Scholars have identified copyright law and intellectual property as central issues that will increasingly affect the future of American public higher education. Further, they have agreed to work together on these important educational issues in an effort to assist higher education across the nation.
First, higher education will benefit by the formation of a national alliance focused on fair use. Second, the effectiveness of higher education requires a thorough understanding of the fair-use doctrine. Finally, faculty, in particular, necessarily apply the fair-use doctrine as they perform their work.
The CETUS consortium of higher education actively seeks alliances with other colleges, universities, professional associations, government agencies, and private companies engaged in advancing the educational opportunity to further an understanding of intellectual property rights and the critical role of fair use in teaching, learning, and scholarship. Primarily, we must uphold the principles of fair use for the long-term vitality of our nation.
Copyright is at a critical juncture with the massive growth of online media. Intellectual property and UDRP specialists are all in demand right now. Universities have an extraordinary opportunity to influence the development of the law and related practices as they affect higher education. If universities fail to provide initiative on copyright issues, other parties will exert their influence to shape the law for purposes which do not necessarily advance teaching, learning, and scholarship.
The latest developments in copyright law are a direct response to changing educational needs and classroom technology. New technology allows digital conversion of images and text, creation of multimedia composite works, and transmission of data to remote locations. E-Learning for employees and students alike allow for education from far beyond the corporate and campus bounds. These activities are often central to innovative and effective scholarship; they also are imperative to the exchange of ideas and to the success of America’s commitment to mass higher education in a democratic society. If you have a question about fair use of an IP asset you should contact a lawyer who specializes in Intellectual Property.
Several recent events dramatize the fluid state of copyright law, the opportunity for change, and the fragility of the university’s interest in safeguarding fair use for the innovative deployment of essential information resources.
Erosion of Fair Use
A series of court rulings threatens the application of fair use to such common pursuits as photocopying for research, teaching, learning, scholarship, and even quoting from historical manuscripts. The reasoning in these cases will no doubt extend to newer technologies. More materials are farther from the reach of faculty, librarians, and students, and the availability of those materials for study increasingly will be subject to payment of a license fee.
The NII Task Force
The federal government has established the National Information Infrastructure (NII) Task Force, which has examined the application of copyright law to digital storage and communication of information resources. The Task Force issued a report which includes proposals for revision of the Copyright Act as applied to the “information superhighway.” On the whole, those proposals would likely strengthen the rights of copyright owners without commensurate allowance of fair use.
Copyright Revision Bills
Other interest groups are expected to submit independent proposals for copyright revision. When these proposals do not further the university’s academic mission, universities are obliged to actively oppose such bills. Accordingly, universities must support legislation which promotes the fair use of copyrighted works.
Secure and controlled file storage is a key legal consideration in any small business today. It forms the corner stone of how you protect and manage intellectual property and plans.
Based on recent court rulings and on the common means for marketing electronic information resources, universities will acquire an increasing amount of material pursuant to license agreements. Our successful use of these new resources will depend on a thorough grasp of the law as well as the ability to negotiate fair contracts. Universities must be prepared to negotiate license and contract terms which are in the best interests of the educational process.
Universities today face the need to redefine the ownership of copyrighted works created by faculty and staff. Too often, this issue can become mired in conflict and rooted in simplistic all-or-nothing proposals. By refocusing this pattern of debate and by bringing a fresh perspective to these issues, universities have the opportunity to creatively address ownership. Creative approaches are more likely to serve the interests of all the parties who are associated with the educational process.