Leading Voices: ‘MOOCs and the Copyright Challenge’



Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries, is the next speaker in the “Leading Voices in Higher Education” lecture series.

Brandon Butler is director of public policy initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (Courtesy of Brandon Butler)

“Everyone is talking about how MOOCs are disrupting settled ideas about higher education: the role of the lecture, the cost, the role of faculty, the scale of a single course, and on and on,” says Butler. “MOOCs also have the potential to impact the fair use rights of institutions, educators, and students. Policy choices we make now could have profound effects on how we interact with educational materials in the future.

“I’m going to talk about how and why we should make those choices strategically.”

Butler’s talk, free and open to the public, is titled, “MOOCs and the Copyright Challenge: Fair Use in the Balance,” and begins at 4 p.m. on May 15 in Haldeman 41. (MOOC stands for “massive open online course.”)

An expert on copyright law, Butler graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. At the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), he has researched a variety of legal issues connected to fair use, network neutrality, and the Patriot Act, and provided commentary on related court battles.

ARL, a nonprofit organization, addresses “issues of concern to the library, research, higher education, and scholarly communities.” It was established in 1932 “by the directors of 42 major university and research libraries that recognized the need for coordinated action and desired a forum to address common problems,” according to its website. Dartmouth College Library is one of the 125 members of ARL.

The “Leading Voices” series started in 2011. The first season, “Leading Voices in Politics and Policy,” brought national political figures, presidential candidates, and policymakers to campus. Last summer’s “Leading Voices in U.S. Foreign Policy” included a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a former Defense Department official, and a retired Navy admiral. The ongoing “Leading Voices in Higher Education” series, part of the strategic planning process, has featured visits from prominent writers, university presidents, and other figures in higher education.

Keith Chapman