Copyright Law for Archivists: A Risk Assessment Approach

Certificate Eligibility: 
10 ARC, 1.5 CEU
2 days
Max Attendees: 

COPYRIGHT! Does the very word send you running for cover?  Afraid you’ll crash on its rocky shoals? Undoubtedly, its many rules can seem onerous, but like death and taxes, copyright is unavoidable for archivists. So, what’s an archivist to do when even a moderate adherence to copyright’s provisions seem to inhibit such basic archival work as preservation, reference service, and digitization for public access? Are you afraid that a wrong decision might land your repository in court? How can you help an institution back you up if that happens?

This two-day workshop combines a detailed look at copyright basics with a risk-management approach for archivists to use in assessing their own collections and institutional circumstances. The instructor will help demystify the law and show where there’s room to maneuver by explaining the law’s interrelated facets The workshop will lead attendees in reading core parts of the law and in applying basic tools to address archives-specific issues. Attendees will learn what existing exceptions and limitations are available for archival administration and use. The workshop’s goal is to enable archivists to fulfill their fundamental purpose—achieving as wide a use as possible of their collections.

Learning Outcomes: 
Be comfortable when you need to read the copyright law or review the Copyright Office’s publications and issuances.
Recognize the complex intellectual property issues relating to authors’, owners’, and users’ rights.
Be grounded in the historical rationale for copyright law, as evolved through major legislative and judicial developments.
Understand the relevance of U.S. federal law to archives and manuscript collections.
Examine the current law including recent court cases, especially those raising new questions about how much we can rely on fair use.
Determine the sequence of decision-making steps needed to manage copyright issues and risks.
Who Should Attend: 


Archivists and other professionals who have copyright concerns. Participants are invited to submit repository-specific questions related to copyright, for special attention, up to two weeks prior to the workshop start date.


What You Should Already Know: 


Patience to read and decipher complex legal text. General understanding or experience in archival reference service methods, acquisition, and processing practices. Experience with modern archives or manuscript collections.


"I learned so many things in this workshop! All my questions were answered very well. I feel I am returning to work with so much more knowledge." — Miranda Burton
"Excellent workshop! He does a wonderful job of clarifying a complex topic and making it a pleasant learning experience. Very positive approach and excellent presentation style. I feel much more able to address copyright issues as a result of this workshop." — Lisa Thompson
"This sounds like a late night infomercial but really—I never thought copyright law could be interesting! Complex, frustrating, scary, yes, but so well presented and explained in this class. I've sat through numerous workshops and webinars on the topic, but this is the first time I've felt like I understand well enough to make a difference in my work."
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