China Jubilee

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Integrity: Copyrights, Fair Use, and This Teacher February 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — missjubilee @ 2:50 am

(Workshop 2 Blog Assignment: Teaching in this Century)

I have posted a video for class that has reflections and information on the topic of copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons.  You can view it here:

Copyright Thoughts from This Teacher

I am posting the script below because YouTube said it was too long to put in the comments!


I’m going to start with a quote and a disclaimer: Wendy Alsup’s blog tagline at Practical Theology for Women reads “This blog is primarily a lecture to myself, but you are welcome to read along and participate.” In the same way, this video blog is first and foremost me talking to myself, though fellow teachers are welcome to listen in and join the conversation. And of course my professor, since the reason I started looking into all this and am up after 11pm for the 5th night this week is that I have to do it for class! Also, because I want this to come off well, I’m obviously reading a prepared script, not just speaking off the cuff. Sorry.

Avoid need for segue by inserting title here.

Integrity: It’s doing the right thing when no one is watching, when people won’t notice, when you won’t get caught or in trouble, and it would be easier to take a short cut.

When I was an intern, we were reminded to live by the highest standards. One was integrity, and I felt rather oversaturated with reminders. I posted a note on my cheese in the dorm fridge, “Personal. Don’t eat. Don’t make me use the ‘i’ word.” I know where the line is with MY stuff. But I know some of the short cuts when it comes to others’ media. Screen-shots, library CDs, VPNs and YouTube and plug-ins to download the videos. Turning to Google and Yahoo for clip-art for the class newsletter & blog and for activity pages for the spare moments in class. True, many of these are posted freely for sharing, but how often do we check now with image searches before just downloading the image? I have never checked the copyright of an image before downloading it, operating by the wishful idea of “if it’s there and grabbable, it must be free to use.” Have you, too?

“Right now, the customers who can’t even *see* why file sharing might be wrong are still young. But 10, 20, 30 years from now, that crowd will be *everybody*. What will happen then?” -David Pogue

As someone in my early 30’s, I am at the beginning edge of the generation that sees media as a free-flowing stream of ideas and entertainment rather than pinned down in paper and plastic and wax commodities. Did you see the version of Hamlet in 2000 with Ethan Hawke and Julia Stiles, set in a modern-day metropolis? Hamlet goes to Blockbuster and brings home a bunch of videos to make a video compilation to “catch the conscience of the king.” Is that legal? He’s not making any money from it, he’s paying for the rentals, yet it isn’t really right, is it? What about the nap time CD I made for my preschool class, with calming songs from various movie soundtracks I checked out of the library? Again, I didn’t sell the resulting CD, it did 16 children a lot of good for months, and it kept me from going mad listening to the same album we’d had from the beginning of the year, but I don’t think that it was really legal, even though it FELT like a good idea.

Rodd Lucier is an educator and a blogger who also advocates for respect of copyright. He comments in a recent post, “In a world where creating and remixing is open to anyone, it’s time to hold ourselves accountable and to model the ethical use of online content.”

A lot of what I knew before this assignment about copyright comes from seeing it around on knitting patterns – “feel free to make this, but don’t charge for the product beyond making it for a friend who pays you back for the materials you used” – and the odd Creative Commons license here and there.

Now I’ve learned that there are actually quite a few different permutations of the CC license. The basic right CC licenses reserve is attribution – you’ve got to give credit where it’s due. Other rights that may be reserved (but are not unless you say so) are derivatives, commercial rights, and share-alike. If the licenser restricts derivation, you shouldn’t use their work to make something different or cut off part of it. If the license is non-commercial, then don’t sell it, and I imagine this goes beyond flat-out printing or burning the work and selling it – like showing a video of Merry Melodies for a paying crowd of neighborhood children, the first time I remember bending a law, even if they were just paying 25 cents. A share-alike license means that if people use your work to make other things, they should keep the same kind of license on it that you have on in, not more or less restrictive. Read more on their site, link below.

Of course, some things may be marked as in the Public Domain, joining lots of old things – like all the Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and other classics you find reprinted in Chinese bookstores and Dover Thrift Editions in the States, or the Mona Lisa herself, which you can photograph, paint a copy of, or spoof to your heart’s content.

Speaking of spoofing, it is alright to parody copyrighted works; the courts test for “fair use” when someone is accused of copyright infringement, and if you’re not stealing their market but using an insubstantial bit in your own creation to advance interest in the art, you’re probably safe. Still, I don’t think my class newsletters fall into that category, so I need to be more careful when downloading images for it! You can read more about fair use on Wikipedia, link in the doobly-doo.
1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

“Fair use does not say ‘it’s okay to repost someone’s work if you don’t make money on it.’” Ellen Brundige aka “Greekgeek”

“Fair use” is hard to pin down, but for teachers there are some general guidelines that have been hashed out, since education is a purpose the government and most creators of content want to support. Here is a list courtesy of Education World author Linda Starr:
• a single chapter from a book
• an excerpt from a work that combines language and illustrations, such as a children’s book, not exceeding two pages or 10 percent of the work, whichever is less
• a poem of 250 words or less or up to 250 words of a longer poem
• an article, short story, or essay of 2,500 words or less, or excerpts of up to 1,000 words or 10 percent of a longer work, whichever is less; or
• a single chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.

I’ve never really been on the other side of this. I’ve written exactly one knitting pattern in my life, my sole contribution to published craft of any kind – link in the doobley-do – as far as I know no one else has ever made the scarf, and it’s only as I’ve been researching this that I’ve thought of how I’d feel if someone started making the scarves and selling them, without giving me credit.

That might be what we need. Dianne McKenzie, a commenter on Rodd’s blog, suggested that we have students choose the license for their own creative work posted at school, and I think that’s an idea with a lot of potential. Once they experience the feeling of ownership and protectiveness, they will have “climbed into a person’s skin and walked around in it,” as Harper Lee put it.

We can also teach students – partly by modeling – to ask for permission to use copyrighted material. Another commenter, Heather Durnin, shared that a student who received permission from a photographer in another country not only got to use the photo in his presentation but was able to learn more on the topic he was presenting from that same copyright holder.

I personally asked for and received permission to use someone else’s sewing pattern for the little owls I sold at a craft fair last summer to raise money for charity, and that was a big thing for me. Hopefully the first of many steps in the right direction.

the challenge to model academic integrity – screenshots

Post-Viewing Pop Quiz

What are some things you do well in respecting other’s right to what they have made?
What are some practices you could change to line up with copyright law? How do the Fair Use rules help you find the right place to draw the line?
How do Creative Commons licenses help you as a teacher avoid copyright infringement?
What is one project in which your students could cover their own work with CC licenses?

Here are some links for Sources & Further Reading.

Fair Use & Copyright:
Copyright & Videos:
Education & Young People
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee – read it!


2 Responses to “Integrity: Copyrights, Fair Use, and This Teacher”

  1. Hi, Have you seen this collection of resources on the issues on copyright I collected for workshops I give on the topics around the asia region.

  2. […] to say that the PowerPoint started well and that I’m perhaps most excited because, due to the copyright lesson in the last workshop, I contacted the photographer at and got permission for the […]

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