Astrid Bovell on April 19th, 2013
I was lucky enough to be invited to present and participate on the Copyright Issues panel at the CourseraPartners’ Conference in Philadelphia – and what an experience it was!
I haven’t really spoken about our involvement in Coursera – but we’ve been very active in making sure that the content used in the subjects for Coursera are copyright compliant. For those of you thinking about launching a Coursera subject, keep in mind that the licences we have that allow you to use content in the classroom and on the LMS don’t apply to the global access of Coursera! So there’s been a lot of work for us to educate our lecturers about the differences and about ways to find open access and out of copyright content that is suitable for use – not to mention the hard work of seeking permission from content owners to use things on a MOOC scale!
The presentation I gave covered some of the issues Melbourne has faced regarding access to and seeking permission for content and broadly discussed the possible evolution of copyright and Coursera in regards to what future developments could be made to assist schools in securing permissions and making content freely available to students. Other presentations similarly focussed on individual universties’ experiences in sourcing content. Our session generated a lot of discussion, because US universities can rely on using fair use for incorporating copyright material without permission from the copyright owner – but for Australian and other non-US Universities, it’s not clear we can rely on that because we create the content in our own countries where fair use doesn’t apply. Outside of us, there are also some US universities that are uncertain about relying on fair use (fair use isn’t as clearly defined as our fair dealing exceptions and there’s yet to be any case law to rely on) and they would also rather adopt the “Australian perspective” on copyright to as it is more risk adverse. So there was plenty of interest in what Melbourne’s approach to copyright compliance is, because it can easily be adopted by other universities that can’t rely on fair use.
So what’s our approach? We try to rely on content that our lecturers have created themselves, content that is available through open access or readily licensed by the creator, content that is out of copyright and where necessary, we’ve sought permission from the copyright owner to use it. We found in the process of working through Coursera content that it helped to develop certain resources, we made this poster for the conference to help illustrate some of the practices we suggest putting in place to make things easier.