CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 16, 1999
Live Chat discussion focuses on 'Copyright and Course Materials on
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Not long ago, professors who wanted to make course
packets available to multiple students had to put in an order at the local
Today, those same professors can simply post the materials -- things
like journal articles and book chapters -- on the World Wide Web so students
can view, download or print them at their leisure. Or can they?
Organizers of an upcoming discussion titled "Copyright and Course
Materials on the Web" say laws regarding what, and how, reproduced
course materials may be placed on the Internet aren't terribly clear.
By following some general guidelines and using common sense, however, they
say professors should be able to avoid conflicts with publishers.
The presentation and discussion will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, March
30 in the Information Arcade at the University of Iowa Main Library. The
event is part of the Live Chat series sponsored by the University of Iowa
Libraries, Information Technology Services and the Center for Teaching.
While the session is geared toward faculty, teaching assistants and
others who teach at the university, the public is invited to attend. For
more information, call Carol Hughes, head of Information, Research and
Instructional Services at the UI Main Library, at 335-5489.
Tom Rocklin, director of the Center for Teaching and a professor in
the UI College of Education's Psychology and Quantitative Foundations Division,
says there's growing incentive to put course materials on the Web. It saves
faculty the cost and time of making paper copies, and it gives students
the convenience of viewing and printing the materials at home or wherever
a computer is located.
Rocklin said he polled students in a recent class of his to see whether
they preferred to get an article they were required to read on paper or
"They all preferred online," he said.
In that instance, he said the course material came from a professional
research association that readily granted its permission. But commercial
publishers often have restrictions on the use and reproduction -- electronic
or otherwise -- of their materials.
Under certain circumstances, the law allows reproduction for scholarly
purposes under the so-called "fair use" concept. With the explosion
in Internet use, however, materials can now be broadcast to hundreds, even
thousands of people with the click of a button. To prevent that from happening,
materials posted on the Internet may need to be made accessible only to
a specific group of people via a password.
Hughes says complicating matters is the fact that recent changes in
copyright laws extend protection even to materials that aren't clearly
identified as such by the familiar copyright symbol -- the small, encircled
"This is a real gray area," she said.
Rocklin said the one-hour discussion is likely to generate more questions
than answers. But he said the meeting should help participants understand
the basic principles involved.
"It's really about how we get materials to students," he said.
To find out about other Live Chat and related events, visit the University
of Iowa Instructional Technology Calendar on the Web at http://easel.its.uiowa.edu/acad/itcal.nsf.