Issue 43, Spring 2009
by Monica Aebly
Copyright questions are involved with many instructional activities, including making multiple copies to hand out in class, preparing a coursepack, and making course material available to students through a web page or Blackboard course.
Need a place to start with a copyright question? Copyright law fills volumes, but Western's Copyright Office has a quick reference for evaluating the use of course materials called "Guidelines for Use of Copyrighted Materials for Instruction." The guide, developed through a collaborative effort of the Copyright Office, Western Libraries, ATUS Web Services, and the Center for Instructional Innovation, is a handy tool for evaluating the best way to provide course material.
The guide includes an easy to read flow chart on the front and a more detailed grid of "Options for the Distribution of Copyright Materials" inside. Using the "Options for Distribution" grid, you can evaluate your course material and decide the best way to provide it to your students. For example, if you want students to have the material in hard copy form, the options to consider are distributing the material in class or having it bound into a coursepack that students purchase at Western's A.S. Bookstore.
If you want students to read the material but you do not require that they have a hard copy, consider linking to the material from your faculty web page or Blackboard. If the material is in one of the Library's full text databases such as EBSCO or JSTOR, putting it on electronic reserve may be the best option. There are multiple options for distributing course material. Finding the one that best suits your needs and the needs of your students is easier when you use the "Guidelines for Use of Copyrighted Materials for Instruction." To view or download a PDF of the guidelines go to www.wwu.edu/copyright.
The Copyright Office is located in Wilson Library 562, phone 650.7435, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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