INFO 281-15
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Digital Copyright
Spring 2016 Greensheet

Margaret A. Driscoll, iSchool
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Office Hours: Online Tuesdays 7-8pm PST

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 28th, 6 am PDT unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open on the first day that the class meets. Course sites will close on May 27, 2016.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

This course runs from Monday February 29 to Monday March 27, 2016.

Course Description

This course examines digital copyright by giving students a legal and policy framework to evaluate the myriad of copyright scenarios libraries face today.  Copyright issues permeate daily tasks, from website design to book scanning projects to online reference. To participate in the active debate about ebooks, fair use, digital rights management systems, e-reserve systems, digitization projects and the like, librarians need to be well versed in both the basics of copyright law and the latest developments by regulationl legislation, and court decisions.

This is a one credit course so we will not be able to cover all aspects of copyright in depth, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be looking at all the important parts of copyright for librarians in today’s digital world.  Additionally, I will provide resources for your ongoing personal study on this important topic. The course project assignment should be worked on while you’re in each module. As you visit the additional resources or discover your own, create an annotated bibliography which contains a description of the resource and why/when it will be valuable to you for dealing with copyright issues in the future.

Course Requirements

Outline of Schedule and Assignments

Dates Topic Interactive Class Sessions Activities
Module 1 Welcome!
Copyright History and Fundamentals
Section 108 Library Exceptions
Section 110 Fair Use

Collaborate Class
Tues Mar 1
7-8pm PST

Introductions & Profile
Collaborate Class (10)
Discussion Board (10)
Module 2 Public Domain
Permissions, Licenses, and Locating Copyright Owners

Collaborate Class
Tues Mar 8
7-8pm PST

Public Domain Determination (10)
Collaborate Class (10)
Discussion Board (10)
Module 3 Music, Video, and the DMCA
Risk Management

Collaborate Class
Tues Mar 15
7-8pm PST

Fair Use Analysis (10)
Copyright Clearance Center (10)
Collaborate Class (10)
Discussion Board (10)
Module 4 Scholarship/Authorship Rights
Creative Approaches and Alternatives

Collaborate Class
Tues Mar 22
7-8pm PST

Journal Archive Policies (10)
Collaborate Class (10)
Discussion Board (10)
Course Project (80)


  1. Public Domain Determination (due Mar 13) CLO#1, CLO#2
    Using the various tools introduced this week (The Public Domain Slider, Hirtle’s Copyright Term and the Public Domain grid, Copyright Genie, Public Domain Sherpa), determine the ownership and copyright status of these items. Are they in the public domain? Why or why not?
  2. Fair Use Analysis (due Mar 20) CLO#2, CLO#3
    Make a fair use analysis for several specific items.
  3. Copyright Clearance Center (due Mar 20) CLO#3, CLO#5
    Check license pricing and availability of specific items. Answer questions about permission and licensing of materials.
  4. Journal Archive Policies (due Mar 27) CLO#4, CLO#6
    Research licensing of three journals - can authors self-archive?

Course Project: Copyright Toolkit (due Mar 27)

Throughout the modules in this course, I have provided an extensive array of resources in addition to the assigned readings. The final project is to create your own Copyright Toolkit by listing and annotating these resources as well as any others that you or your fellow students come upon and bring to our attention. Visit each the additional resources and write notations for yourself as to what is available in that resource.

This Copyright Toolkit will form a document that you can use in your professional career whenever copyright issues or questions arise. Remember, the source of the resource (organization, etc.) is important to note so that you can revisit them as the understanding of copyright law changes through legal actions and court cases.

  Total Possible Percent of Total
Participation – 4 modules (10 pts. each) to attend and actively participate or view (posting required if viewing the recording) 40 20%
Participation - Discussion boards - 4 modules (up to 5 pts. each week for initial post, up to 5pts. each week for two responses) 40 20%
Assignments (up to 10 pts. each)
  • Public Domain Determination
  • Fair Use Analysis
  • Copyright Clearance Center
  • Journal Archive Policies
40 20%
Course Project due Mar 25 80 40%
  200 100%

Other Relevant Information
The course week will begin on Mondays and end on Sundays at midnight. All assignments are due by midnight on Sunday. Turning in assignments late is not allowed except in the case of true extenuating circumstances and with written prior approval of the instructor. 

Every week we will have an online class session using Collaborate.  These sessions will be on Tuesdays from 7-8pm PST. Attendance is strongy encouraged at the interactive online class sessions -- additional material will be presented but not just in 'lecture' format.  This hour will also offer the opportunity to ask questions in real-time, build community with your classmates (i.e. networking!), voice personal experience and/or opinions about the weekly topic, and gain clarification on assignment tasks. There will be 10 pts given to each actively participating attendee each week. The class sessions will be recorded. If you are unable to attend a live sessionv view the recording and write reflective post on the lecture topic/s) to earn 10 pts.

Participation may well be one of your greatest challenges in this course. Given your prior experiences in a teacher-centered classroom, some of you may fear initiating discussion, especially among yourselves; however, it is so important that you participate in the discussions substantively. Your peers have a lot to share with you and amazing stories to tell.

I will divide the class into smaller groups for each discussion board so as to avoid that feeling of 'overwhelmedness' with hundreds (seemingly) of posts to read and process. You are required to be involved with only one of the discussions each week but are welcome to visit and participate in the another if desired. For each weekly discussion you can earn up to 5 pts. for the initial post and up to 5 pts. for two responses to classmates' posts.

What do I mean by a substantive post?

The following are some ideas to set the stage for substantive participation for the development of your critical thinking skills:

  1. Ensure that the posting contributes to the overall discussion thread that is being developed. Your response must contain some reference back to the original discussion question. Stay on track by always referring back to that original discussion question.
  2. Try to use your posting to add value to the discussion. This is more effective than simply responding to meet a requirement.
  3. Check to see that the posting expands on the main theme (in the discussion question, or assignment posting).
  4. Make sure your posting is at least 75-150 words.

Other Ideas for Participation

  • Share a related experience.
  • Comment on others' experiences.
  • Ask students questions about their ideas/experiences.
  • Consider an idea being discussed, and offer a different perspective on it.
  • Describe an interesting idea from the week's reading, and explain what insights you gained from it.
  • Ask the group a question about the week's reading.
  • Disagree (respectfully, of course) with a point that someone else has made.
  • Discuss a related issue on which you would like some feedback.
  • Describe how you have applied the recent course concepts to your personal/professional life.
  • Share another resource you have used as you explored the course topics.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 281 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply flowcharts to a wide range of copyright issues libraries face.
  2. Demonstrate facility with tools to determine copyright status of a work and assess legality of including in digital collections.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of U.S. copyright law, library/archive copyright exceptions (17 U.S.C. Sect. 108), TEACH Act, Fair Use guidelines, and DCMA exceptions.
  4. Make a good faith Fair Use copyright analysis in multiple scenarios.
  5. Exhibit familiarity with the process of seeking permission, particularly through the Copyright Clearance Center.
  6. Evaluate publisher copyright policies, Creative Commons licensing, and self-archiving rules.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of intellectual freedom within that profession.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Crews, K. (2011). Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions, Third Edition. ALA Editions. Available through Amazon: 0838910920. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hirtle, P., Hudson, E. & Keyon, A. (2009). Copyright & Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives & Museums. Cornell University Library. Available through Amazon: 0935995102. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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