Copyright and Copywrong

This week in my digital citizenship class we focused on copyright.  Yikes!  Copyright is tough.  I struggled with the terms and all of the laws.  After all of my reading, I feel like if I didn’t create it, then it is copyrighted.  This week I learned the term Fair Use, Creative Commons, and looked at a few different cases involving copyright.

Fair Use is the most interesting to me, and possibly the most confusing as well.  I found this graphic that helps a teacher decide if the item they are wanting to use would be considered fair use.  Graphic From:


Fair use means that you could use portions of someone else’s work depending on how you use it.  If it is for educational purposes, and students will be transforming the work then typically you are ok.  Clips of videos for an educational purpose are ok too for the most part.  It doesn’t mean you can use the entire movie, but a few clips would be ok.  It’s not ok, if you have recorded the video on your own without permission.  I know many of us do not have VCR’s anymore and do not record a tv program using them, but we can record our screens easily using a google extension.  So err on the side of caution.  I like the three rules of thumb in the graphic above when contemplating using anything in my classroom.

In the digital world, we live in today, it is so easy to grab items from the internet without thinking about citing.  We have to model appropriate ways to cite materials we use so, in turn, our students will too. So what is the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement?  I was asking myself the same thing.  Both terms seem very similar.  Plagiarism is passing off someone else’s work as your own.  Copyright infringement has to do with anything that is copyrighted and you sharing it.  It could be copying something you purchased and then sharing with others without permission.

I am not claiming to be an expert on copyright after this week.  I feel like this course could be a semester long, and I still would not be an expert on all things copyright.  I’m going to remember from now on, if I didn’t create it, it’s not mine and I need to make sure I ask permission, cite, and things of that nature to protect myself and my school.

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