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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Does Your School Need a Copyright Policy?

So, who needs a copyright policy? We all know that there are laws and regulations to comply with, right? Well, when we consider the purpose of a policy, which is to have guidelines set in place before an incident happens, no matter the type of institution or regulations we're dealing with, it shows the need to institute a full written policy. We don't make policies hoping that something will go wrong, we just have them in place as a guide to set things straight or if necessary, to use as ammunition in a legal battle.

So, what does a policy consist of? In our text, Copyright for Schools, Carol Simpson says that of utmost importance is a statement of a school's intention to abide by copyright laws. (2005) She also mentions the Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME), which is the "king" of copyright law advocates, publishes an information packet with policy-making tips and guidelines. She notes a few key points that should be included in any institution's policy:
  1. Intent to abide by the letter and spirit of copyright law.
  2. Cover all types of materials and media.
  3. Liability for noncompliance rests with the user.
  4. The district mandates training for all personnel who might make copies.
  5. The user must be able to provide justification for use.
  6. The district appoints a copyright officer. (Simpson 2005)

These are only very skeletal suggestions, and I've even pared down from the information in the text, but it's a good beginning framework for policy. As noted in numbers 3 and 5, heavy responsibility is laid on the end user. It's become more and more evident as I read and research copyright, there is never a time that the words, "but I didn't know" will be acceptable.

I think I'll check on what my library of employment has in the way of copyright policy and if nothing is in place, make some suggestions for beginning one. If there is one, I guess I need to familiarize myself with it!

1 comment:

Louie said...

Do you know who would generally be considered the copyright officer in a public school? Would that just be the media specialist? To me, this should be a visible role in the schools. It has been become apparent to me what an important role this would be.