Copyright restrictions (Australia)

Australian universities keen to sign up to massive open online courses (Moocs) may fall foul of copyright legislation. Under copyright law, the millions of dollars’ worth of third-party content that universities pay licences to access may only be legally supplied to formally enrolled students, The Australian reported. This would probably exclude those signing up for free Moocs. “This is a big deal if you want to do more than provide some of the university’s content on the open web for nothing,” said Derek Whitehead, director of information resources at Swinburne University. “If you want to go beyond your university’s own content, that is a much more complex issue.” The country’s universities spend about A$200 million (£130.6 million) a year on commercially licensed content and almost A$30 million to Copyright Agency Limited, Australia’s declared collecting society for the educational and government statutory licences required by the country’s Copyright Act 1968. Such content is inside what Mr Whitehead called the “walled garden”: it can be used only within universities by enrolled students. If institutions wanted to make third-party content available via Moocs, they might have to pay for separate licences, he warned.

Source: Times Higher Education