Walking the Textbook Tightrope: How Might Copyright Specialists Help?

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Author: Graham, Rumi
The problem of illegal sharing of copyrighted textbooks is well-known, but effective ways to address it today are less clear. For some, the solution is simple: promote and invest in open educational resources (OERs). While the idea of high-quality, relevant, widely available, trusted, and widely-adopted OER textbooks is easy to support, even the most enthusiastic proponents would likely concede that converting this worthy aspiration to reality will take considerable time, effort and resources. Assuming that we do what we can to support the development and use of OERs, in the meantime, how might copyright specialists help those who still find themselves on the traditional-textbook tightrope?In this presentation, I look at some textbook-related issues that prompted me to explore the extent of online sharing of textbooks and to think about the tightrope situation from multiple perspectives, including students, instructors, rights holders, and copyright specialists. I am interested in discussing issues such as the following: Do our institutional policies clearly articulate the requirement that students conduct themselves in accordance with all relevant laws, including the Copyright Act? How might copyright specialists assist in better aligning the sometimes competing interests of the users and owners of copyrighted textbook content?Rumi Graham is the University Copyright Advisor & Graduate Studies Librarian at the University of Lethbridge.
Presented at the ABC Copyright Conference, held May 31-June 1, 2018, at Harbour Centre, Vancouver.
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