Tag Archives: Copyright

Copyright Headache

Copyright is a subject I both want to talk about and fear both at the same time. I’m interested in learning about it because I believe it is important to set a positive example to my students. Since I was a kid the idea of copyright in the classroom has been drilled into my head. I remember hearing stories of music teachers who had made multiple copies of sheet music because the school didn’t have the funding to provide enough legitimate copies. However, there was a rumor that companies were starting to crack down copyright, which led to further rumors of teachers burning the extra copies.

While I cannot verify of the above example is true or not, it does help to illustrate my fear of copyright in general. Don’t get me wrong I understand the ideas behind copyright but what thoroughly confuses me are the practical applications within the classroom. As I went through my education program the 10% mantra was hammered into my head. But as I was reading this might not be the case.

Technology is now changing the game but the law of the land is slow to respond. For example video streaming sites like megavideo and videobb, have become increasingly popular over the last several years. These sites are similar to YouTube in that users will upload material into the site and people who wish to view it stream it in their browser (if you’re on a free account there is a daily time limit). What is the legality of someone who is simply viewing this content? Are they technically breaking the law? How do the rules apply in other countries? What about using streamed content within the classroom? Am I supposed to report material that is illegally uploaded to streaming site?  How do I know if a particular video violates copyright?

As you can probably guess I like the idea of copyright because it helps to protect both the creator of a piece of work and the work itself.  I would like to conduct myself in a manner that is considered legal. Not only to ensure that my school or I do not get hauled into court but also because I think it is important to teach students how to ethically use and share material in a manner that is similar to other situations.

Do I believe that teachers should teach students about copyright and how to use different materials ethically? Yes I do. However, education programs and schools need to begin placing greater emphasis by offering courses and ongoing training to ensure that teachers are kept up to date with the latest information.

The issue of respecting copyright gets completely thrown up in the air when working in a setting where the laws are not available in English. While I may be able to find English explanations of the laws of western countries, I struggle to find the same information here in Japan. Not only is access to information difficult, but actually understanding the laws can prove difficult understand. How am I supposed to enforce the laws if they are not presented in a manner that is easy to understand?

The issue of respecting copyright gets completely thrown up in the air when working in a setting where the laws are not available in English. While I may be able to find English explanations of the laws of western countries, I struggle to find the same information here in Japan. Not only is access to information difficult, but actually understanding the laws can prove difficult understand.  How am I supposed to enforce the laws if they are not presented in a manner that is easy to understand?

Copyright is a complex issue and it requires further exploration and reevaluation.  While there may be a lot of confusion over what exactly is breaking copyright laws, there is one shining light in it all.  The Creative Commons movement makes it clear how people may use different works.  The movement also makes it easier for creators of work to clearly explain how their work can be used.  Since being introduced to it, it has helped saved me from several sleepless night.  While it may be a bit harder to find an image or video that I am want to use, when compared to just looking in Google, at least I can easily tell how I may use that work.

Image Credits:

Copyright Symbols by MikeBlogs found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Video Credits

The Florence Kelley Project – A Discussion on Library and Technology uploaded to YouTube by NorthwesternU

Alan Siegel: Let’s simplify legal jargon posted on Ted.com March 2010

 

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Filed under COETAIL, Course 2