Navigating the Copyright Maze: Yu Li’s Reflection on M7

I feel that I have been putting off learning about copyright, but the infographic PDF in this week’s reading package grabbed my full attention. Its cheerful colors, neat-looking symbols, and many speech bubbles made me feel that this was something I could learn. It must have taken Silvia Rosental Tolisano (the author) so much imagination and energy to plan out and create this graphic presentation on such a complex topic. For what? Just to attract readers? I am amazed, and it certainly worked on me. Well, I digress.

The takeaway for me was to create one’s own as much as possible, and if not, use materials form the public domain, with Creative Commons licensing or within Fair Use allowance. This is why, I think, websites like would be so useful – OERs are usually in the public domain or CC-licensed, am I right? Another tool I found helpful was Google’s Advanced Search feature. Apparently it allows specification of various usage rights such as “free to use, share or modify,” and I did not know that!

On a related note, I’ve discovered that the library has been purchasing more and more new publications in electronic format only. To check it out, we are granted access for 14 days. But, we cannot download or copy/paste any of the material. I wonder how this would impact classroom use of excerpts from scholarly books. In the past, I would request for sections of the book (with the fair-use allowance) to be uploaded to CourseReserve, so that students can download and print as needed. I guess students can access the ebooks the same way we do, so we can bypass CourseReserve, but I can no longer require them to bring a hardcopy to class (I don’t allow computers in the classroom). Well, maybe that’s not the end of the world.

2 thoughts on “Navigating the Copyright Maze: Yu Li’s Reflection on M7

  1. I think you’ve hit on a definite concern, that being what we will do if some students only have ebooks and others have hard copies. How to assign things? Page numbers don’t work any more. I ran into this with some students from China this summer. They had copies of some novels I had assigned, but they were legally downloaded and printed rather than purchased in bound form. It was very hard in class to get everyone on the same page (literally!) when we were discussing passages. BTW, I also think the Washington resource is wonderful. It was fun to explore it.

  2. Yu Li, I second your concern, with Marshall, about having everyone in the same page. The books on the Spanish Comedia (first professional theater from 16th- and 17th-century Spain) are prohibitively expensive, and they always arrive late, because they have to be ordered from Spain. Nightmare. Hence, the Association of Spanish Classical Theater (AHCT) gathered decades ago, and put together a great virtual library. Unfortunately, students download and/or print these documents in different formats, and because not all have pagination or verse numbers, I spend good chunks of time in class helping them ‘locate’ a quote, so we can proceed to comment it.
    Your meditation and question about the long term (wow, two-week long term, even!) for those students who consult the library e-materials legally for 14 days… It’s like ‘materials’ should not apply any longer, since they literally evaporate in such a short time… Wonderful posting, Yu Li!

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