College of Liberal Arts

Considering Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Creative Commons

With the advent of Content Management Systems (CMS) and increasing social networking opportunities, content contributors across campus who post material on web sites would be wise to review the risks, benefits, and best practices of collecting, composing, and posting text and multimedia on the World Wide Web.

Georgia K. Harper

Georgia K. Harper, Scholarly Communications Advisor for The University Libraries.
Photo credit: Stephen Oliveras

Faculty, staff, and students frequently wonder how they can be sure that they are legally allowed to post certain materials to the Web. For professional assistance on this often complicated issue, we turned to Georgia K. Harper, the Scholarly Communications Advisor for The University Libraries and one of the nation’s leading experts in copyright law. Harper created an excellent online guide on this subject called the Copyright Crash Course.

Ms. Harper strongly advocates the use of Creative Commons licenses to share materials legally online. When posting on the web, the appropriate use of photographic images, audio files, and video images often poses the greatest challenge for content contributors. The Creative Commons searches now available on Google, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons and other sources provide faculty, staff, and students with a rich variety of free and legal digital media content to flesh out their web sites.  The Creative Commons Search hub offers a convenient way to track down images, web sites, video, music, and other media that have been released under one of the many Creative Commons licenses.

But even with this handy resource, there are many considerations that web contributors should take into account before using shared digital assets in the content that they post. To help you navigate these decisions, LAITS has developed a copyright resources page, which features information, links and a video clip of the full lecture Ms. Harper delivered in the 2009 Summer Faculty Workshop produced by the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Fine Arts. We thank Ms. Harper for her excellent presentation, which is itself licensed for sharing under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States license.

by Emily Cicchini