Book review: Copyright and E-Learning

When this Kat received an invitation to review a new book on Copyright and E-learning, she knew just the person to review it - Goldsmith librarian Andrew Grey.  Andrew has provided a user's perspective on this second edition:

“from the very first page I was gripped!”
“if you have tears…prepare to shed them now!”

None of these quotes are what you would expect for a book about copyright, and I’m not gonna lie, they are probably not what I would use. But in reviewing “Copyright and E-Learning,” I read a whole book on copyright. It’s often been said that changes to copyright are glacial; yet somehow in the last few years that pace has changed.  The pace of our digital world is certainly galloping ahead and, between the time I was asked to review this book and time I sent it in (first term is always a killer), the world of copyright and digital will have changed again.

Straight through the post comes the 2nd and updated edition (1st edition was in fact reviewed by a library colleague) of Copyright and E-Learning by the Sonny & Cher of Info-Literacy & Copyright, Jane Secker and Chris Morrison. Its arrival quickly stirred me onto update those ‘bloody copyright pages’ on our University website (check back in a month).

As hinted in my intro I, and I expect many, use copyright books when needed. When that awkward question arrives in my inbox, or in person in the office, I hope for a clear contents listing and comprehensive index. Thank you Jane & Chris! Yet this time I read from cover to cover. Yes, I flipped back and forth, consulted index and contents at work, at home, on bus and even in the pub. The book clearly lays out approaches to copyright in the e-learning realm, covering the interlocking pieces of our digitally connected but sometimes fraught world.

In a series of chapters, Jane & Chris explain key points and the background to topics including:
use of digital media (it keeps growing)
born digital (*screams loudly*)
social media (I still laugh at MOOC acronym)
digitisation and scanning (academics love us doing this)
licensing (CC still confuses people)
lecture capture (bit scared)
and, thankfully for me, copyright education and training (it never stops).

While primarily UK focused, the book also includes a brief overview of copyright in other English speaking countries and relevant case studies. I confess I didn’t think I would find the case studies from other countries useful, but they illustrate that everyone is grappling to ‘challenge the notion that copyright exists outside of the control of society.’ And oh how my colleagues would love not to annually collect and report to the CLA, as do our Australian colleagues to their CLA counterpart! Just imagine - we could concentrate on education/training instead of collating, reviewing, groaning, sweating and reporting. Case studies provide an opportunity to peek over the fence. Here the book includes different approaches to copyright education in Further Education, course reading lists, MOOCs (just laughed), electronic reserves, digitisation for reading lists, trials of being a copyright officer (!) and the Copyright Card Game! (I’ve done it and delivered it and it actually works.)

Apart from the main copyright and e-learning theme of the book, the book has a second theme on collaboration.  The book highlights just how important institutions such as JISC (yep) and other educational bodies have been in fostering copyright education and solutions against a background of increasing education-funding cuts and pushbacks from copyright holders.

While I provide copyright guidance at my institution, it is only one small part of my job, as I expect it is for many others. Simple copyright facts and information to gather up and distribute are incredibly useful. The book’s guidelines, tips and tables very much suit my needs. I will be photocopying and putting on my wall, and staff office wall, the table of educational exceptions in CPDA 29. Jane & Chris have done a great job in pulling together a lot of information covering a range of practical issues, and managed to pitch it at both those with some knowledge, and those without, and position it within a valuable dialogue of competing views on how content should be respected and be useful.

“The beat goes on, the beat goes on”

Copyright and E-learning, 2nd edition: A guide for practitioners by Jane Secker with Chris Morrison, Facet Publishing. IBSN 9781783300600 is available here for £49.95 (additional discount for CILIP members.) Rupture factor: Low, 304 pages.
Book review: Copyright and E-Learning Book review: Copyright and E-Learning Reviewed by Nicola Searle on Friday, December 02, 2016 Rating: 5

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