Nancy Parker
Educational Consultant

Copyright issues!

How are you addressing copyright issues when using technology for teacher and student publishing? As a teacher I am continually concerned about copyright. I know that there is some usage in education but are we teaching our students to learn more about copyright issues?

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carolyn brown

Posted on 10/16/13 5:44:23 PM Permalink

I teach online and anything that is publicly viewable online regardless of wether it is for educational purposes is subject to copyright law.

Blake Barr

Posted on 8/22/13 2:17:51 AM Permalink

I point out that as a result of the Berne Convention in the 1980s, if the piece exists and was created in a country that is part of the Convention, like the United States, then it is copyrighted. Period. You do not have to register it or even put a copyright notice on it.

So unless the creator has published or granted license to use it you can not use it, you cannot use part of it, you cannot modify it and use it. It's pretty simple.

I get really frustrated with teachers who go into Google and look up images and use them in the classroom. That is not protected by fair use. Here are the guidelines for determining fair use:

1.the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a 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; and

4.the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Pay very close attention to the end of line number three: "and". All four of these conditions MUST be true in the U.S. Not just the first one about whether or not it is for non-profit educational purposes. If I, as an artist, design clip-art and sell it either in a set or individually, and someone puts it in their class newsletter they have just stolen my work that is designed to be sold to use in things like newsletters!

Betty Rogge

Posted on 8/21/13 1:55:05 AM Permalink

In my college classroom I am teaching students who plan to become teachers or paraprofessionals. Each semester we do a two class period copyright/fair use workshop conducted by the college's library manager. She covers a variety of resources including having the students work on scenarios to see if they follow or break the copyright laws. One resource she recommends to my students is the book Copyright for Teachers & Librarians in the 21st Century by Rebecca P. Butler.

jamie leduc

Posted on 8/2/13 12:29:25 PM Permalink

Copyright in education is very challenging topic to tackle with our students due to our proximity with the US. Many students struggle with the differences between US and Canadian copyright laws. All in all, I feel we are doing a good job integrating copyright laws in our digital classroom. One resource we use a lot is the

Esther Lewars

Posted on 7/25/13 4:34:58 AM Permalink

My middle school teachers have integrated copyright expectations into their lessons and projects. The lower grades are sometimes not as systematic about their requirements for certain used educational content. Copyright laws along with the legal and financial ramifications need to be introduced as early as first grade, definitely second as prescribed by the 2009 NJ Technology standards. If this norm is developed in the lower grades, then we should see a positive impact on students' appropriate use of digital (and print) content as they move to high school, college, and beyond. I would recommend that elementary school administrators include this as a priority area in their school's yearly strategic plan.

I came across the site through an online summer program at Montclair University. The main domain has other Internet and Fair Use resources for teachers and students.

marcia blanco

Posted on 7/17/13 2:06:59 PM Permalink

marcia blanco

Posted on 7/17/13 2:00:51 PM Permalink

Does anybody have their students register their copyright, just to go through the motions? Is it really needed for digital media with metadata these days?

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/17/13 6:35:51 PM Permalink

I cover copyright extensively and make sure my students include their copyright information in the metadata but do not have them register their copyright. As a professional photographer, I don't even do that. Digital images have a date and time in the metadata of the original image proving the creation of the image. I would say if the students were to create non-digital art, then I might have them register his/her work for copyright. On that same note, I do (try) to get model releases from everyone I photograph and I encourage my students to start doing the same. It is good to get them used to asking as well as to know who can legally sign and what information they should be getting on the release.

marcia blanco

Posted on 7/17/13 1:54:37 PM Permalink

I got some great stuff from the University of Washington. I think I might have gotten the link from Judy. I also use an article from the Harvard Law Review about the Hope Poster case and whether a court found Shephard Fairey guilty of copyright infringement, I've gotten some pretty good discussions from that. I've added it as a resource but it's taking it's sweet time uploading, so I'll post the link as soon as I can.

Mark Runge

Posted on 7/17/13 9:37:38 AM Permalink

I've been sampling images for years and will continue to do so. This finds its way into my teaching. So copyright issues are very important for us.

I allow my kids to sample other's work, but only after a few months in the creative commons and lots of discussion of fair use. For each piece my kids have to do a bibliography: thumbnail image, author, found where, copyrighted or not, and if it is copyrighted permission from the author.

I also use or google image back search to make sure that any piece that goes into a contest inside or outside of school is good to go.

Tarek Bahaa El Deen

Posted on 4/29/13 3:54:05 PM Permalink

we always discuses what is copyright material in graphic design filed, but we didn't discuses what is not copyrightable?


