Copyright and Creative Commons

Copyright protects original works such as audiovisual, literary, musical, graphic, and dramatic pieces from being reproduced and publicly displayed without the creator’s permission. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act, is the concept of Fair Use.  Fair Use means that educators can use materials without payment or permission. They should however, site their sources. Creative works must be legitimately acquired. Consumables have to be used as they were intended. They must be consumed and not copied, so as to preserve the integrity of the business which produced them.

In a primary classroom, I would have to make sure that I had enough consumable workbooks for each student. This might include language arts, math or handwriting workbooks.  In the classroom, I would also make sure that students were aware of the authors/creators of all original works. The concepts of copyright and fair use relate to NETS*T 4A. Teachers advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources. It also applies to NETS*S 5A. Students advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.

I also would be looking at NETS*S 1B. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression. In particular, I would consider this in a classroom when using mentor texts. Say for example I was using a literature text to show a structure that I wanted students to practice when writing their own texts.  I would want to emphasize and require that they are practicing the structure, but creating their own story, or non-fiction piece.

The CONFU multimedia guidelines (1996) give students and educators some idea of how much of an original work that they can use for teaching and learning.  No pirated materials can be used. There are specific guidelines for videos, music, poems, text, graphic, illustrations, photos, digital software and other original works. So for example, if I were presenting the poems of Eloise Greenfield, I would want to limit it to three of her poems, or I could give examples of poems by five different authors.( NETS*T 4 – Promote and Model Digital Citizenship, NETS*S 5A-Safe, Legal, Responsible Use).

Creative Commons gives the owners of creative works a choice of how much and in what way they want to share their work. I thought the You Tube Copyright School video would be a good one to share with students.

It is a light-hearted cartoon of a serious topic. I think it would get students attention because kids are so used to animation. It is also an effective video because it gives specific examples of things to avoid. In my classroom, I might take this further by writing some example scenarios on a piece of paper distributed to different groups. I would then have them complete each one as a carousel graffiti activity. Each group would write down their thoughts, pass it to the next group, and then I would do a group share at the end.

I like the analogy that was made in the Creative Commons video likening it to a park. The question was asked, “Are you willing to share your content, work, and creations with others?” When we go to a park, do we share the picnic tables? Do we share the ever-present elements of nature? Yes! NETS*T 3B – Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation. We also bring our own creative remix to our picnic experience by bringing that special table cloth, music, or family recipe. Students have a common culture in the classroom, which helps them bond.  They also bring their unique ideas to projects. In the classroom, I would have students create book trailers using animoto. I would probably start this in groups and later have them do this individually. NETS*S 1 – Creativity and Innovation and NETS*S 2 – Communication and Collaboration.

Dr. Lessig’s videos would be great to share with colleagues.

Sometimes teachers go to the extremes that mirror the copyright battle. Some will share anything, others nothing. What stood out for me is the thought he shared that “this is how our kids speak.” In the classroom, elementary students might identify trash as a problem around the school. They might want to plan a way to figure out how much trash there is and what types. They might want to conduct a survey on why trash doesn’t get disposed of properly. They might want to interview staff and new students for their perspectives or possible solutions.  NETS*S 4 A-D Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making. Another classroom activity that I would do with students would be to identify, plan, and share ways to increase knowledge of other cultures in the classroom. What nationalities are represented? What traditions do we carry out? What kinds of food do we bring for lunch?

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One Response to Copyright and Creative Commons

  1. I really like your analogy about the picnic regarding the copyright video. I was also thinking about how i could use that in my own classroom. I think it would work well with kids because it is animation and gives great examples of what is or is not acceptable according to copyright…plus it’s entertaining. I also agree that Dr. Lessig’s video would be great to share with colleagues as opposed to the animation video.
    I enjoyed your ideas about class activities. I was having a hard time thinking of activities to do with kids to drive home concepts and you had great ideas that also match up with the NETS standards! 🙂

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