Copyright Law Guest Post: On Becoming a Copyright Specialist

Welcome Kathryn – our first guest author on!

A couple of years ago, my copyright awareness turned into panic.

At that time my job was to help professors at my Canadian university develop courses and put them online. The courses included content from their own and others’ intellectual property. Then the university cancelled its license with the copyright collective, Access Copyright, and the government announced pending changes to the Canadian Copyright Act. In this copyright vacuum, I was left wondering how I was going to do my job and help others do theirs.

Certificate in Copyright Management

Kathryn Denise Blair shares her thoughts on becoming a Copyright Specialist

Certificate in Copyright Management (CCM)

I decided to find out just how little I knew. A friend forwarded me an email from Special Libraries Association (SLA) about the Certificate in Copyright Management and I enrolled in the next available course: CCM 300, Global Copyright Essentials. It was an excellent introduction to global issues, taught through reading, discussing assigned questions and classmates’ questions on the listserv, and participating in the weekly webinars. The other eight courses in the program were just as current and relevant. The variety of classmates’ backgrounds led to a variety of perspectives and lively discussion. One of these discussions gave me an idea for a topic to present to my colleagues at the university: How Can Stock Photo Companies License Work That Is in the Public Domain? As I lacked teaching experience, I appreciated the opportunity to get feedback on this presentation during one of the two in-person courses of the Certificate in Copyright Management program, held that year in San Diego.

Copyright Specialist Job

With the background CCM gave me and the network of copyright friends I made, I began advising on the application of copyright law and developing strategies, policies, processes, services, communications, instructions, infrastructure, and relationships that support those associated with my office and that protect the legal interests of the university community. The office recently decided to create a permanent, dedicated, copyright management position. The Copyright Specialist job description was written and posted and I became the first person to fill that role.

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