The Long Arm of the Law, Madelyn Wessel

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The Long Arm of the Law, Madelyn Wessel

  1. 1. Charleston Conference Long Arm of the Law MOOCs and Not MOOCs Madelyn Wessel University of Virginia November 9, 2013
  2. 2. Legal Issues in MOOCs (and some non copyright issues they raise that are important to libraries)  Course Production/Copyright  Intellectual property ownership and related campus policy issues  FERPA and ADA compliance concerns  EULAs and online ―Privacy‖ policies  If it’s ―free‖ it probably isn’t actually free (Analytics)  Compelled transfer of IP
  3. 3. Online Course Materials are Heterogeneous…     The recorded lectures themselves, which will typically focus on the instructor, but may include talking head background material such as images, audio, or video that are viewable or audible. Full-focus images or video occupying the complete screen in a recorded lecture; such material being potentially downloadable by course participants. Power points or lecture notes uploaded to the course website that may contain third party content such as images, audio, video, etc. Materials such as articles, book chapters, or other content that the instructor would like course participants to read. Different copyright constraints may apply to different materials.
  4. 4. Campus Versus Wide Open Learning Environments  Copyright knowledge gaps affect other teaching and learning activities (social media course interactions, website construction, use of multi-media materials in course assignments, etc.)  But the structural dynamics of MOOCs (MOOC partnership agreements, institution directly responsible for content delivery, size of courses and access worldwide) escalate the legal risks and complications.
  5. 5. MOOC Platforms Treat You Like a Publisher “As between University and Company, University will be responsible for reviewing and obtaining any necessary licenses, waivers or permissions with respect to any third-party rights to Content provided by University or Instructors. “ [Coursera] “Institution will be responsible for ensuring that all content (including third party content contained in InstitutionX Courses) provided by Institution or its instructors to edX may be used and made available via the Platform, including without limitation, the edX.org website without infringing or violating any copyright or other intellectual property rights of any third party. EdX may take down content that is the subject of an actual or reasonably anticipated claim by a third party and, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Institution will indemnify and hold edX harmless for any such claim.” [edX]
  6. 6. “Regular” Copyright Exceptions Mostly N/A     Section 110 (1) of the Copyright Act protects generous displays of educational materials in face-to-face teaching. Section 110 (2) (the ―TEACH Act‖) allows delivery of considerable content in support of distance learning initiatives, although the rights defined there are more limited than those applicable to in-classroom face-toface teaching. Both of these sections are specifically limited to teaching activities or a class sessions offered by nonprofit educational institutions (≠ third party platform providers). Section 107 Fair Use—definitely has a role, but one that is probably more restricted than the opportunities we see for FU in the conventional classroom.
  7. 7. Developing Guidance in the Face of Uncertain Application of Fair Use     What are the rules when it comes to delivering content to tens of thousands of individuals worldwide? Does it matter if the platform provider is explicitly for profit? Does an institution’s not-for-profit status as the content creator continue to supply fair use points under the first fair use factor even if the provider is for-profit? Does it matter if content will be beamed to a country without fair use principles in its copyright regime?
  8. 8. Pivots      Third party content is clearly more viable where content is itself the focus of instructor commentary rather than ―decorative‖ or ―fun.‖ Transformative uses are important; cases Georgia has highlighted (and others too) send good signals about uses available in the online teaching context. Make technology your friend (thumbnails, low resolution images, download inhibitions). Links that support a publisher's market opportunity can be helpful. Fair use is not going to support delivery of substantial in-copyright content to students without a license.
  9. 9. Intellectual Property Ownership     Different Institutions take varying approaches to faculty ownership of course materials – typically a ―Copyright‖ or ―IP‖ Policy call. (Scholarly articles and books may be treated differently than course materials, courseware, software, videos, etc.) The determination of ownership is not dispositive of the right to use and distribute course materials which need not be exclusive. MOOC course materials may be a compilation of multiple contributors’ works. MOOCs are typically the product of significant university resource investment.
  10. 10. Significant University Resources    University policies typically set ownership of IP based on the degree to which institutional resources are used, using phrases such as ―significant,‖ ―substantial‖ or ―exceptional‖ as a standard. Since distance and online education can involve significant university resources through instructional and web designers, videographers, teaching assistants and administrative support, the university often claims ownership. Some policies have expressly asserted ownership over online course materials tying the ownership claim to the use of resources; others tie use/reuse to Conflict of Interest or Conflict of Commitment policies.
  11. 11. Platform Providers Want Clear Rights, and the Institution is the Signatory        Usually not ownership or exclusive rights to course materials (but expect to see increasing demands from for-profits for long-term rights) Distribution and use rights May seek third party rights; derivative rights May seek hosting rights beyond your active course; May seek accreditation rights, resale rights May seek right to create ―course packs‖ or ―textbooks‖ from MOOC materials Watch implications for truly traditional faculty prerogatives.
