Managing Copyright Issues in 2012

12 Copyright Priorities in 2012

Your 2012 challenge-prioritize copyright this year with the following twelve suggestions.

Plan and Budget

1.    Consider your 2012 budget for permissions, licenses, and copyright training.  Consult various people in your organization to gather their needs and preferences.  Prepare a budget and ensure you have the funds and support you require to meet your copyright needs in 2012.

Assess your Copyright Knowledge

2.    Continue your own copyright education.  Do you need a refresher course on copyright?  Or perhaps a course on international copyright, web 2.0 copyright issues, copyright issues for librarians or for authors and publishers?  Register for an in-person or online course.

3.    Brainstorm ideas to get the copyright message to your colleagues.  A new poster in the lunchroom?  A copyright page on your intranet?  How about a weekly lunchtime discussion group on copyright issues? Include senior management, marketing and information professionals, lawyers, and others.

Review Licenses

4.    Check all licenses for electronic content to determine if any expired at the end of 2011.  Were any of these licenses subject to automatic renewal, and still valid in 2012?  Are any licenses now unintentionally lapsed?  Will you need to take any action to notify the vendor/content owner of your intention to renew or not renew a license?

5.    Prepare a database of all content your organization has licensed (see 11 below for content you own.) Whether it’s an image to use in your newsletter, computer software, or an electronic journal subscription, include all content in a single searchable database that allows you to quickly and easily locate that content and determine what rights you have in it.

6.    Do you need permission in 2012?  Generally, the duration of copyright expires at the end of each calendar year.  Determine if any of the works you want to use are in the public domain in 2012.


7.    Develop a written copyright policy. If you do not already have one, first determine why you need one and how you would use it. If you have one, determine whether it is valuable and how you can improve or update it.  Have there been amendments to the Copyright Act?  What about court cases that affect how you use content?  Or does your organization now use digital content in a new way that needs to be addressed consistently throughout your organization?

8.    Do the same copyright questions arise again and again in your organization? Keep track of these questions.  Every time you have six new questions, prepare short written answers; consult a lawyer if necessary. Circulate these Qs & As to your colleagues or post them on an intranet.

Developments and Networking

9.    Consider how to use social networking to follow copyright developments.  Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn groups all provide interesting venues with copyright information as it happens, and a broad network of “copyright” people. Grow your copyright network.

Copyright Symbol and Protection

10. Review how you are protecting your own copyright-protected works from documents to images to podcasts and videos.  Although voluntary in most countries, using the universal copyright symbol, ©, is a reminder that copyright exists in a work.  Including contact information for permissions will direct people to you when they are seeking copyright permissions.

11. Undergo an audit of copyright works that you own. It’s also a great way to find out what IP you own and how to market and better profit from that IP. This is true for individuals and both small and large organizations.

12. Set up a mechanism for monitoring the legal use of your own online content on an international basis. This can be as simple as doing search engine searches, or you could hire a professional who specializes in finding unauthorized uses of content.  Piracy is not only the domain of the software and entertainment industries.  You may find surprises in how your individual or organization’s rights are being exploited and your works used, and perhaps even sold, without your permission.

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