At the 21 February 2008 meeting of the Academic Council, University Librarian Deborah Jakubs and Scholarly Communications Officer Kevin Smith presented a proposed set of guidelines for the use of electronic course content by faculty. The guidelines, written by Smith in collaboration with the University Counsel's office and previously presented to several faculty groups and committees, are intended to assist faculty to make responsible fair use decisions whenever they incorporate copyrighted material into a course management system or otherwise distribute it to students. Fair use is an important exception to US copyright law, but it requires that users make a good faith decision based on the consideration of several factors.
The Duke University Libraries are accustomed to making such determinations as they consider material for inclusion in electronic reserves systems, and these guidelines will now help faculty who are using other methods to distribute digital content to students to make similar well-informed decisions. After a brief presentation and some questions, the Academic Council approved a resolution to endorse the guidelines as presented and incorporate them into the faculty handbook.
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