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Fair Use Code for Open Courseware Coming Up

Some universities such as MIT, Yale, Stanford and others--gathered in an Open Courseware Consortium or OCWC-- now offer "open courseware." Open Courseware means freely available course materials such as syllabi, lectures and other course materials. But sometimes the course materials are cripplingly incomplete, because the universities avoid posting any third-party copyrighted material online. And of course, they don't post many courses in the humanities, where analyzing and quoting copyrighted material is not just common but often absolutely critical to the work. As in many other creative communities, university open courseware specialists know they have Fair Use rights, but they're not sure exactly how to interpret them.

Now, thanks to a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, the Center for Social Media and the Washington College of Law will be working with OCWC to create a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Courseware. The Code is scheduled for a September release.