Latest copyright News

Repair, Modify, Tinker & Jailbreak - New Fair Use Protections issued by Librarian of Congress

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses

Unlock Blue.pngThe new rules for exemptions to copyright's DRM-circumvention laws were issued today, and the Librarian of Congress has granted much of what EFF asked for over the course of months of extensive briefs and hearings. The exemptions we requested—ripping DVDs and Blurays for making fair use remixes and analysis; preserving video games and running multiplayer servers after publishers have abandoned them; jailbreaking cell phones, tablets, and other portable computing devices to run third party software; and security research and modification and repairs on cars—have each been accepted, subject to some important caveats.



Using Digital Images in Your Course

Determining whether using a copyright-protected image is a permitted use or infringing can be a complicated process. The Library always recommends that you make a fair use analysis of your intended use and record your evaluation using Columbia University Libraries' Fair Use Checklist or a similar tool. While fair use can only be determined in a court of law, keeping track of your informed decisions are a wise precaution.

DIRC logoDigital images provide some additional complications, however, and you may want to expand your notion of "intended use" beyond "not-for profit educational use" to include a wider range of educational activities such as

  • using an image in an asynchronous teaching activity
  • using an image in your Blackboard course
  • using an image in a scholarly publication
  • using an image in face-to-face teaching

DIRC (Digital Image Rights Computator), a free online tool created by the Visual Resources Association, can help you make an educated decision.

"The Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC) program is intended to assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment. Understanding the presence or absence of rights in the various aspects of a given image will allow the user to make informed decisions regarding the intended educational uses of that image."

If you have questions about copyright or fair use, contact Jenn Kelley, COD Library Copyright Liaison, at [email protected]

Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC)

Intellectual Property at Colleges and Universities

If intellectual property rights and work-for-hire issues are of interest to you, you may want to bookmark the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Issue Campaign page "Intellectual Property at Risk."

"The AAUP believes it is now appropriate to issue a warning: your intellectual property is in danger. In trying to reassert the principles inherent in the US Constitution, two centuries of patent law, and a landmark 2011 US Supreme Court decision, the first task is educational. Everyone on campus needs to learn more about the law, the issues at stake, and the rights they can assert through collective action. This AAUP IP web section has been assembled to help you with the information you need to participate in informed discussion and organize for better campus policies."

Resources on the page include news, essays and fact sheets related to intellectual property issues on college campuses.

"Intellectual Property at Risk." American Association of University Professors


Media History Project: Online Access to the Histories of Cinema, Broadcasting & Sound

media history project logo
The Media History Project is a remarkable non-profit initiative "dedicated to digitizing collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access." To date, their online collection includes over 800,000 pages, covering entire runs of trade papers and fan magazines including Variety, Photoplay and Radio Age.

Collections span several categories, genres and dates:

  • Hollywood Studio System Collection (1914-1948)
  • Fan Magazine Collection (1911-1963)
  • Early Cinema Collection (1903-1928)
  • Year Book Collection (1916-1964)
  • Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Collection (1896-1964)
  • Non-Theatrical Film Collection (1918-1973)
  • Technical Journals Collection (1924-1954)
  • Government & Law Collection (1912-1995)
  • Global Cinema Collection (1904-1957)

This exciting resource can serve a wide variety of interests, disciplines and audiences. Whether you're a fan, a student or a history buff, the Media History Project will have you browsing for hours!
Visit now at

Your Guide to Exploring the Public Domain

Public Domain
Although not a single work in the United States will have its copyright expire until 2019, the public domain is a treasure trove of creative works freely available for use-- to remix, to share, to perform, to display.

As a vast collection of our cultural history, the public domain can be a challenge to navigate. If you're anything like me, you might dive into a compilation like The Commons only to come up for air 2 hours later realizing that you forgot your original purpose but discovered something new and fascinating.

Enter The Public Domain Review, an online project of the Open Knowledge Foundation, "dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online." Whether you're looking for images, film, audio or text to include in a course or project or keen to read articles from scholars, writers and archivists revisiting older materials with fresh perspectives, The Public Domain Review represents a lively and engaging guide to our cultural heritage and vehicle for exposing us to the odd, the forgotten and the fascinating.

Higher Ed Copyright Law Update Webinar

Are you concerned about how recent court decisions have affected classroom and online instruction? Are you interested in learning more about your rights as an educator to use copyrighted material?

Consider registering for the November 5th webinar, Copyright Law Update for Librarians, Faculty, and Academic Administrators: The Courts Have Spoken. This 90-minute session will provide an "overview of copyright, including rights of the author or owner of the work, Fair Use, First Sale, the TEACH Act, and other critical details. Get an analysis of recent cases, as well as an interpretation of how those cases dovetail with modern teaching and learning techniques."

For more information, visit the webinar's web page.

Looking for Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech online? You may not find it.

IhaveadreamMarines.jpgDid you know that Dr. Martin Luther King's historic speech, delivered in front of the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago this week, is protected by copyright?

Unlike many of the famous speeches we're familiar with, the video of King speaking before a crowd of over 250,000 people is not in the public domain, and therefore not freely available on the internet.
You can find illegally uploaded versions, but don't count on them staying put-- EMI Publishing works on behalf of the King estate to protect their copyrights on this video-- protection that is not due to expire until 2038.

Learn more about the complicated, convoluted and controversial copyright issues surrounding the "I Have a Dream" speech on NPR, Mother Jones and The Drum.