are certainly left open for interpretation. You can find the full list of new exceptions here. [link to copyright exceptions]

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