"On August 26, a Missouri appeals court held that course syllabi are protected by federal copyright law. That trumps the state’s Sunshine Law, so the court ruled that the university is correct in refusing to allow NCTQ or anyone else to have copies. NCTQ will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Missouri... On legal grounds, the University of Missouri’s refusal to release the syllabi looks very shaky. Do professors really hold copyright over their syllabi? One expert in copyright law, Chapman University law professor Tom Bell, thinks not. In an email to me, he wrote, “While debate continues over whether scholarship prepared in the course of employment with a university falls within the work-for-hire doctrine, there can be little doubt that syllabi do, meaning that the copyrights in them vest in the university rather than the professor.” Another reason for believing that the court’s ruling is incorrect is the “fair use” exception to copyright. Under “fair use,” people are permitted to make reasonable use of copyrighted material. Among the factors that are to be considered are whether the use is for a non-profit educational purpose and how the use would affect the market value of the work. Here, the analysis to be done on the syllabi is for a non-profit educational purpose (assessing the quality of the education school courses), and it has no impact at all on the market value of the syllabi, which is zero."
Monday, September 29, 2014
Ridiculous Ruling Says University Can't Release Course Syllabi Because That Would Violate Professors' Copyright; Forbes, 9/29/14
George Leef, Forbes; Ridiculous Ruling Says University Can't Release Course Syllabi Because That Would Violate Professors' Copyright: