Explaining Copyright Issues

In the past I have taught the students the fair use guidelines. I have discussed how they can use certain things for educational purposes. Because so much of the things I do with students is saved on-line, I have started to teach more of the Creative Commons. The need of the students to share online is amazing so I would rather them follow the true copyright laws so that they can publish online in a public forum. Most of the students want to share their work.

During these discussions about copyright, the students and I go through some scenarios where we talk about if they were a musician or artist and worked hard to produce creative things, would they want to have people sharing them. The high school students who were musicians were very split. Some wanted to let people steal their music because that means that their music was being heard and they would at least get the recognition of being a musician. The other half wanted to get paid for their work. When we brought in how Creative Commons works, they liked that idea a lot. They liked that people would have to use their name in order to use their creative work.

The students had a harder time when talking about words. They felt that many people come up with similar ideas so why can’t they use the words. “The  Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy” is what I explain to the younger students so that it is easier for them to find things. Creative Commons is a great tool for older students or students who are better at getting around the Internet. I understand the need for the “Fair Use” guidelines, but I do think they should also really understand true copyright as soon as possible so that they don’t confuse the “Fair Use” guidelines with the laws.

  1. August 7, 2012 at 2:49 am

    We discussed copyright law in my MLS program, of course, but I have to admit that the government publications on the subject were not always easy to understand….and that was as a graduate student! What are your favorite resources for teaching both fair use and copyright, besides Creative Commons?

    • August 7, 2012 at 3:31 am

      I tend to use the lesson plans on Commons Sense for the classes who are not doing a global collaboration project. If we are in a global collaboration project, we do really learn as we go. I also search on Livebinders for new sites that have been created. I hope that helps.

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