UA Opens New Copyright Office
The UA Libraries has opened its Office of Copyright Management and Scholarly Communication to work to help reduce copyright infringment.

By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications
Oct. 24, 2008

Concerns about copyright infringment are not only pervasive in academia, but also in the music and publishing industries, in the news media and in various creative and industrial enterprises.

With copyright issues having garnered more attention in recent years, particularly from the federal government, some say it is the right time to improve public education.

In response to new concerns about copyright law and the desire to make more scholarly work available to mass audiences, The University of Arizona has introduced an office whose exclusive role will be to educate students, faculty and staff about copyright law.

The UA Libraries, the vice president for research and the vice president for instruction partnered to introduce the new office. Dan Lee, UA associate librarian, has been named director of the new office – the Office of Copyright Management and Scholarly Communication.

"We also want to develop an environment where the publications, mostly the formal publications of our faculty and faculty in their fields, are readily accessible and not closed down in high-priced publications," Lee said. "Generally, the ideal would be open access to all."

A reception will be held Monday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to formally introduce the office.

The event will be held in Room A212 of the Main Library and speakers will include Carla J. Stoffle, dean of the UA Libraries and Center for Creative Photography, and Leslie Tolbert, vice president for research, graduate studies and economic development.

Such a focus is something Graduate and Professional Student Council members have spent years pushing for, said the council's current president, Stephen W. Bieda III.

"Over the last few years, GPSC has been trying to work with the administration on understanding what rights graduate and professional students have by way of dissertations, thesis work, productions and artwork," Bieda said.

"For the most part, we are not legal scholars," he said. "What this office is going to do it to help us to understand what our legal rights are as students."

Benefits not only exist for graduate and professional students, but for the entire campus community, said Bieda, also a doctoral degree candidate in atmospheric sciences.

"We're trying to wrap our arms around all these copyright laws that get passed, and if there are questions students have, they can ask those questions," he said.

As director of the UA office, Lee will head up the UA Libraries' role in educating the campus community about fair use and intellectual property while also creating a scholarly communications program.

"We're promoting wider access and a wider dissemination of the scholarly literature," Lee said, adding that this often requires negotiations with publishers.

A growing number of new journals have been introduced that are open source, and Lee said the UA Libraries may well introduce its own.

In addition to educating the campus community, the office will serve in an enforcement role when necessary, ensuring that those on campus are complying with copyright laws.

Lee has a strong background for this work.

Since 2004 he has served as the UA's Digital Millennium Copyright Act agent for the federal law that passed in 1998. In his role as an agent, Lee has served as a resource for the campus community with regards to questions about copyright and scholarly communication.

He also helped create a campuswide response to the Recording Industry Association of America last year after the organization asked for input about its decision to change its file sharing policies.

Now in its first year, Lee's office will help researchers to comply with the new National Institutes of Health's Public Access Policy.

The policy, which was approved during the spring, requires that scholars publishing work funded through the federal agency are made available to the public through a digital archive. This must occur within one year of the publication date.

"The primary issue is to promote access to the scholarly literature, and that is done on various levels," Lee said.

"On the copyright side, it's making sure we don't overstep our bounds, but in making sure we don't broadly define those bounds or have tight controls," he said. "The access we want would allow the scholars on campus to have the publications reach the communities they want to reach."

Extra info


The UA's Office of Copyright Management and Scholarly Communication is providing faculty with the Copyright Slider to better help them understand copyright law.


To learn more about copyright management and scholarly communication at the UA, visit the UA Libraries Web site.


Resources for the media

Gabrielle Sykes-Casavant

UA Libraries