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Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY), together with Kognito Solutions, has recently released the Interactive Guide to Using Copyrighted Media in Your Courses. This online tutorial helps college and university faculty determine the appropriate guidelines to follow when using different types of copyrighted media in their courses.

While US copyright law has traditionally allowed for “fair use” for teachers who display and perform copyrighted media during face-to-face teaching, copyright compliancy has become an increasingly complex legal issue as media are increasingly delivered to students online.

Structured as a subway map, the interactive guide asks teachers a series of questions about the nature of the copyrighted works they want to use and how they plan to use them. As each question is answered, users progress through the virtual subway system, learning important copyright rules that apply to their specific situations. At the “final stop,” a list of guidelines for using the copyrighted media is provided.

John Dugan, legal counsel for Baruch College, said, “This guide is a valuable tool that enables faculty to obtain useful, practical advice on copyright issues they may face without confronting the daunting complexities of the copyright law itself.” Baruch’s assistant vice president for technology, Arthur Downing, who initiated the project, said, “We are responding to the needs of academic institutions for a tool that will help and encourage faculty to use media in their courses. This is especially crucial since higher education is increasingly utilizing technology and online delivery components to augment classroom interaction.”

Downing also noted that, while the new learning resource is based on Baruch College and CUNY copyright guidelines, these guidelines are common to many academic institutions and thus applicable for universities across the nation. He further emphasized the need to “continuously enhance this resource with the help of the educational community.”

Other Copyright Resources

Last summer, CAA launched Intellectual Property and the Arts, its own resource for copyright, digital, and intellectual-property issues related to the visual arts. In addition, Information and Library Services at the University of Maryland University College hosts a webpage with a broad range of information on legally using copyrighted materials in classes and on the internet; this information is especially useful for beginners. Reed College also maintains a simpler webpage on using copyrighted materials in academia, with helpful links to information gathered by other schools and organizations.