Breakout Session: “Workshopping” Copyright Questions and Practical Solutions. Presented by Kyle Courtney, Copyright Advisor, the Office for Scholarly Communication, Harvard University.

  • Zach Van Stanley Van Stanley Independent Research


During a breakout session at the 2017 copyright conference, Kyle K. Courtney led a discussion focused on practical solutions to common copyright issues. Foremost among these is risk assessments, which involve judgments of risk versus reward. Kyle recommends taking reasonable steps to minimize risk through steps such as disclaimers, fair use, and identifying authorship. To combat copyright issues, copyright professionals must have proper awareness of each individual situation. Given the resources and skills available to librarians, Kyle advises that librarians have special abilities to handle issues such as orphan works. To make judgment calls, individuals must take information on a case-by-case basis. In addition to understanding individual objects concerning their copyright status, information professionals must also understand the different views taken by rights holders, as some are more open than others to use of the copyrighted object. Kyle also discussed what is copyrightable based on measures such as tangibility in a fixed medium and the somewhat unreliable “sweat of the brow” test. Kyle also gave useful tips such as utilizing 17 U.S. Code § 108(h) to copy works in their last 20 years of copyright terms without permission under certain circumstances. Kyle recommended continued exploration of potential solutions for copyright issues as new and novel issues arise.


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