Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is this legal?

A question we have asked when using digital media.

For many of us, we have used copyrighted materials as well as denied students the use as well. It seems that the new guidelines of what is considered fair use to educators and students in regards to copyrighted materials will end confusion.

The new code can be found here. This will be announced formally today (Nov. 11, 2008). This wiki contains the live announcement I watched the morning of the 11th as well as specifics for educators. Another resource: http://www.mediaeducationlab.com/index.php?page=265

I have yet to have been asked to remove materials I or my students have used for projects, but it has always been a concern. With this new code, we now have something we can follow.

According to the Blue Skunk Blog:
Educators can, under some circumstances:
1. Make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works, and use them and keep them for educational use.
2. Create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded.
3. Share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded.

Learners can, under some circumstances:
4. Use copyrighted works in creating new material.
5. Distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard.
This does not give free license to use everything with disregard to the owner of the material. I have spent considerable time discussing with students the purpose they have for using a certain material. It needs to be used to not only create something new but be transformative (a change in the form, nature, or function of the original material.) Students need to identify the purpose for this and we discuss if something else would be better suited and the message they are trying to convey in their work. We also spend considerable time discussing design.

Students are also taught and graded on choosing pictures from appropriate sources such as Creative Commons, attributing the pictures correctly, as well as using information from the Internet and linking to the original work.

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