The Instruction and Outreach Department manages and coordinates library research instruction for students, faculty and staff through course-related workshops, outreach activities, personal consultations, research guides and other instructional materials.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Working with faculty who teach with media

We are so fortunate to have Kevin Smith as our colleague here at Duke.  Kevin is the Scholarly Communications Officer in the Libraries, and as a librarian and lawyer he is well placed to help librarians, faculty and students navigate the tricky intellectual property terrain.  His blog is a must-read for those in academia who produce and use scholarly information.

At our jam-packed library instruction retreat in May, Kevin was only able to give a short overview of using media for teaching and student assignments.  Last week he gave us a more in depth look at using media, and was able to tell us about how the landscape has changed between May and August with the new DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) exemption.

Kevin helped us understand the difference between “consumptive use” which is essentially making a copy; and “transformative use” that creates something new.  The heart of his message is these tips about using media for student presentations:
  • Copyrighted music/film should be incorporated into a new work   
  • Use no more than is necessary to make the point.   
  • Have a point – the film or music should support the theme of the new work
When looking for music to serve only as a background, and not to make a particular point, Kevin suggested using the "Find" function within the Creative Commons database for CC licensed music.

The DMCA exemption that has caused some excitement allows circumvention, which is decryption of movie DVDs that use CSS encryption.  Decryption by faculty, and by extension students in those courses, is allowed in order to support what Kevin feels are the kinds of activities likely to be considered transformative fair use by the courts. 

At the beginning of his presentation, Kevin noted that while he was listening to our faculty panel at the instruction retreat, he was surprised at how confused faculty seemed to be about giving students new media assignments, because they didn’t feel confident about fair use rights.  After hearing his talk last week, we librarians now have better information to share with faculty and students as they explore digital literacies.

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