Online Course Readers
Loading reading material into Canvas or any other course management system is equivalent to creating a printed course reader, and in both cases the faculty member preparing the reading list is responsible for ensuring that permissions are obtained where needed for the reuse of published materials. Services that print and distribute hard-copy course readers generally take on that responsibility and pass costs on to students who are purchasing the reader. In online systems, faculty may have to take on that responsibility more directly. Recent litigation indicates that a faculty member may make some very limited amounts of electronic content available for students to review provided that the faculty member has done an individualized assessment of the work under the four factors of the fair use test.
A cost-effective approach for providing access to publications within a course management system is to provide links to the published material, rather than load a copy of the file into the course management tool. Linking is not copying, and thus you won’t be required to pay licensing fees for copies. Prior to digitizing copyrighted materials, faculty should review Stanford Libraries’ electronic holdings to determine if a pre-existing license for the content exists. Stanford Libraries has secured licenses to tens of thousands of online works, and many others are publicly available (e.g., through Creative Commons licenses). Additionally, there are a number of excellent digitization projects, such as Google Books, the Internet Archive, and HathiTrust that are making public domain content available online. For content that is in copyright, faculty can make use of SIPX to assist in the management of permissions fees.
This presentation to Law School staff covers a variety of issues related to creating online course readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F1rpN2SUyg.