Harvard Will Save You From Your Copyright Crisis

Jabulani R. Barber

Cambridge police stand watch during the protest to keep the peace between protesters, counter protesters, and the viewing public.

UPDATED: September 24, 2014, at 1:00 a.m.

Picture this: it’s a Thursday night in Lamont and you are madly typing away on a paper due the next morning. You’re calmly searching the internet for sources when all of a sudden, you have an emergency. There’s an awesome totally relevant article you found on Google Scholar, but you have a few questions about who owns the source and how you can use it. Lucky for you, this fall the Harvard Library system is launching its “Copyright First Responder” program, which includes a dozen library staff members who have been specially trained to answer questions related to copyright law.

These specially trained "Copyright First Responders" will be scattered throughout various libraries and departments, in order to assist students and “create a collaborative network of support among their peers involved with copyright issues,” according to the program’s website. The program will kick-off in the fall with a series of presentations at various libraries across Harvard.

Though these librarians won’t be wearing neon-vests or have badges, the next time you find yourself wondering how copyright law applies to any source, even something as simple as a selfie seek out a copyright first responder. They’re presumably a lot nicer than the academic integrity police.

This post has been revised to reflect the following corrections:

CORRECTION: September 24, 2014

An earlier version of this post mischaracterized the purpose of the "Copyright First Responder" program. In fact, the program is meant to answer questions only about copyright law and related questions, but not issues like plagerism.

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