Reading Aloud and Fair Use ©hat

    • Education

Reading Aloud: Fair Use Enables Translating Classroom Practices to Online Learning by Meredith Jacob et al is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License and is available at https://tinyurl.com/read-aloud-online

My book chapter from Copyright Conversations, published by ACRL, is available here: Fear and Fair Use:  Addressing the Affective Domain

 

 

 

 

Sara Benson: Hello and welcome to another episode of Copyright Chat. Today, I wanted to take a moment to discuss with you some questions about reading aloud in the era of COVID-19.

Lately, many folks have tried to engage with their students in an online forum. Why have we begun to do this? Usually, librarians in public libraries, school libraries, and even academic libraries will engage with their students in face-to-face classrooms on very frequent basis reading aloud sometimes in groups, sometimes with the librarian directing but usually without any fear of retribution and exercising their rights under the face-to-face teaching exception of copyright. When teaching in a face-to-face environment the copyright exception is rather clear. The Copyright Act provides that anyone may read aloud in the course of face-to-face teaching in a non-profit educational institution or library as long as they are performing or displaying a copy of a lawful work. So, this does not allow them to make a copy of the work but rather to read aloud, to watch an entire movie, to act out a play, to listen to music, all of those sorts of things that we do in the course of face-to-face teaching.

However, in the era of COVID-19, many folks have had to move their classrooms or their library’s classroom settings online and when doing so they’ve become concerned about licensing issues and the realm of possibility of being sued under the guise of Fair Use. Unfortunately, publishers have tried to clear this up but in a way that just made things more confusing. So, many popular publishers reached out on their websites granting libraries a “exception” to copyright allowing them under their purview of owners of the copyright to perform the works with certain guidelines. The guidelines varied from publisher to publisher. Often, they would include that they had to limit the number of users that they were displaying the work to or credit the publisher when they read the work, et cetera, et cetera. I know the publishers were attempting to do something good; to make an otherwise muddy area more clear for their users, their patrons, the librarians, other members of society who wish to read aloud. The problem is that we didn’t really need the publisher’s permission to do this in the first place. When we exercise Fair Use, we do not need to ask for permission to do so.

The problem is that many folks feel very uncertain when exercising Fair Use. They feel that the risk is too great, that they don’t want to be sued, and that they don’t feel comfortable making a good faith Fair Use determination. Unfortunately, the more that we give in to our fear of exercising Fair Use, the more that we allow publishers to overreach. Again, like I said, we didn’t need the publishers to give us permission to read aloud books. Especially, if we were doing so for educational and transformative purposes.

Let me give you a greater example here. Let’s say I am a school librarian and I’ve been forbidden from meeting with my students face-to-face because of the possibility that COVID-19 would be spread in those interactions. I wish to read from a book, a children’s book online and provide that streaming to my students in my classes. When I read aloud, I often pause for emphasis, I often explain the meaning behind certain phrases. I use it as an educational opportunity to get the students to think about the context in which the story takes place and I use it to explain the meanings of different words and maybe even grammar. So, I’m not just reading the book straight thro

Reading Aloud: Fair Use Enables Translating Classroom Practices to Online Learning by Meredith Jacob et al is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License and is available at https://tinyurl.com/read-aloud-online

My book chapter from Copyright Conversations, published by ACRL, is available here: Fear and Fair Use:  Addressing the Affective Domain

 

 

 

 

Sara Benson: Hello and welcome to another episode of Copyright Chat. Today, I wanted to take a moment to discuss with you some questions about reading aloud in the era of COVID-19.

Lately, many folks have tried to engage with their students in an online forum. Why have we begun to do this? Usually, librarians in public libraries, school libraries, and even academic libraries will engage with their students in face-to-face classrooms on very frequent basis reading aloud sometimes in groups, sometimes with the librarian directing but usually without any fear of retribution and exercising their rights under the face-to-face teaching exception of copyright. When teaching in a face-to-face environment the copyright exception is rather clear. The Copyright Act provides that anyone may read aloud in the course of face-to-face teaching in a non-profit educational institution or library as long as they are performing or displaying a copy of a lawful work. So, this does not allow them to make a copy of the work but rather to read aloud, to watch an entire movie, to act out a play, to listen to music, all of those sorts of things that we do in the course of face-to-face teaching.

However, in the era of COVID-19, many folks have had to move their classrooms or their library’s classroom settings online and when doing so they’ve become concerned about licensing issues and the realm of possibility of being sued under the guise of Fair Use. Unfortunately, publishers have tried to clear this up but in a way that just made things more confusing. So, many popular publishers reached out on their websites granting libraries a “exception” to copyright allowing them under their purview of owners of the copyright to perform the works with certain guidelines. The guidelines varied from publisher to publisher. Often, they would include that they had to limit the number of users that they were displaying the work to or credit the publisher when they read the work, et cetera, et cetera. I know the publishers were attempting to do something good; to make an otherwise muddy area more clear for their users, their patrons, the librarians, other members of society who wish to read aloud. The problem is that we didn’t really need the publisher’s permission to do this in the first place. When we exercise Fair Use, we do not need to ask for permission to do so.

The problem is that many folks feel very uncertain when exercising Fair Use. They feel that the risk is too great, that they don’t want to be sued, and that they don’t feel comfortable making a good faith Fair Use determination. Unfortunately, the more that we give in to our fear of exercising Fair Use, the more that we allow publishers to overreach. Again, like I said, we didn’t need the publishers to give us permission to read aloud books. Especially, if we were doing so for educational and transformative purposes.

Let me give you a greater example here. Let’s say I am a school librarian and I’ve been forbidden from meeting with my students face-to-face because of the possibility that COVID-19 would be spread in those interactions. I wish to read from a book, a children’s book online and provide that streaming to my students in my classes. When I read aloud, I often pause for emphasis, I often explain the meaning behind certain phrases. I use it as an educational opportunity to get the students to think about the context in which the story takes place and I use it to explain the meanings of different words and maybe even grammar. So, I’m not just reading the book straight thro

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