Thursday, 12 September 2013

Activity 3.1 - Copyright case study

Libby is a librarian teaching information literacy skills to undergraduates at a tertiary institution in New Zealand. She is developing a course module about how to identify scholarly resources. The module will be delivered via her institution's Moodle site (see also Moodle NZ). Students registered in the course will have access to the Moodle course.

Libby would like to use the following resources:

Resource 1.  A video tutorial about the differences between popular and scholarly sources that she found on YouTube. The video is published on YouTube by the Georgia State University Library, but it does not display a copyright label or statement.

Question 1. 
Who owns the copyright to the video?

a) YouTube
No [incorrect / Distractor]. YouTube does not own the copyright to works posted on its site, it merely provides a forum for creators/owners of videos to share them. The creator/owner retains the copyright. In this case the Georgia State University is the copyright owner.
b) Georgia State University
Yes [Correct]. As the video was created by staff at the Georgia State University Library the copyright is owned by the university.

Question 2.
Can Libby upload the video into her Moodle course without first asking permission?

a) Yes [Incorrect /Distractor] The Legal Statement of the Georgia State Univeristy states: "Copyright 2005, Georgia State University. All Rights Reserved. No material from this Web site may be copied, reproduced, re-published, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or distributed in any way except that you may download one copy of the materials on any single computer for non-commercial, personal, or educational purposes only, provided that you (1) do not modify such information and (2) include both this notice and any copyright notices originally included with such information." . 
Libby could download a copy of the video onto her own pc for personal use, but uploading it to the Moodle site would constitute uploading and distributing it, which is not allowed.
b) No [Correct] If Libby wants to upload a copy of the video she must first ask permission from Georgia State University.

Resource 2. A handout Libby has created based on a set of criteria for identifying scholarly articles developed by the University of Sydney Library's iResearch information skills for life. The criteria are presented in a unique formula which forms the acronym REVIEW that is easy to recall. Libby wants to use these criteria in her handout but to use other publications that she has found as the examples.

Question 3.
Are the REVIEW criteria themselves covered by copyright?

a) Yes [Correct] The originality and unique expression of these ideas qualifies them to be covered by copyright. The specific criteria used in REVIEW have also been recorded (typed out/saved) which satisfies the requirement under common law countries (which Australia and New Zealand are) for the format to be fixed in order to by covered by copyright.
b) No [Incorrect / Distractor] Although the various criteria for identifying scholarly articles are well known and well discussed (particularly amongst librarians) the creators of REVIEW have come up with an original formula for expressing these ideas. REVIEW is therefore protected under copyright both in terms of originality and in the unique expression of the idea.

Question 4. 
Can Libby use the REVIEW criteria in her handout without asking permission?
a)Yes [Incorrect/Distractor] Because they are the unique expression of an idea the REVIEW criteria are covered by copyright.  All of the University of Sydney's iResearch information skills for life resources have a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia Licence, which states that anyone who wants to use the resources must obtain a license and acknowledge the copyright owners. The rules are clearly set out on their website
b) No [Correct] In this case, all of the University of Sydney's iResearch information skills for life resources have a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia Licencewhich states that anyone who wants to use the resources must obtain a license and acknowledge the copyright owners. The rules are clearly set out on their website

Update 20/09/2013

Resource 1. The video is also posted on the Georgia State University Library's website. I should have mentioned that here, because as Wayne MacIntosh has mentioned, this might make a difference to allowable usage compared to taking the video directly from YouTube. 

I have also now registered this post with a CC-BY license.

Update 8/10/13

Question 4. I've gone back over this question several times now, wondering whether the answers should reversed. However, I'll stick with my original answer that "No, can't use this without permission". Why? Because of the wording on U Sydney's website. Although they have given the work a CC BY-NC-SA license (in theory meaning: you can use this without permission so long as you assign it the same license and don't make commercial use of it), the wording on their copyright page specifically says that you have to send them a request if you want to obtain a license. The instruction contradicts the license. So, on balance, I would say it was safest to ask their permission before using the work. If using this for a real exercise I suggest changing the wording of my original b) No [Correct] answer to reflect this.

Creative Commons License
This blog post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Wow -- Great ideas in these questions, and you tackled a complex example. Regarding Youtube -- check there terms of use, which does permit embedded video using Youtube's embeddable player, see: so you may want to build in the difference between uploading versus embedding. The download issues are also complex because there are 3rd party "unapproved" downloaders which do not authorise personal use. You may need to tweak a little here. On question 4 - the use of a CC-BY-NC-SA license would permit reuse without permission (by virtue of the license.) It is correct that the resources in this example are protected by Copyright -- but the licensing complicates the MCQ ;-). I'm impressed with your first attempt. Would you consider using a CC-BY or CC-BY-SA license for your own work on these questions. We're keen to reuse your efforts (with attribution) for future courses.

  2. Thanks Wayne. I thought if it was worth doing it was worth using some examples that I might realistically come across.
    I'll have to look into youtube's embbeddable player (I'm quite new to all this. I haven't tried embedding before. I forgot it was even a possibility to be honest).
    I'd be happy to give this a CC license - once I've caught up on the next part of the course to find out how it all works ;-) and so long as I'm not breaching anyone else's license.

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  4. #OCL4Ed

    Hi Fiona,

    Your Activity 3.1 shows a high level of diligence and vigilance that takes nothing for granted and double-checks everything.

    While doing this course, I have concluded that you must never assume anything, and make sure you have ascertained the facts of every case. Creative Commons licenses, particularly Attribution - Share Alike (CC BY-SA) are associated with generous copyright permissions, but they are never an unlimited license to anything and everything.