For immediate release | June 24, 2016

Becoming the Copyright Specialist in Your Library eCourse

Chicago—ALA Editions announces a new iteration of our popular eCourse, Becoming the Copyright Specialist in Your Library. Lesley Ellen Harris will serve as the instructor for a 4-week facilitated eCourse starting on August 22, 2016.

Learning Outcomes

After participating in this eCourse, you will be able to:

  • Understand what being the go-to copyright specialist means in your institution
  • Evaluate the copyright issues in your institution
  • Set priorities for your library when it comes to copyright and licensing issues
  • Identify helpful resources on copyright law and licensing

Lesley Ellen Harris will help you become the copyright specialist at your institution. Educators, librarians, archivists, and other information professionals are often required to understand international copyright treaties and foreign copyright laws as well as the copyright laws in their own country—at least on a practical level. In this course, Harris will provide you with the knowledge you need to complete daily activities within the confines of copyright law.

The role of the librarian as all-purpose copyright specialist is becoming increasingly important, and in this course, you will learn what makes a great one. You will also examine and evaluate the opportunities and challenges of being the go-to copyright specialist.

eCourse outline

WHY the (sudden) interest in copyright?

Has there been an actual 'incident' breach/infringement?

Is it (just) heightened concern for protecting the institution?

  • Due to media coverage of court cases
  • Understanding high profile cases like the Google Book Project
  • Someone in administration attended a conference/webinar and heard about 'risks'
  • Concern about protecting the original creative works produced by the institution and perhaps looking for ways to make some money from our own IP or at least profit reputation-wise for producing it?
  • New digital projects (e.g., library digitization project) and confusion about how copyright applies in the digital world
  • The 'buzz' on the street that each individual person/employee could be liable for copyright infringement in their own library or workplace

WHO is interested in copyright? (And how much do they know about copyright?)

Upper Management

Middle Management

To whom will this position report?

Will people listen to me when it comes to copyright? How do I get enterprise-wide support for being that copyright specialist?

WHAT does being the 'Go-To Copyright Specialist' mean?

What are the responsibilities/expectations?

What are the copyright issues in the institution?

What type of institution? (Nonprofit educational, public/private, for profit educational, commercial, domestic or international, etc.)

  • Implement existing policies - or
  • Create a copyright policy - or
  • Establish 'Best Practices' - or
  • Create a Risk Management policy (determine level of comfort with 'risk')
  • Educate staff
  • Negotiate/educate/enforce license terms? (minimally: Access to license terms)
  • Seek 'permissions' (Is there a budget?)
  • Do 'Fair Use' analyses on behalf of the institution
  • DMCA contact
  • Title/Authority/Support
  • Impact on existing duties/responsibilities (schedule/salary?)

WHAT resources/budget are available?

  • Training (books, newsletters, media, etc., workshops/conferences)
  • 'Permissions' (if part of the job)
  • Additional staff/consultant
  • Administrative support
  • Committee members
  • Other staff in the institution: IP attorney, contract attorney, DMCA contact, other?

About the Instructor

Lesley Ellen Harris is a copyright, licensing, and digital property lawyer who consults on legal, business, policy, and strategic issues in the publishing, entertainment, Internet, and information industries. She frequently works with libraries, archives, museums, and educational institutions. She teaches in-person and online courses on copyright and licensing through in conjunction with national and regional associations in Canada and the United States. Harris is the author of numerous articles and several books including Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians (2nd ed., 2009). Since 1997, she has been the editor of The Copyright and New Media Law Newsletter. She maintains the website and the blog Copyright Questions & Answers.

Registration for this ALA Editions facilitated eCourse, which begins on August 22, 2016, can be purchased at the ALA Store. Participants in this course will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message board participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (MP3 files), and downloading and viewing PDF and PowerPoint files.

ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness, and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide.

Related Links

Course Registration Purchase Page


Colton Ursiny

Administrative Assistant

ALA Publishing