Defining the Purpose of Your Copyright Policy or Guidelines
More and more organizations are drafting and implementing copyright compliance policies and guidelines. This is not a simple task and involves various components that build upon one another. At the beginning of the process, it is vital to spend much time contemplating why you are even creating these compliance policies or guidelines so that you can concentrate on what is important in your written document. Is it because your compliance department told you to? Or perhaps a recent lawsuit has got you thinking a policy or guidelines would help you avoid a similar lawsuit? Are you creating this written document as material for a seminar on copyright or licensing that you will be giving to staff?
Here are examples of wording I have used when preparing policies/guidelines for copyright compliance:
The purpose of this Policy is to provide a summary of U.S. Copyright Law particularly as it relates to electronic courses. This Policy is necessary because copyright laws are not always straight forward and because the application of copyright laws can be frustrating.
The purpose of this Policy is to provide the Board and employees of the Lennox Public Library with a summary of Canadian copyright law as it relates to internal and patron copying of non-digital (e.g., print) and digital materials.
The purpose of these Copyright Guidelines is to provide general information on how global copyright law works and to provide answers (through FAQs) to simpler scenarios so that employees have a consistent approach to deal with copyright issues.
What is the Purpose of Your Copyright Policy or Guidelines?
Take the time during the initial stages of the drafting of your policy or guidelines to think through the purpose of this important written document. Write down the purpose as you go through the development of the policy or guidelines, and revisit the purpose many times throughout the various stages of creating your document to ensure that you have remained true to that purpose.
What is the purpose of your copyright compliance policy or guidelines? Share the purpose as a comment below.