Designers need to take into account that the following items cannot be copyrighted:

- titles, names, short phrases, and slogans;

- familiar symbols or designs;

- mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring;

- mere listings of ingredients or contents

- Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices

- Common information such as calendars, measurement charts, TV guides

- Government or legal documents

A number of these things may be protected by trademarks. But it will be the client, and not the designer, who will be entitled to apply for trademark protection.

If you are not sure whether your new logo design would qualify for copyright protection, consult a specialist attorney.

Tarek Bahaa El Deen

Posted on 3/24/13 7:34:29 PM Permalink

it's really complex issue, but i think copyright in teaching is already care abut it because we return to it as a reference

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 9/3/12 3:01:12 AM Permalink

Here's the list I was talking about! Enjoy!

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 9/1/12 6:49:32 PM Permalink

I think this is a great discussion topic! My theory has always been that the best way to avoid copyright infringement is to create your own material. I think if we encourage students to really make an effort to do this: take your own pics, video, etc., that's the best way.

I do remember that this topic came up at the AEL Summer Institute in July in a session with Mike Skocko and Rob Schwartz. Rob said that part of the new requirements of what they have to do also involve them using their own media to create their artwork. The rationale had something to do with them being more in touch with the subject, which made the final outcome more meaningful. I think this is really something to consider and discuss with students. This is the way that I've always approached it.

On a side note, I understand that in the interest of time, or resources available, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, I'm not musically talented, but then again, what a great collaboration opportunity! In the meantime, I've been gathering sites where you can find fee copy-right friendly media to download in an easy to find place. If you make this easy to find, that might also help!

Judy Durkin

Posted on 7/26/12 1:28:25 PM Permalink

I will be teaching Graphic Design, Yearbook, and Video Production in Taiwan this year and one of the things that I am going to POUND into young brains is the value of someone's digital artwork. I have a couple of posts on Copyright laws. NOTHING is more important to a commercial artist than intellectual property.

marcia blanco

Posted on 8/19/12 6:16:52 PM Permalink

Hi Judy! How can I find those posts on copyright laws that you mention?

Debbie Keller

Posted on 7/25/12 9:04:07 PM Permalink

Still some kids don't get it. I had a student steal someone's work and turn it in and argued about getting credit. Thought since it was out there and he found it he should be able to use it. I asked how he would feel if at has been his work out there and someone stole it and it never clicked.

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/25/12 9:12:30 PM Permalink

I defantately get the parents involved each and every time that happens. Also give the kids the senario, what if it WAS yours and you charged $100 for each copy of it, how would you feel then? That usually gets more of a response out of them.

TJ Fletcher

Posted on 7/25/12 10:11:23 PM Permalink

I really believe the student needs to author a unique work and have it distributed in some way for an audience outside the where they can receive feedback...then, these conversations become more real because they can relate to the situation. Without this experience, they lack the context, and fall back on the "as long as I don't get caught" mentality. Allowing the students to become creators rather than consumers and providing them access to an authentic audience has far-reaching benefits that go beyond this topic.

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/25/12 10:26:45 PM Permalink

I think one of the biggest problems is, some of their teachers (and or parents) are setting bad examples. It is difficult for One teacher to "teach" them what is right when another teacher is breaking all the rules. We need to make sure our fellow teachers understand the laws as well.

TJ Fletcher

Posted on 7/25/12 10:33:39 PM Permalink

I agree...and I would make the same suggestion for teachers that I made for students. All too often, teachers are not publishing their work...and since they are only operating within the closed environment of their "face to face" classroom...anything goes. The information teachers receive can also be laced with misinformation that is either too restrictive or too lax. Not sure how you change that...most likely through incremental changes.

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/25/12 7:00:34 PM Permalink

I like to give the students a (guided) research assignment related to copyright. We usually talk about what it means to have their own work to be copyright as soon as it is created. We talk about how they would feel if they had a photo or a piece of art they created and someone else started to use it without their permission. We talk about the use of music as well (this is when the conversation usually goes south quickly) It is interesting when you tell them the fine for having/using music without permission - I do believe it is $14K per song. After the research project then we talk about how to get permission to use work, how to ask and or how to find the Creative Commons work OR ultimately how to create their own work. Of course they must always learn how to cite the owner (including themselves).

As a teacher I always go into the meta data if images a check to see info of images and "call" the students any cheating. I think it is so important to "bust" them as early as possible so they learn that to be honest.

TJ Fletcher

Posted on 7/25/12 6:11:13 PM Permalink

I think it's important to talk to students about creative commons licensing. As consumers of information, I'm not sure students (and teachers) give copyright a lot of notice...they're too busy consuming the information. However, once they have created their own content (an original work) and publish it...something clicks...especially, when they find someone else who has grabbed it, modified it, and republished the, it makes sense. ;)