Copyright Can Constrain Creativity

March 09, 1998

Pending and existing copyright rules "are severe constraints on creativity in higher education," says Kenneth Crews, director of the Copyright Management Center ( at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

Crews will talk about "Copyright, Fair Use, and the Changing Environment of the Electronic World" on Monday, March 16, at Virginia Tech's seminar series on Scholarship in the Electronic World 4 p.m., 30 Pamplin Hall).

Crews says, "Court rulings, bills in Congress, and "guidelines" from the Conference on Fair Use are hints of copyright's transformation for the era of digital production and dissemination of new works. Many of these developments are central to effective fulfillment of the university's research and teaching mission. Yet far too many of the changes, both pending and in force, are severe constraints on creativity in higher education. These changes place growing pressures on educators to approach copyright in an informed and flexible manner and to take the initiative in influencing the law and shaping its application to the academy."

An associate professor in the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and in the IU School of Library and Information Science, Crews' principal research interest has been the relationship of copyright law to the needs of higher education. He is author of "Copyright, Fair Use, and the Challenge for Universities: Promoting the Progress of Higher Education," published by The University of Chicago Press in October, 1993. He is a regular participant in the Conference on Fair Use, sponsored by the National Information Infrastructure Task Force. That conference negotiates fair use in higher education and libraries. Crews has also been a consultant to colleges, universities, and libraries on copyright issues.

The seminar is sponsored by Virginia Research and Graduate Studies. More information is at or by calling John Eaton at 540/231-5645.

Virginia Tech

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