Copyright and the Classroom

Looking for a thorough overview of the copyright issues facing educators? Check out the spanking-new report from the Berkman Center at Harvard Law, The Digital Learning Challenge. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, this study examines challenges encountered in four case studies. They summarize the main issues as

Unclear or inadequate copyright law relating to crucial provisions such as fair use and educational use

Extensive adoption of “digital rights management” technology to lock up content;

Practical difficulties obtaining rights to use content when licenses are necessary;

Undue caution by gatekeepers such as publishers or educational administrators.

Interestingly, the touchy issue of e-reserves is left alone – so “highlycontroversial” it needs further study. Though the section devoted to libraries is skimpy, deferring to the Section 108 Study Group, the whole report is worth a read because of its excellent summary of issues facing educators.

About Barbara Fister

I'm an academic librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Like all librarians at our small, liberal arts institution I am involved in reference, collection development, and shared management of the library. My area of specialization is instruction, with research interests also in media literacy, popular literacy, publishing, and assessment.

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