  12. 12. Accessibility of Course Materials       Expect DOJ and OCR to be all over this as both have been about online learning and accessible technology requirements generally. Coursera and edX both articulating clear commitments and a shared responsibility paradigm for ADA and Section 504 compliance. Platform = MOOC provider responsibility. Coursera provides captioning; faculty or their helpers need to review same for accuracy and completeness. Other content descriptors (images, audio) = instructor. Institutions have explicit and somewhat open-ended duty under platform agreements to respond to participant accessibility needs that arise during a course.
  13. 13. Data Use and Privacy Issues Coursera: Disclaimer of Student-University Relationship You agree and acknowledge that nothing in these Terms of Use or otherwise with respect to your access or use of any Online Course or Site (a) establishes any relationship between you and any university or other educational institution with which Coursera may be affiliated, (b) enrolls or registers you in any university or other educational institution, or in any course offered by any university or other educational institution, or (c) entitles you to access or use the resources of any university or other educational institution beyond the Online Courses provided by the Sites.
  14. 14. Data Use and Privacy Issues    Most institutions are acting with some caution in the nomenclature they will allow platform providers in issuing ―certificates‖ or other confirmations of course achievements to deal with FERPA, accreditation, and state authorization concerns. All make clear in their agreements that the MOOCs being offered do not constitute enrollment at the institution, or academic credit from the institution but this will likely change as monetization strategies become more important than pure experimentation. But institutions can run into issues where faculty want on-campus students to use the MOOC platform to receive lectures, assignments, or participate in discussion boards, etc.
  15. 15. Flipping Courses at Home Can Quickly Bring FERPA back into the Picture     FPCO has ruled that students cannot be required to waive their FERPA rights as a condition of participation in an educational program or activity. Requiring students to enroll with a MOOC provider that is not explicitly committing to FERPA might well be seen as just such an involuntary waiver. Issues also where faculty may seek to bring the on-campus classroom ―out‖ to the MOOC by recording on campus class sessions for uploading to the MOOC platform. All of these real life examples will show up three weeks after faculty have already started doing them
  16. 16. Data Privacy and Security Concerns    While FERPA is a key concern, international privacy regulations are also relevant and will likely become ever more so as the MOOC and online learning space expands. The EU already has a comprehensive (and more rigorous than US) privacy framework, and is considering expansions. In the past, EU member states have also developed different national laws based on the EU law. Hosting (Platform) providers must continue to evaluate how international regulations apply to the platform and cloud software and to data and metadata.
  17. 17. The Provider’s EULA Matters to You     Is the provider treating and protecting participant data in a way that is congruent with your institution’s expectations and norms? Will your deal enable your students, faculty, staff to access course materials without agreeing to the provider EULA if the terms of service do not comply with FERPA or are otherwise incongruent with institutional policy? Will the EULA require your students to agree to indemnify and be sued in CA to take a course in Virginia or North Carolina? If yes, is this ok with you? (Hint: public institutions can’t back this.) Are students and faculty assigning away their IP to the provider?
  18. 18. New Copyright Content Strategies of the Platform Providers will Implicate Rights      Platform providers are entering into deals with publishers for textbooks and other educational materials for their course participants. In exchange, publishers gain the ability to market other publisher materials to students, and to obtain rich usage data/learning analytics. Institutions are not parties to these agreements; terms may be a concern. (Academic choice, FERPA, faculty & student privacy) If image and other rights are tied to a specific deal, courses may be locked into a specific platform forever. Worried about implications of provider deals with publishers and fair use in the classroom generally.
  19. 19. Cloud companies (beyond MOOC providers) are seeing new opportunities…        Online(end user) licenses are the portal to everything on the web. Terms are customer unfriendly, but tricky. Not compliant with FERPA, but tricky. Enable commercial data gathering and use. Obtain rights to ―contributed‖ IP of both faculty and students (distribution license is necessary; reuse rights are not). Generally reference a worthless ―Privacy‖ policy that can be changed at will. OK when faculty unthinkingly employ in the classroom…?
  20. 20. Embedded in a 35 million dollar three year deal for online journal access: Data harvesting, commercial reuse, seemed to be a build towards a different licensing/cost framework. ―_________ will not, without the prior written consent of the Subscriber, transfer any personal information of any Authorized Users to any non-affiliated third party or use it for any purpose other than as described in this Agreement and in the online privacy policy for the relevant online service.” ―The foregoing is the current privacy policy of the Site. We reserve the right to change this policy at any time without notice. Any changes to this policy will be posted on this web page.‖
  21. 21. “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.” (Woody Allen)     Data and analytics are a new coin of the realm, will be embedded in everything from MOOCs to textbooks to other library and course materials. Content industries are going to continue to look for business opportunities and access to the lucrative higher education marketplace even where some of the ―stuff‖ is ―free.‖ Need to not check our skepticism and values at the door in our enthusiasm for new tools and new technologies. It won’t be good enough to win the copyright battles in the courts if we lose the copyright and privacy wars in our contracts.

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