"Fear not the law, but the judge."
- Russian proverb

Did you know that during the summer of 2002 the US Congress considered legislation to make it easier for educational institutions to use films and songs in online instruction? It did, and by the time you read this it is anticipated that bill will be law. The Technology Harmonization and Education Act (S 487), would expand the exceptions under the Copyright Act of 1976 that allow colleges and schools to use copyrighted material for instruction without securing copyright holders' permission.

The act and other pending legislation and legal decisions point out an important fact about this module: its' authors are writing about a moving target. Without a weekly update it would be nearly impossible to ensure the currency of the two Read sections contained here. With that in mind, these Read sections are offered as a stepping off point for your study of cyber law and cyber risk. They raise the big issues and give you some insight into how you might deal with them.

Both sections will be revised regularly so you will want to check back, or sign up for one of many listserves that provide regular reports on these topics. The Professional Development Center of the California Virtual College is a particularly good source for the latest news on these topics.

This module contains the following main readings:

  1. Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights
  2. Privacy and Cyber-risk

Knowledge Check

By taking into account purpose of use, nature of the work, amount used, and economic impact when incorporating copyrighted materials into your course content, you are invoking the:

A. not for profit exemption.
B. public domain use policy.
C. educational fair use policy.

D. academic application program.



By the end of this module you should be able to:

1. Describe the guidelines for "Fair Use" of copyrighted materials and list the steps in obtaining permission for use of copyrighted materials.

2. Distinguish between privacy of paper and electronic communications and describe the potential risks of communications over the Internet.

3. Identify property rights issues for instructors in a digital environment.


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