Our code of conduct

OCEAN’s Code of Conduct

The Open Copyright Education Advisory Network (OCEAN) is a volunteer-led program where experts in copyright law and cultural heritage engage substantively as a way to give back to the greater cultural heritage community. OCEAN is committed to creating and supporting inclusive, diverse, and equitable communities of practice. We strive to be a welcoming organization and the focal point for learning about copyright related to cultural heritage that is anti-oppression, anti-racist, recognizes intersectionalities, and works compassionately across difference. OCEAN strives to build a community to advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the development and education of copyright literacy skills. We know that the best problem-solving and critical thinking happens when people with a wide array of experiences and perspectives come together to work in comfort and safety as peers. We therefore expect participants in the OCEAN community to help create thoughtful and respectful environments where that interaction can take place.

This Code of Conduct applies to all meetings, events, working groups, Discussion Series events, Workshops and other activities organized through OCEAN, whether taking place in-person or online.

How to Be

OCEAN is dedicated to providing collaborative experiences, whether online or in person, that are free from all forms of harassment and inclusive of all people. Small actions you can take will help us meet this goal. For instance, we suggest:

  • listening as much as you speak, and remembering that colleagues may have expertise you are unaware of;

  • encouraging and yielding the floor to those whose viewpoints may be under-represented in a group;

  • using welcoming language, for instance by using an individual’s stated pronouns and favoring gender-neutral collective nouns (“people,” not “guys”);

  • accepting critique graciously and offering it constructively;

  • giving credit where it is due;

  • seeking concrete ways to make physical spaces and online resources more universally accessible;

  • supporting accessibility by following Accessibility Best Practices on Zoom or in person; and

  • staying alert, active bystanders, to the welfare of those around you.

Likewise, it is important to understand the range of behaviors that may constitute harassment.

Harassing behavior may relate to:

  • age;

  • appearance or body size;

  • employment or military status;

  • ethnicity;

  • gender identity or expression;

  • individual lifestyles;

  • marital status;

  • national origin;

  • physical or cognitive ability;

  • political affiliation;

  • sexual orientation;

  • race; or

  • religion.

Harassment can include unwelcome or offensive verbal or written comments or nonverbal expressions, used in person or online, in private or in public.

Examples of harassment can include:

  • use of sexual and/or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online);

  • deliberate intimidation;

  • stalking;

  • following;

  • trolling;

  • harassing photography or filming;

  • recording without consent;

  • sustained disruption of talks or other events;

  • bullying behavior;

  • inappropriate physical contact; and

  • unwelcome sexual attention.

Sexual, discriminatory, or potentially triggering language and imagery is generally inappropriate for any OCEAN event. However, this policy is not intended to constrain responsible scholarly or professional discourse and debate. We welcome engagement with difficult topics, done with respect and care.


Attendees of any in-person events agree to comply with any given event’s health protocols. Health protocols will be posted on OCEAN’s website. A lack of compliance endangers our community, is a violation of this Code of Conduct, and may be reported by one of the reporting procedures below if necessary.

Rules for Discussion Series Events and Live Q&A Sessions in Workshops

  1. In order to support an environment that fosters candor in discussion, Discussion Series events and live Q&A Sessions in OCEAN Workshops are not recorded by OCEAN. Participants and faculty are expected to conduct themselves according to the Chatham House Rule and thus, must not record these events themselves. Discussion Series events and Live Q&A Sessions of OCEAN Workshops are conducted as live online learning experiences using the Zoom platform to enable participants and faculty to exchange ideas and experiences with candor relating to copyright issues that arise in the course of managing collections. It is acknowledged that by recording them, participants and faculty will substantially lessen the positive community-building experience afforded by them. Any recordings of these events will be considered unauthorized and made without the consent of participants and faculty and will warrant the removal of that person from OCEAN events.

  2. Within the context of the Discussion Series and Workshops, OCEAN follows Accessibility Best Practices on Zoom,and provides Zoom Automatic Captioning, including other accommodations.

  3. In keeping with the Chatham House Rule, no permission is needed to share what you learn conceptually in Discussion Series events, so long as the person sharing does not disclose attribution information. By attribution information, we mean a faculty member’s or participant’s name, email address, and institution.

What to Do

We will not tolerate harassment of OCEAN community members in any form. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, follow the procedures outlined below.


Participants in any OCEAN meetings, events, working groups, Discussion Series events, Workshops and other activities organized through OCEAN, whether taking place in-person or online who are asked to stop harassing or intimidating behaviors are expected to comply immediately. Those who violate our Code of Conduct may be warned or expelled at the discretion of the organizers.

We value your presence and constructive participation in our shared community, and thank you for your attention to the comfort, safety, and well-being of fellow OCEAN collaborators, faculty and attendees.

To report incidents after our events, in online venues, or on-site but in the absence of a staff member, email copyright@columbia.edu. However, if you or others are in imminent danger, please first phone emergency services at 911.

In Person

On-site, OCEAN board members can be identified by their name badges. Active bystanders or those experiencing harassment themselves may elect to have an in-person, confidential conversation with a staff member. Board members will then assist participants by taking incident reports, providing escorts as needed, or otherwise helping those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.

During an in-person OCEAN event, in addition to reporting incidents in person, consult any additional resources and links provided by local organizers and hosts.


For online events and meetings, OCEAN encourages the following options for reporting harassment:

  • Send an email to copyright@columbia.edu.

You’re invited to modify and re-use

This document was modeled after the one created and used by the Digital Library Federation (DLF) and has been made available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 license. Please feel free to adapt and re-use for your conference or event! We suggest altering the “About OCEAN” section to reflect your group’s own mission statement and self-identity, and the “What to Do” section with specific actions and contacts relevant to your organization. Lastly, we appreciate acknowledgements.