U Libraries hold copyright workshops

The session answered copyright questions from students and faculty.

Andrew Johnson

Nancy Sims sees a lot of similarities between students and faculty concerned about using other peopleâÄôs work.

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs copyright program librarian said she often entertains questions from faculty who want to use a quotation or a graph without compromising their academic integrity.

“They will explicitly say the reason they want to be careful with their course materials is because they want to set a good example,” she said.

Sims facilitated the University LibrariesâÄô first of three standalone workshops Tuesday, addressing these concerns. It included a presentation and discussion for faculty members, instructors and graduate students regarding fair use and copyrights.

Generally speaking, fair use is the process of responsibly using anotherâÄôs copyrighted material without having to pay royalties or requiring permission from the owner.

The workshops are not in response to any particular or specific incident on campus but are a perceived need, Sims said.

Holley Wlodarczyk, a cultural studies and comparative literature doctoral candidate and teaching assistant, attended the workshop for both her roles.

“I wanted to know what I can post or show to my students in my class,” she said. She often uses video clips or images for lectures.

Wlodarczyk also wanted to make sure she was aware of how fair use applies to her personal research because it includes images. Ownership of certain works can raise issues of fair use and copyright.

The workshop was not only limited to fair use protocol but copyright issues as a whole.

The University Libraries have offered this specific set of workshops since last fall but have had copyright and fair use education for years.

SimsâÄô presentation examined situations in which material was fair use, such as works in the public domain or those that qualify for classroom-use exemption. This helped faculty understand when and how certain information could be used.

The classroom-use exemption outlined certain conditions allowed for copyrighted material to be used fairly. The conditions include being in a classroom, in person and at a nonprofit educational institution.

Participants asked questions pertaining to a wide range of issues and how fair use comes into play. Uncertainty about what types of facts, pictures, statistics, music, parodies and other information could be used were brought up.

“People know they need to know more about [copyright issues],” Sims said.

Overall, the goal of the workshop was not to understand fully the complexities of copyright and fair use, said Sims. The purpose was to educate attendees on situations to recognize where it might be an issue.

“It was a good
introduction,” Wlodarczyk said. “It gave me a good foundation of questions to ask.”

Graduate student Christine McVay said she thought the workshop was enlightening.

“ItâÄôs great,” she said. “I think they could expand on it even, because there are so many issues that come out of this.”

The remaining two workshops will be held Feb. 24 and April 20. Neither is limited to faculty members, so students are welcome to attend.

“Copyright crosses paths with all kinds of daily life aspects of the University,” Sims said. “And not just for faculty, but for administrators, for staff and for students.”