Copyright …

Good job you propeller head, or maybe you should go back and read the article! Your score is 38%.

OK, I didn’t read the article first, but this pretty much sums up my knowledge of copyright laws.

The essential questions for this week made me think a lot, and challenged me to expand my ideas into an area that is very gray to me, and may never completely clear up.

Do we as a global society need to rethink copyright laws?

Rethink no … constantly adapt … probably. Technology is changing so fast, and who can keep up? I imagine lawyers in any field have the same problem, and the concept of copyright is something that in the past 10 years or so has changed so much, thanks to technology. File sharing, legal and illegal downloading, email, websites, portable hard drives, media players … the list goes on and on. People want to share what they have for a variety of reasons. Whether it is against the law or not, many don’t care. Where do you draw the line?

The 5 principles of “fair” use …, look at the following situations and try to take a more liberal look at things:






For class, we have been asked to look at a few case studies in order to better understand these principles of “fair use”. I have followed each with a couple of thoughts.

Case study #1:

Has to be covered under point #2 … Employing copyrighted material in preparing curriculum materials. I would assume that they are selling the materials to different schools/districts, but because it is integrating copyrighted material into curriculum materials which are designed for learning, it is fair use. However, it is crucial to recognize your sources and use only what is necessary. You also need to justify your use of the material, and link to course objectives.

Case study #2:

Copyrighted images & music being used for student projects, but with a purpose or message … I feel point #4 covers this best … Students use of copyrighted materials in their own academic and creative work – Students strengthen media literacy skills by creating messages and using such symbolic forms as language, images, sound, music, and digital media to express and share meaning. Students were working on a project which examined “global warming” and communicated a message to it;s audience. They include(d) excerpts from copyrighted material in their own creative work for many purposes, including for comment and criticism, for illustration, to stimulate public discussion … this makes it “fair use.”

Case study #3:

Images from being used for student use, with “value-added” a focus … probably falls under point # 5 … Developing audiences for student work – student work that incorporates, modifies, and re-presents existing media content meets the transformativeness standard, it can be distributed to wide audiences under the doctrine of fair use. However, students need to understand the importance of how their work transformed or changed the original works, and the purpose of the changes they made (or use of the image).

Creative Commons …

Taking the gray area and adding some structure to it… check out this video created by cc

What’s our role as educators in copyright usage in schools?

We have to make our students aware that there are rules and guidelines out there, and as confusing as they are, we need to proceed with a bit of caution whenever we are using something that someone else has created. A good example of this would be the video projects we just finished in class, using iMovie. They are amazing, and I would love to upload and share them, but I hesitated a lot at first. However, when I looked at the principles of “fair use”, and the student work I was considering, I decided that it was “safe” because:

– the work was transformative, adapted to suite the purpose

– purpose was educational, and non-commercial (student projects)

… now I just need to address the idea of “privacy”, and how to approach this with the school and parents. I ask myself – What is the best way to get this work “out there” for others to see, in the right context. Any ideas …  let me know please.

Finally, we were asked last Saturday to visually present the 5 principles of the code of best practice. I have attached my version.   Fair Use

Like I mentioned earlier, I feel I still have a lot to learn when it comes to copyright issues, and will continue to tread lightly.


~ by yamaguru on April 12, 2009.

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