My experiences of copyright during my (relatively short) library career have been limited to a few enquiries. So, when the opportunity came to attend the Icepops (International Copyright-Literacy Event with Playful Opportunities for Practitioners and Scholars) conference in Oxford, I jumped at the chance to learn more about copyright issues in the information literacy sectors and to see if a day of knowledge sharing from far more experienced people would help relieve the ‘copyright anxiety’ and confusion I often experience.
I didn’t know what to expect but was pleased to find that a conference announcing ‘playful opportunities’ in the title, did feature puppets, a Star Wars themed panel (with costumes) and copyright buzzword bingo.
There was such a great selection of topics and speakers, and the lightning talks and the world café formats gave a chance to hear from lots of projects from both the UK and internationally. The keynotes by Emily Hudson, Andrea Wallace and Douglas McCarthy allowed us to dive deeper into two topics. As an art history graduate I really enjoyed the discussion in Emily Hudson’s keynote about artists using other art in their work and whether there has been copyright infringement. Is it pastiche, parody or plain old copying?
As a new library professional, this has been my first experience of key copyright issues, although, as I realised throughout these discussions, I encounter questions about intellectual property and copyright every day when sharing images on social media, creating content and using images in my marketing work. With the future of education and the way we create, process and share information becoming increasingly digital, the issues presented today are not something that will disappear quietly if I bury my head in the sand. And perhaps, if we stopped being scared of copyright, admit we don’t know the answer and go out and find opportunities to learn it, then we’ll find that it’s not scary but something we can embrace in becoming better information educators.
So let’s ask the experts. The final panel discussion (the Copyright Jedi Convention) was made up of Stephen Wyber, Kyle K Courtney, Emily Hudson, Douglas McCarthy and Andrea Wallace. What tips can they give to new Information Literacy and Library Professionals about copyright?
- Be curious, ask questions. What is my institution’s copyright policy? Why don’t we have one? You may have to end up doing the work but you’ll learn even more from that.
- Get involved in something as a producer or creator and experience the other side of copyright. It’s not just about how you use other people’s work – what about your rights as a creator?
- Take opportunities to learn more and see it in practice, e.g. the Creative Commons Certificate.
- Attend Icepops!
I believe that a good conference should teach me something new or change how I think about things (tick), inspire me to continue exploring (tick) and give me connections to experts (tick, tick, tick). And if it can do that with ice cream, bingo and Stars Wars then even better!
Katie Wise is a Library & Knowledge Specialist for the NHS. This post has also been published on the Copyright Literacy blog.