Many of the texts we rely on in our on-campus classrooms—from textbooks to literature to scholarly articles, to say nothing of images, films, or music—are currently under copyright. So the question then becomes: What does this mean for teaching on the Coursera?
And, again, in short it means a lot of work, either replacing texts with free and widely accessible alternatives or negotiating (and paying for!) licensing permissions for use online.
It bears repeating: This is a time-consuming process, especially as ownership of copyrighted material is sometimes difficult (if not virtually impossible) to trace. But, additionally, we must also keep in mind the structural challenges of negotiating copyright in massive open online environments: current licensing structures for copyright are ill-equipped at best to cover the kinds of massive open use that MOOCs require.