Sunday, 15 February 2009

How EPrints Might Support Copyright for Teaching Materials

In yesterday's posting I mentioned the notion of a copyright audit for teaching materials that incorporate images and content produced by other people. It's a very current topic for the teaching and learning community, and one that has been discussed extensively in the context of the EdSpace project.

So I thought I'd knock up some extra document metadata fields to allow sufficient information to run with this idea. I've just added a text field to record the identity of the copyright holder, a URL field to store a reference to where the media had been sourced from, and a pick list for the author to declare whether it was his/her own material, whether rights had been bought, or permission obtained, whether the item was in the public domain, or whether the copyright status was 'uncleared' or 'unknown'.

To recap: this is in the context of a set of lecture notes that have incorporated third party pictures and images. The repository has "burst out" all these images from the slideshow and recorded them as separate (but related) documents, with their own metadata for cataloguing purposes.

Now that the metadata is recorded, this can be used as the basis for a workflow, so that the public access status of the slides can be made contingent on the correct permissions being obtained for all the embedded items. Or alternatively, in the case of problematic items, the repository can create a 'copyright free' version of the slideshow by pixelating, graying out, or simply removing the original image. Or, the author can be allowed to deposit the slideshow into the repository, but the EPrints QA audit system can be used instead to provide warnings and reminders to get missing permissions.

To re-iterate. This is not about Open Access to self-authored, self-deposited research materials! This is about Open Educational Resources, which may incorporate third party materials and which the authors may worry about making public.

Repository managers may be looking at this and thinking that I've just made the process of sharing information much more complex. But there are lots of ways of simplifying this - you could just resort to a tick box for the powerpoint that says "I have checked all the resources below and declare that copyright permission has been obtained for all of them".

1 comment:

  1. I think the ability to handle aspects of copyright information related to the resources is key if systems like eprints are going to be used to manage learning materials.

    It would be nice to think about the kind of workflows that could support this - perhaps pushing materials on which copyright needs clearing to a dedicated team in the library or elsewhere.

    Unfortunately the information relating to copyright starts to get more complex quite quickly - copyright may be cleared for certain uses (teaching) in certain contexts (Physics 101) and during a certain timeframe (Aug 09 - Aug 10).

    It would be nice to be able to report on some aspects of this - like materials approaching the end of their copyright clearance time (where applicable) so that the appropriate action can be taken.

    Not that I'm trying to build you a to-do list or anything :)