Last week Ash asked how we cover copyright in the curriculum for a little side project he has brewing. I pointed him in the direction of the lesson plans and supporting resources with a little uncomfortable feeling… for some time I haven’t been happy about how we cover copyright and this innocent question nagged.
We cover what I guess you’d expect, and what the curricula require, but for a generation X working with Digital Natives it feels far, far, from adequate.
Today, TechDirt reported on how edublogs was taken off-line by a DCMA Notice (DCMA is essentially a copyright compliant in the USA):
Textbook publisher Pearson set off an unfortunate chain of events with a takedown notice issued aimed at a copy of Beck’s Hoplessness Scale posted by a teacher on one of Edublogs’ websites. The end result? Nearly 1.5 million teacher and student blogs taken offline by Edublogs’ host, ServerBeach.
What’s ironic is that edublogs appears to be quite savvy on the dangers on copyright infringement. Not only do they cover the subject in blog posts but they also provide information for teachers and students on sources of content that are licensed for use. For example:
- Compfight– great for fast searching.
- Flickr Blue Mountains
- Flickr Storm – ideal if you want to provide a selection of Flickr images on a specific topic for students to choose from.
Other sources of Creative Commons images include:
Check out Joyce Valenza’s comprehensive list of Copyright Friendly Images website list.
For the written word we are used to “quotation” and citation. But Digital Natives have grown up in a world where rich media – audio, images, video, graphics, animation – is the content they communicate with and consume. The digital equivalents for that content are unclear at best.
One solution is for everyone to read Lawrence Lessig’s Remix (or watch him on TED)…
But that argument, however compelling, is a legislative one and a long way from where we are today. Somehow, we need a better way to prepare Digital Natives both for the reality of the current legal framework and for the murkiness that that framework creates in the practical digital world in which most of us now live.
Update 21 Oct 2012
Sue (I think from EduBlogs) commented on ‘fair use’. Here’s some relevant information on the current legislative situation for those in the United Kingdom.
- Copyright, Designs and Patent Act (1988) from legislation.gov.uk (clauses 32 to 36a, in particular, relate to education).
- Fact sheet P-09 (Understanding Fair Use) and Fact sheet P-27 (Using the Work of others) from the UK Copyright Service.
- Teaching in educational establishments (Permitted uses of copyright works) Fair Dealing (for criticism, review and reporting) from the UK Intellectual Property Office.
- Licenses for education from The Copyright Licensing Agency
We have found that the UK’s intellectual property framework, especially with regard to copyright, is falling behind what is needed. Copyright, once the exclusive concern of authors and their publishers, is today preventing medical researchers studying data and text in pursuit of new treatments. Copying has become basic to numerous industrial processes, as well as to a burgeoning service economy based upon the internet. The UK cannot afford to let a legal framework designed around artists impede vigorous participation in these emerging business sectors.