The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today announced that three universities --Hofstra, Syracuse and Marquette -- have reached agreement with the AAP on new copyright guidelines affirming that educational content delivered to students in digital formats should be treated under the same copyright principles that apply to printed materials.
The guidelines, which were developed separately by the three universities, govern how librarians and faculty members distribute copyrighted content through library electronic course reserves systems, course management systems, faculty and departmental web pages and other digital formats.
AAP worked with each of the three universities in cooperative efforts to establish easily understood and common-sense standards that help faculty and staff understand and interpret their rights and responsibilities when using copyrighted content in educational settings. Each of the guidelines reflects the specific needs of the particular university and is consistent with the principles of fair use while providing helpful guidance as to when permission from the copyright holder is required to copy or post materials in digital formats. AAP believes the guidelines, which are similar to those adopted by Cornell University last year, will serve as models for others colleges and universities.
“Copyright provides a critical incentive for creative people to invest their time, energy, talent and money in creating new works of original expression for the broader benefit of our society,” said former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, president of the AAP. “The AAP, our member publishers and the authors of the works they publish applaud these universities for implementing their new copyright guidelines and taking steps to educate their faculty and staff on the proper use of copyrighted works in digital formats.”
In the last two years AAP has initiated discussions with a number of universities after observing that unlicensed digital copies of course materials were gradually replacing the licensed physical copying of articles, book chapters and other copyrighted works. While it is well established that physical copying of materials for distribution to multiple students, often in compilations known as coursepacks, generally requires permission from the copyright holder, faculty and staff seem less aware that permission is similarly required for distribution of electronic copies of such copyrighted materials.
The new guidelines at each university clarify that the use of copyrighted works in digital formats requires such permission. At Marquette, for example, the guidelines explain that “The same copyright and fair use principles that apply to educational use of copyrighted works in printed form apply equally to their use in digital form.” Similar statements are included in the new guidelines adopted by Hofstra and Syracuse.
In addition to the development of new copyright guidelines for digital course content, Syracuse recently announced the creation of a University Committee on Copyright and the inclusion of library reserve materials within the Blackboard course management system.
In the Syracuse University News article “New SU program provides copyright guidance, education”, Syracuse Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina reports, "It is the right time for our University community to build a copyright program that is a model for others, including our students, who will move into the broader world with a better understanding of the complexities of fair use and copyright protection.”
To view the copyright guidelines, go to: