Living the Copyright Life

In this week’s blog post, I’d like to feature an update on one of the Copyright Office’s close friends, our former colleague, Astrid Bovell*.

As many of you will know, Astrid took a position at Deakin University almost two years ago now to become their university’s Copyright Manager.  While we’ve kept in touch with Astrid, it’s great to hear what she has been up to in her new role in this interview with Adam Brown, senior lecturer in Media, Communication And Public Relations.

In this informative and engaging conversation, Astrid highlights the responsibilities that she has in her new role and how she manages the challenging copyright issues faced by staff and students at Deakin.  Astrid has been working closely with Adam to teach students in his digital media subject what they need to know about copyright.  Adam and Astrid discuss common misconceptions about copyright, such as the differences between the North American fair use exception and the Australian fair dealing provisions.  She also explains how designing learning activities where students are required to source Creative Commons-licensed material or only use work that they create themselves can expose them to conditions akin to the workforce where the usual fair dealing exceptions for research or study do not apply.  By asking students to only use content they’ve created themselves or is licensed under Creative Commons in their assignments rather than only relying on fair dealing, Astrid and Adam have helped the students create a digital media object that can be used more widely than as part of their assessments.  For example, the students can include the work in their portfolio to show prospective employers or to share on social media as a way of promoting or marketing themselves.  Astrid has also worked with Adam to create a copyright guide to be distributed to students in his subject.

Increasingly a knowledge of copyright is becoming part of the transferable set of skills in information or digital literacy that we try and equip students with so that they are workplace ready.  Copyright is important because students should be aware of how to use copyright material compliantly.  Many of our students in areas such as architecture, building and planning; film and television; music, dance and performance; publishing and digital media and other creative arts disciplines are also creating copyright material of their own. These students need to be aware of how copyright protects their works and what their rights as creators are.  An understanding of copyright benefits the students as creators and artists but is also highly desirable to future employers.

Just as Astrid worked with Adam at Deakin to develop a tailored copyright information and awareness session for digital media students, we can do something similar for your subject.  We can attend one of your classes and deliver a copyright presentation or we can participate in a Q&A session with students.  If you prefer we can develop a copyright guide specifically for your students that can be distributed in class or via your LMS

As Astrid points out, being able to understand the nuances of copyright helps get our students ready for the workforce by imparting them with a set of transferable skills that will serve them well regardless of what career path they take.  If you would like us to speak to your students about copyright issues related to your discipline or research area, please contact the Copyright Office at X46647, or email us:  .


*actually, as of the 28th of February, 2016, it’s Astrid Croft — congratulations, Astrid and Richard!