How to Ensure Copyright Compliance in 2015
Now that 2015 is well underway, it’s a great time to evaluate copyright compliance in your organization! Both individuals and organizations need to review copyright and ensure legal and practical solutions. With that in mind, begin with these 8 steps to copyright compliance.
Copyright Duration: The end of the calendar year is also the beginning of the expiration of copyright for many works. What books, images and other works that you use entered the public domain on 1 January 2015? Check to see whether you’re still trying to obtain permission for (or perhaps avoid the use of) content that is now freely available.
Licenses: When did you last check your copyright permissions and licensing agreements? Are there any permissions and licenses that have expired or are expiring? Also ask yourself: Do you still use this content and need to renew (or not) your license? Is there any action required to notify authors/owners of your intent to allow the license to expire?
Intellectual Property (IP) Audit: Now is a great time to audit your IP to determine whether your use of others’ IP is legal. It’s also a great time to inventory your own IP – what do you own and how can you exploit it and benefit from your own IP?
Fair Use Checklist: Fair use is a much-misunderstood topic, perhaps because it is not well-defined. This topic arises frequently in many contexts. Develop a checklist for use by your organization in evaluating fair use to ensure consistent.
Compliance Education: Know what your organization’s policy is, and share it! Develop FAQ sheets with copyright questions and simple, clear guidance or hold periodic lunch meetings or information sessions where you can invite and encourage discussion. Include lawyers or speakers, and keep it diverse to spur interest and retain attention on this important topic.
Trusted Resources: Create a list of resources – websites, books, articles – your organization can rely on, to consult when new questions arise. Ensure that someone in your organization keeps this list current.
Contracts and Copyright: Review ownership in any works consultants create for you or which you create with a partner. Do you have a clear written agreement? What does this agreement say? What are the rights each of you posses in the IP?
Monitoring: Do you publish content? Protect your interests by setting up a monitoring system for legal use of your content by others. Use search engines, watermarks, and perhaps a monitoring service.
Copyright is evolving: as digital access offers new opportunities for sharing content, it also increases exposure to potential infringement. However, the basic principles of managing and monitoring copyright still stand, and undertaking periodic review is a good way to ensure that your organization remains complaint.
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