An ALT Special Interest Group: call for founding members

We have now been running our weekly webinars on Copyright in a time of Crisis hosted by the Association for Learning Technology (CLT) for the best part of 5 months. This coming Friday will be our 19th webinar, and we have run them most weeks with just a couple of breaks. The webinars were launched as a way of keeping the community up to date with issues related to copyright with the rapid shift to online learning at most universities in the spring. As we prepare to start teaching online in the autumn it is becoming clear that the issues and queries that arise are not going away. Getting access to published content, either using copyright exceptions, licensing schemes or negotiating with rightsholders remains a challenge when it comes to online learning. We’ve seen amendments being made to blanket licensing schemes, various responses from publishers to make some content freely available and quite a number of fairly tricky issues, around access to e-books and audiovisual content, such as film.

The copyright community in the UK education sector is currently supported in a number of different ways, but there has never been a dedicated professional group for copyright specialists. Around the country there are a number of copyright communities of practice. There are also a variety of copyright related committee and groups, for example, the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA). However, the main way people in the community have kept themselves up to date is by joining the JISCmail list LIS-Copyseek.

A few months ago, on the back of hosting our webinars, Martin Hawksey and Maren Deepwell from ALT suggested that we might want to create a copyright and online learning Special Interest Group. Chris and I are keen to set up such a group, but one thing we are clear is that for this to be sustainable it needs to be more than just the two of us. We already manage the LIS-Copyseek mailing list, we also run this blog and associated twitter account and believe it or not we both have pretty busy day jobs as well. But it makes sense for us to do this, the group formalises what we’ve been doing over the past 5 months, but hopefully means we can plan for something more longer term. So if you are interested in joining us for an informal discussion about the terms of reference and governance of this group, and being able to shape such a group from the outset, then please do complete the short form below. We’d ideally be looking to fill positions such as Secretary, Communications Officer, Events coordinator, but we need some general committee members as well. We’re also kicking about a couple of ideas for a name for the group [Ed – at this point cue a seemingly endless discussion about what this should be. Jane seems to favour ‘COLIDE’, but Chris is reminded of when he was in a band in the 90s the same name].

Obviously what we call the group is hugely important, but more important is of course what we’re going to do [Ed – as per the above, Chris has spent far too much of his musical career thinking up band names instead of making music]. I love setting things up like this, the trouble I have is letting them go, but whether it’s COLIDE or CODE (Copyright and Digital Education) or some other collection of letters, we both know we need help and would love to have more people along for the ride!

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