French Universities say goodbye to Springer

It looks like a national consortium of French academic institutions, Couperin.org, has decided to cancel their subscriptions to Springer Journals. They had been in negotiations with Springer for over a year, but were unable to come to an agreement on price. Couperin.org was advocating for a subscription price reduction due to the volume of APCs being paid by French authors. Springer had put forward a price increase. Access was supposed to be cut off on April 1st, but Springer has decided to keep access on while they continue to move discussions forward. You may remember that a similar event happened with German universities and Elsevier.

An English translation of the announcement is here (you may have to click on the UK flag). You can also find information about this through a short news item from The Scientist.

Funding for open textbooks

The omnibus bill that passed both the House & Senate last week and was signed into law included a $5 million provision for an open textbook grant program. This money will be awarded to higher education institutions as part of a competitive grant process. The call for proposals will likely go out soon as the funds for the awards need to be allocated by September 30th. SPARC has a useful page for finding out more information about this exciting news.

This funding was the result of many years of effort from SPARC, U.S. PIRG, and many others. Thank you to them for their efforts on everyone’s behalf.

OK Go and OER

If you’ve enjoyed the very creative OK Go videos, you’ll probably love this new resource they’ve put together in cooperation with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas: The OK Go Sandbox. The sandbox is designed to walk educators through the thought processes behind the OK Go videos and provide resources for incorporating some of those techniques in the classroom. From Damian Kulash:

“We want to give teachers whatever tools they need to connect the joy, wonder, and fun in our videos to the underlying concepts that their students are learning.”

The materials have a CC-BY-NC license so they are available for educators to remix and reuse. This is such a cool example of how learning can be fun and entertaining.

“Yes, We’re Celebrating Open Education!” Exhibit

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In recognition of Open Education week (March 5-9), the Libraries have created a display to highlight the value of open educational resources at a time when the cost of a college education is at a premium.
“Yes, We’re Celebrating Open Education!” will be hosted at the Scholars Commons in the Perry-Castañeda Library, on view throughout the entire month of March.
Since 1977, the cost of required materials such as textbooks has increased over 1000%, more than 3 time the rate of inflation, and the average student cost of textbooks is $900 a year.
The Open Education movement seeks to reduce or eliminate escalating costs by providing access to free, quality educational materials, so that students and educators can focus on teaching and learning instead of financial impediments.
The exhibit intends to increase awareness about Open Education, Open Educational Resources and how these resources can be adopted and used in our modern and ever-changing educational system.

Fair Use Wrap Up

Thank you for celebrating Fair Use Week 2018 with us! I hope you’ve found the resources we’ve shared to be helpful, and I hope you’ve had an opportunity to check out the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #fairuseweek.

I want to share a few more helpful resources that have bubbled up this week.

Finally, if you are affiliated with UT Austin, you can always request a fair use workshop for your class or your research group. These workshops are usually 30-45 minutes and can be customized to fit your specific use case. To schedule a workshop, please use the Email Me option on the Copyright Crash Course.

Evaluating Fair Use

Fair Use Week day four!

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed some of the fair use resources we’ve shared this week. If you are ready to look at a specific use to determine if it would be considered fair, there are lots of resources available to help you walk through that process.

The Fair Use Evaluator is really great if you are new to doing fair use evaluations. This tool will provide education about fair use along with a walk through of the four factors in a fair use evaluation. The Fair Use Evaluator also offers the option of publishing a time-stamped PDF of your evaluation. This could be really useful if you ever had a copyright owner question your use.

I also really like the Fair Use Checklist developed at Columbia University by Kenneth Crews and Dwayne Buttler. The checklist is great if you’ve done fair use evaluations before but want a reminder about the different issues you need to consider.

Finally, I’ll point you to our own fair use resource – the four factor test. This test was developed by Georgia Harper and is another example of a tool that is good to use if you feel relatively comfortable with fair use, but need to be reminded of all the issues to consider.

Just remember, a fair use evaluation isn’t about getting to a yes or no answer; it’s a risk evaluation. Reasonable people may disagree about whether to move forward with a particular use based on their level of comfort with risk. Some folks have no tolerance for risk and others are comfortable with high levels of risk. The important thing is to be honest in your evaluation and feel comfortable in explaining your decision to someone else.

Fair Use Best Practices

It’s Fair Use Week day three and here’s another resource for your consideration.

One of my favorite fair use resources is the Center for Media & Social Impact’s collection of Codes of Best Practices.

These codes of best practice provide information about the scope of fair use in different disciplines. The codes are informed by research into professional practices (usually interviews with practitioners) and are reviewed by legal experts. The codes are designed to give users a good sense of the regular practice in their field and give them more confidence in making decisions about fair use. The codes are not exhaustive, they don’t tell you the limits of fair use, and they are not legal advice.

I appreciate the codes’ approachable language, heavy use of examples, and references for further study. This is one of the first places I check when considering fair use in unfamiliar disciplines. I hope you find them as helpful as I have.

Fair Use for Nonfiction Authors

The Authors Alliance has created a resource to help nonfiction writers get a better sense of what fair use is and how it can be used. Fair Use for Nonfiction Authors presents common scenarios that a writer may encounter.

They’ve split the book up into sections based on situations regularly faced by nonfiction writers, like:

  • Criticizing, discussing, or commenting on copyrighted material
  • Using copyrighted material to illustrate, support, or prove an argument or a point
  • Using copyrighted material for non-consumptive research

The book also presents a series of FAQs, including “Can I still claim fair use if I ask the copyright owner for permission to use the material and permission is refused?” As a bonus, the resource is published with a CC-BY license which makes it easy to reuse portions or the entire document.

This should be a very useful reference for anyone doing nonfiction writing.

 

It’s Fair Use Week!

Happy Fair Use Week everyone! Fair Use Week is an opportunity to celebrate and spread awareness about a critically important right in copyright law. It’s the right that allows us to reuse copyrighted work in new and different ways; a right that is fundamental to so much of the teaching, research,  and scholarship that happens in educational institutions.

This infographic from ARL does a really great job of highlighting what fair use is and why it is important.

We’ll use the blog this week to highlight tools and resources you can use to help you better understand fair use. You can also use the hashtag #FairUseWeek to be part of the conversation on social media.