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I was just browsing a Criminal Checks website a few seconds ago when I found your article here. Copyright shouldn't mean that a teacher can't use multimedia for help in his classroom, but it should mean that he can't use that for personal financial gain or for something else that might publicly hurt the person who is the original creator of the work. To make it more simple, if I had invented the word "school", that shouldn't mean that schools today would have to pay me royalties or to not use the word "school" in their title because of copyright. Maybe my example is somehow forced, but it does highlight the dangers of giving too much power to copyright.
Keep in mind the Fair Use law gives us as Educators the means to use many multi-media resoruces...
What having to adhere to copyright has forced me and my students to do is to provide depth and be more creative. Instead of viewing a "how to" or "concept" video they create one. Students understand the material better and create a source for others.
I am a high school media specialist, and the ones who have suffered are the teachers who I serve. I have seen very few clear cases of abuse when a teacher has used a DVD as a baby sitter. However, in most cases when a teacher uses media in his or her classroom, the objective is to illustrate a legitimate, educational point. Teachers are the backbone of every other profession and copyright guidelines frequently seem more often baffling for the educator.
I model this by siting my sources in power points and other materials that I have created to use in my class. I try to teach my students to respect the copyright laws. With animal research reports, I showed the students how to copy the website URL to add to the report showing where they found the picture of the animal. They also had to site the books (title and author) and the website (name and url) on their source page. They are second graders and they did a great job on the research. Unfortunately to post the reports on our website we had to change the pictures to clip art.
The restrictions are *terribly* constraining. No creative or imaginative explorations of traditional European culture are permitted. I've just given up on a major project to preserve French language and culture via a multmedia presentation aimed at "false beginners." Copyright issues present nothing but headaches.
I believe there is a difference between educators knowing / using copyright law and ensuring that students follow it. There are so many organizations and resources to help teachers understand the guidelines! When I have a question about a publication I am creating for a District, I either call the California State Library or the California State School Librarian. Both have provided me with clarification and directed me to marvelous resources that I can easily use with students that I hadn't known about before.
When teachers regularly cite their sources, students see it as an expectation and begin to do so themselves. In my classroom I used to post a "quote of the day" on the board either related to the topic or specific content we were studying. Soon, students would bring me quotes and we'd make sure to check their authenticity. We'd challenge each other to find quotes from across the world and across time. Soon students would look through the index cards of posted quotes and select some to use in their writing.
I think it is reasonable to adhere to copyright law when creating anything that will be used outside the classroom; such as republishing on the Internet or creating CD/ DVD for contests, or general distribution. We also know and understand "personal use" an "fair use". They make sense.
For one thing, students need to be more creative and make their own material, rather than just remixing someone else's work. For another, it gives them ownership and they can decide how they wish to present their work to the world community. Do they wish to make it available under one of the Creative Commons licenses? Do they want others to be able to use and edit their work? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
I think the emergence of Creative Commons and the great work that Wikimedia is doing in spelling out just what is copyright free or used with attribution, etc. is simply great and easy for kids to understand and use.