Leading Voices in Higher Education: Brandon Butler
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 4pm in Haldeman 41
"MOOCs and the Copyright Challenge: Fair Use in the Balance"
Everyone is talking about how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are disrupting settled ideas about higher education. MOOCs have the potential to impact the fair use rights of educators and students. Policy choices we make now could have profound effects on those rights.
For over a century, the fair use doctrine has been an essential tool for teaching and learning. Its flexible allowance of unlicensed use of copyrighted works "for purposes such as criticism, commentary, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research" creates a safe space for teaching by blocking private censorship and leapfrogging market failure. From the Xerox machine to the search engine, fair use has grown and shifted to accommodate new technologies and new cultural practices. The doctrine's flexibility is also a kind of fragility, however: judges are influenced by community practices around fair use, and bad practice can make bad law. It is vital, therefore, that participants in the evolving practice of MOOC teaching are prepared to assert the strongest possible claims of fair use.
BRANDON BUTLER is the Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), a group of 126 major academic and research libraries in North America; the Dartmouth College Library is a member of ARL. His responsibilities there include analysis and advocacy regarding copyright, privacy and surveillance, free expression, and telecommunications. He also writes the ARL Policy Notes blog, http://policynotes.arl.org, and the @ARLpolicy twitter account. He earned BA's in English and philosophy from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Before working at ARL, he was an Associate in the Media and Information Technologies practice at the law firm Dow Lohnes PLLC in Washington, D.C.