Monday, December 14, 2009

New Course on Copyright for Authors, Publishers, Owners?

I am considering developing a new course on copyright law for those who create, publish and distribute content. Some of the issues in this course include:

- how do I protect my work?
- do I need to use a copyright symbol?
- how long does copyright last?
- do I need to register my work?
- how do I get permission to use content of others' in my work?
- are there any free uses of content?
- what are the rules regarding adaptations of works?
- how do I make money from my work by licensing/assigning it to others?
- what are the rules of ownership if I am employed or jointly create a work?
- how do I avoid infringing copyright when creating my own work?
- are there special rules relating to digital works?
- what do I need to know about international copyright law?
- how do I deal with infringers of my work?

What else should be part of this course? Please post a COMMENT below with your thoughts. Thanks.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2010 Scheduling of In-Person Courses

In 2009, I taught a number of professional development courses on copyright and licensing to a variety of audiences (from librarians to government workers to photographers) in a variety of cities, including Annapolis (MD), College Station (TX), Lansdowne (VA), Toronto (Ontario), Washington (DC), and Copenhagen (Denmark).

If you would like to schedule an in-person course, or online course specifically for your organization, email me at:
contact at copyrightlaws dot com.

Possible topics for courses, seminars and workshops are:
Copyright Compliance
Managing Copyright Issues
Licensing Electronic Resources
Digital Copyright Issues
Digital Content Management
Developing A Copyright Policy
Educating Others in your Organization about Copyright & Licensing Issues
Primers (for example on U.S., Canadian and international copyright law)
Or let me know what topics you would like covered in your seminar...

Look forward to hearing from you.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2010 Offering of Copyright Law for Canadian Librarians

Copyright Law for Canadian Librarians (“CLCL”), an advanced online course with 6 e-lessons, a discussion blog, and specific case studies relevant to day to day copyright situations in Canadian libraries, will be offered from January 18 to February 12, 2010.

Course developed by Lesley Ellen Harris and offered through Register at


1. How Copyright Law Affects Librarians

2. A Librarian’s Primer on Canadian Copyright Law

3. Library Provisions in the Canadian Copyright Act

4. Digital Copyright Issues and Libraries

5. Permissions and License Agreements

6. Steps to Copyright Compliance

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Test your copyright knowledge: Copyright Quiz 2.0

Copyright Quiz 2.0

Test your knowledge on international copyright principles.

True or False?

1. Copyright law is the same throughout the world. T F

2. The leading copyright convention is the Berne Convention. T F

3. All countries have the same copyright duration: life + 50 or fifty years after the author’s death. T F

4. If you have permission to reproduce an image in one country, you may not reproduce the image in a different country. T F

5. Once you have copyright protection in Canada or the U.S. you automatically have protection in most countries around the world. T F

6. There is an international copyright registry where anyone may file an application for worldwide copyright protection. T F

7. A license for the use of digital content must be subject to the laws of your own country to be valid. T F

8. The way that international copyright law works is that you apply the copyright law of your own country i.e., the law of the country where the work is being copied. T F

9. All countries protect the reputation of an author of a copyright-protected work in perpetuity in terms of the author being able to claim authorship and prevent modifications of his work that may be prejudicial to his honor or reputation. T F

10. Digital copyright issues are treated in a universal manner subject to a single copyright treaty, whereas analogue copyright issues are dealt with on a country-by-country basis. T F

Answers are below.

If you would like to discuss any of the answers, please post a comment below.


This quiz was created May 5, 2009.

 2009

Answers: 1F, 2T, 3F, 4T, 5T, 6F, 7F, 8T, 9F, 10F

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Annapolis Talk April 20 2009

For those in DC and Maryland, please join me on an informal copyright presentation I am giving on April 20 2009 at 7 pm at Maryland Hall in Annapolis. No fee. The talk is geared towards the Annapolis Digital Photography Club.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Test your copyright knowledge: Copyright Quiz 1.0

Copyright Quiz 1.0

The purpose of this quiz is to test your knowledge on general copyright principles. Answers are at the bottom of this posting.

True or False?

T F 1. Copyright law protects ideas.

T F 2. Copyright law protects all titles of books and movies.

T F 3. Content on blogs and websites are in the public domain.

T F 4. You need permission to summarize the ideas in a newspaper article.

T F 5. Copyright is automatic upon the creation and fixation of a work.

T F 6. Copyright law is part of a larger area of law called intellectual property.

T F 7. If there is no  symbol on a work, then it is not protected by copyright.

T F 8. Copyright registration is not mandatory for securing copyright in a work.

T F 9. All permissions to use a copyright-protected work must be in writing.

T F 10. When you purchase a painting, you own the physical painting however you do not own the copyright in the painting.

If you would like to discuss any of the answers, please post a comment below.


This quiz was created March 31, 2009.

 2009

Answers: 1F, 2F, 3F, 4F, 5T, 6T, 7F, 8T, 9F, 10T

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Digital Content Management online course syllabus

Digital Content Management (“DCM”)
Advanced Course

1. Understanding digital content
Copyright Law
2. The interplay between copyright law and digital content
3. Specific digital copyright Issues
4. The relevancy of international copyright law
5. Technology and licensed content
Licensing Issues
6. What are digital rights or electronic rights?
7. How to license digital content
8. Learning to negotiate licenses
9. Licensing content: specific clauses
10. Licensing content: standard clauses
11. Developing a written licensing strategy policy
Legally Using Licensed Content
12. Monitoring legal and illegal uses of licensed digital content
13. What to do if you are accused of infringing copyright
14. How to avoid copyright infringements by your enterprise and end users
Advanced Management Issues
15. Organizing your digital content
16. Planning for the future of digital content

Course includes a discussion blog moderated by Lesley Ellen Harris,
Next offering: April 20 - May 22, 2009
Register at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Copyright Policy is an Excellent Educational Tool

Developing a Copyright Compliance Policy

A copyright policy can serve a variety of functions, from determining who owns works created during employment, to explaining your licenses, to establishing a procedure for clearing permissions in copyright-protected works. Generally speaking, a copyright policy is a summary of copyright management procedures for your organization. Depending on the contents of the policy, it can also be an educational tool and serve as reference material on copyright issues relevant to your organization. Another purpose of a copyright policy is to provide a single, consistent approach to copyright issues.

Although it may initially be read cover to cover, a copyright policy is more likely to be consulted on an as-needed basis, so a strong index and/or search tool is recommended to ensure its effectiveness. A policy should always be “live” and be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect changes in copyright law, technology, organizational policies, and the way in which you use copyright-protected materials in your organization.

Write your policy using plain, straightforward language, not “legalese.” Keep in mind that this is a document for management, staff and librarians in your organization, not for your lawyers. If a lawyer prepares your policy, make sure those who will use it can understand it. If a non-lawyer prepares it, ask a lawyer to review it for accuracy.

Getting Started

Copyright policies exist in a variety of forms, styles and lengths, and writing one may seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? First, read copyright policies from other organizations. Next, prepare an outline of the important issues. Gather all those in your organization who deal with copyright issues, whether it’s permissions, protection, digital licenses or other matters, and obtain their input. Then, pick a section and start writing. Be patient—copyright policies are not created overnight, and writing one may take many hours of hard (and perhaps frustrating) work.

Before you begin writing your policy, think of the different headings that may be relevant to your organization. Headings for a policy may include the following:
• Purpose of this policy
• A primer on U.S. copyright law and international copyright law
• Permissions procedure
• Protecting copyright-protected works created in your enterprise
• Questions and answers about copyright (see
• Updating your policy: Timing and procedure
• Reference section
• Internal contacts for copyright matters