I was very interested to read the article in this week’s CHE on electronic theses and dissertations (subscription required) and the brave new world of copyright issues their production has engendered.
The questions of: 1) how and when one would seek permission for the use of images, video, and sound used in a multimedia dissertation; 2) how the process of seeking such permission might differ from prevailing practices related to “fair use” of text “clips” (i.e., quotations); 3) the impact of open access policies; and 4) the big question of whether or not such a dissertation would be accepted (either by the host school or by UMI/Proquest) are all critical ones for our graduate students and for us.
Here at KU, we have recently implemented a mandatory ETD program in which the library has been very much involved. We were part of a couple of large public meetings hosted by the Graduate School last Fall aimed at answering questions about the ETD process and several of the above questions were exactly the ones that faculty and students asked. It will be interesting to see if we receive any feedback based on the CHE article.
On the whole, it’s another great example of how a technological innovation like the ETD can provide a fertile field for one dimension of scholarly communications instruction, i.e., education (esp. for future faculty and scholars) on copyright management and challenges to fair use in the digital environment.