What is copyright?<br /> “Here in the information age, virtually all intellectual creations can be protected by some form of intellectual property law. Intellectual property divides the universe of intellectual creations into three domains: copyrights, trademarks and patents. In a nutshell, copyright protects expression, trademark protects names, and patents protect ideas.”<br /> http://www.benedict.com/<br />
Why does copyright protection exist?<br />People felt that creativity was a worthwhile endeavor. <br />A composer who wrote music or an author who wrote a book could either receive one fee for their work and be a pauper or could receive a perpetual income related to the popularity of their work and have the financial encouragement to continue composing or writing.<br />Basically, copyright is a way to say that we appreciate the creative works of people and feel they should be compensated for their efforts.<br />
So, the following are copyrighted:<br />Written expression (books, articles, plays, informational websites, etc.)<br />Music and audio recordings<br />Choreography<br />Artistic works (paintings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, etc.)<br />Basically any form of expression is protected by copyright as soon as it is in “a fixed, tangible form”. http://www.benedict.com/Info/Law/What.aspx<br />
So, what can educators use?<br />Anything in public domain<br />Anything that falls within the fair use guidelines<br />Anything the creator grants permission for you to use<br />
Public Domain<br />Since copyright law is primarily to compensate people who create, at some point after their death the creation enters into public domain and any one can use it with paying a royalty. <br />The timing of when a creation becomes public domain has changed many times and can be determined by a somewhat complicated flowchart. See the flowchart at http://www.benedict.com/Info/Law/Duration.aspx .<br />
Fair Use<br />The premise behind copyright law was to prevent theft of intellectual material (prevent someone from making money off someone else’s creation).<br />
To be considered fair use of a copyrighted work ALL of these conditions must be met:<br />Purpose must be for teaching, news reporting, research, criticism or other non-profit use.<br />The work is worthy of copyright protection. Technically anything our students write is protected by copyright, but not all of it is something that people would pay money to read.<br />The amount of material used is a small fraction of the whole work. No more was taken than necessary to achieve the academic purpose. The general guideline for music is whichever is shorter: 10% or 30 seconds. These are guidelines, but not stated rules.<br />The use will not cause financial harm to the creator.<br />
Permission Granted: Wikimedia Commons<br />A service of Wikipedia<br />Free use images<br />Has 8 million media files<br />Check it out: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page<br />
So, let’s play legal or illegal!<br />You go to Applebee’s for your birthday and they sing you the traditional song “Happy Birthday to you…”<br />ILLEGAL – this is the reason restaurants make up their own birthday songs. “Happy Birthday” is still protected by copyright.<br />The first few bars of “Hey Jude” is offered as a free ringtone.<br />LEGAL as long as the company is not making money off it and it’s only a small portion of the song.<br />Teenagers downloading songs from a website for free.<br />ILLEGAL if the artist has not granted permission, but LEGAL if the artist has offered it for free to try to build their fan base.<br />A teacher showing a movie like ”Apollo 13” for science class.<br />ILLEGAL Even though most teachers use whole movies, it is not really fair use and therefore technically illegal.<br />
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