Friday, August 18, 2017

Reflections on the 2017 Fusion Conference

Doug Emmerich - Reflections on the 2017 Fusion Conference

I would have to say that this was perhaps the best Fusion Conference I’ve ever attended. Perhaps the tone was set for me in my first session that was titled “Be a Copyright Ninja” presented by Dr. Thomas Tobin. Tobin used the concept of the Ninja law of secretly serving a cause of one’s own choosing. To that point, he has distilled the muddy waters of Copyright into some simple “rules of thumb” because even the courts and lawyers acknowledge that Copyright is almost a case by case issue.

For starters forget these two thing often sighted by faculty as justification or guidance for use of other’s works.
  1. The 10% rule – I can use up to 10% of anything and be in compliance of the law. (game show buzzer) WRONG! There is no set amount or percentage anywhere in the law.
  2. It’s legal for academics to use anything in the classroom for educational purposes, it’s called “Fair Use”. Again (game show buzzer) WRONG! Fair use is a defense, not a right. You have to make a case for the fair use which has no real definition but just happens to be supported in court again and again. Probably why people think it is the rule.
It’s important to understand that Copyright is based on the concept of copying (duh). If you take content from an original source and put it into any fixed format; ripping a DVD, copying a CD, taking a photo of a photo, copying, even mimeographing (remember that?) than Copyright applies and you have to get permission or make a case for “Fair Use”. However linking to or embedding content isn’t copying so Copyright doesn’t apply (so long as the source isn’t violating Copyright in the first place.

Use this flow chart to help determine your responsibility:

  1. Did you make a copy of the desired content? YES? Go to step 2. NO? Copyright doesn’t apply.
  2. Do permissions currently exist? Is the product licensed or otherwise released through a Creative Commons license agreement. YES? Use the content according to the terms of the license. NO? Go to step 3.
  3. Do the PANE criteria apply strongly to your use of the copy?
    1. Purpose – You are copying the content for “teaching, scholarship, or research”.
    2. Amount – You are copying a representative sample from the desired content.
    3. Nature of the work – Prefer factual content over creative, published over unpublished.
    4. Economic Impact – Copying the content will not deprive the owner of revenue or profits. If YES use your copy of the desired content according to the PANE criteria. IF NO go to step 4.
  4. Is the owner of the content known? YES? Go to step 5. NO go to step 6.
  5. Has the owner granted your request for permission to use the desired content? YES? Use the desired content according to the owners grant of permission. NO? Do not use the content. 
  6. Were you able to discover the owner after a good-faith effort? YES? Got to step 4. NO? Do not use the content or document your good-faith effort to locate the copyright holder if you do decide to use the desired content.
So what is the one best piece of advice when considering the use of others published work? DON’T copy it. Look a little harder and try to find a way to link to it.

Doug Emmerich - Tips on Copyright from the 2017 Fusion Conference

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