Discussion About Copyright with Melanie Wrobel

While I have never worked with copyright, I have always had a healthy respect for the copyright laws and their intent, though at a conceptual rather than detailed level.  It was beneficial to listen to Melanie discuss copyright, what she has seen students do and how to avoid the same issues.  I appreciated that Melanie started with the statement that she is a librarian who has experience with copyright, but is not a lawyer so her presentation cannot be taken from a legal standpoint.  To me, this added to her credibility in this presentation, given that copyright is based in using information appropriately.

Where do I start with what I learned from Melanie?!  She made the copyright laws sound clear, and I suspect they become more so as one works with them.  I appreciate process, and copyright has clear-cut laws and rules about what is acceptable and what is not.  If there is ambiguity, it is best to ask permission; one cannot go wrong following that path.  This follows from Melanie’s statement that it is best to believe that everything is protected and apply the correct process to ensure publications are used correctly (personal communication, June 13, 2016).

Melanie talked about the Berne Convention and I was surprised to learn about the Law of the Land.  Before listening to this presentation, I would have thought that the law where the work was published would be the law in effect, not the law where the user is located.  As I listened to Melanie explain it, I realized why is made sense.  It would be challenging to know the laws of the country where work was published; therefore, following them could be close to impossible.  By adhering to local legislation, individuals can much more easily ensure they are followed.

A few messages that really stood out were how copyright applies, how publications are used, and who owns the information.  For example, the company one works for is often the owner the work; participants own their stories, but the writer owns the summaries of those stories, and it is not ideas that are copyrighted, but how they are said (personal communication, June 13, 2016).

As the presentation concluded, I felt more comfortable in the world of copyright.  I know that when it comes time for me to use copyrighted information or copyright my own work, I will need to become more familiar with the details, and I now know that I can turn to a librarian for help.


Wrobel, M. (2016). A Guide to Copyright [Audio recording]. Retrieved from https://moodle.royalroads.ca/moodle/mod/page/view.php?id=347413

1 thought on “Discussion About Copyright with Melanie Wrobel

  1. Hi Kathy,
    Your observation about the company owning the work of its employees is one I deal with daily. As instructors we are always debating the subject of our course material being the property of our employer. I know some that keep their stuff strictly hard copy and in a binder in their control. I’m not sure if that’s due to their comfort levels with digital technology or a mean of passive control.
    Maybe both hey?
    What sort of materials do you create during your employment that may be not owned by you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.