How do you begin to answer a copyright question? Kevin Smith & Lisa Macklin's Framework for Analyzing Copyright Problems orders five questions to identify which of the parts of copyright law apply to the specific problem or fact pattern that you need to address.
In many cases we’re not positioned to decide for patrons whose questions often present minimal risk. At times it may be helpful to refer patrons to the Office of General Council, but remember that OGC represents the University to mitigate institutional risk. Decisions are governed by laws, policies, guidelines, best practices, and each other--let's share the load, taking on part of the problem by thinking it through together, and empower patrons to decide for themselves.
Best Practices for Carbon Copying Others when corresponding with Us
Use your best judgment in determining whether a question or email thread might have sensitive or private information that does not need to be shared with us or multiple parties.
Benefits of (Shared) Email
If one of us is away, or if the question or need can be managed by either of us, please use our shared email: WULIB_CopyrightHelp@wumail.wustl.edu.
We try to respond to questions in a timely manner, often within a day, but depending on the detail needed to sufficiently respond and fluctuating workloads, it may take longer than a day. Please let us know if we haven't responded in an acceptable time frame and you've turned to general counsel instead. We appreciate your patience and understanding that there's no such thing as a copyright emergency.