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Copyright policy critique


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Copyright policy critique

  1. 1. Copyright 1 Copyright Policy Critique May 29, 2009 ITEC 8530 Laurie Roberts
  2. 2. Copyright 2 I firmly believe that you are never too young or too old to learn about copyright laws (Shaw, 2003). Who would have ever thought that anyone would have ever been put on probation for copyright infringement? However, it is occurring now, more than ever. This is a result of our society being able to access a wide variety of information through the internet. If you were to walk into a school media center today, you would see almost every computer screen opened to an internet browser. Years ago, you would have never imagined being able to download a song or ring tone to a MP3 player or cell phone. Many people do not realize what can and cannot be copied off of the internet because they think that if it is on there for free, it is fair game. This is why copyright laws should be made readily accessible for students and teachers. Our school has a copyright policy, but it is too vague. It should be changed so that it states what can and cannot be copied or used, in terms that can be understood by all. The current policy states that the school system media specialists recognize the significance of the Copyright Law of the United States and Fair Use guidelines with reference to print and non- print materials, and other media and/ or instructional materials. Could you see a first graders face if you read this policy to them and asked them to tell you what it meant? The statement expresses their belief and informs everyone that the school understands the importance of abiding by the copyright laws. This statement would be good to place on the media center website, however, teachers and students need examples of things that they can and cannot copy. This not only applies at school, but also at home. The children need to know that it is wrong to download things like music, video clips, copying CD’s, etc., off of the internet without permission. Students might see their older brothers and sisters downloading music and videos from
  3. 3. Copyright 3 the web, and think that it is okay. But they have to know, it is not only wrong, it is illegal (Shaw, 2003). The policy should be updated to include a list of examples of things that can and cannot be used. It needs to be simplified so that it does not take a copyright expert to interpret it. The students and teachers also need to be made aware of the consequences of using something that someone else has created and not giving them credit for it. Both educators and their students need to be aware of the kinds of activities that risk copyright infringement and need to develop strategies to minimize that risk (Willard, 2004). They need to know that just because it is out there, does not mean that they can use it without acknowledging the person that worked hard to create it. Always remember, if you are unsure, do not do it. The school did include the copyright and fair use guidelines for teachers from Tech Learning in their handbook. I think that this is a great policy. It includes the medium and the specifics of each medium or what is included under each category. It also includes what can be done and the fine print, which gives a great detail to how it can be used if it is going to be copied. For example, it includes the medium category of videotaping. It states that videos can be used that whether they were purchased or rented, dvds can be used, and laserdiscs can be used. It also states that teachers may use the materials in their classroom, and that they may be copied for archival purposes or if they are being used to replace something that was lost or stolen. The last part of this category states that the material must be used in the classroom where the teacher will be using face to face instruction, and should not be used for entertainment or reward. The last thing that it states is that if these are used in a project, then credit needs to be given to the
  4. 4. Copyright 4 copyright holder. I think that this is an example of a plan that should be used and followed. It tells everything without leaving any room for confusion. If someone were to read this chart and didn’t know anything about copyright, they would be able to follow it. When students understand that copyright laws protect their personal interests, they will be more inclined to respect the copyright rights of other creators. Copyright law reflects an important balance between the rights of the creators and the benefits to society resulting from the creation and dissemination of creative works. It is important to keep this balance in mind when addressing copyright in schools (Willard, 2004). It is the responsibility of the media specialist to present this information to the teachers and students. Copyright laws are often overlooked, with thoughts that no one will ever catch me doing this. They are often overlooked because many people are not educated on them. In addition to the focusing on the importance of the laws, it is also necessary to focus on the importance of a more effective school policy. When students and teachers become aware of the importance of the laws and understand them more clearly, they will be able to be followed more closely. How can we say that we are abiding by the laws, if our policy is so vague? By updating our policy, it will ensure that our school is following the goals that we have set. It is essential that we constantly update and improve our policy for copyright, because of new information being placed on the internet daily. The new policy will establish the criteria for what the students and teachers are legally allowed to copy and use.
  5. 5. Copyright 5 References Shaw, R. (2003, September 1). Kindergarten Copyright. TechLearning. Retrieved May 29. 2009 from Show Article. php?articleID=13100799 Willard, N. (2002, June 28). School, the Internet, and Copyright Law. Education World. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from tech/tech121.shtml Chart retrieved from:
  6. 6. Copyright 5 References Shaw, R. (2003, September 1). Kindergarten Copyright. TechLearning. Retrieved May 29. 2009 from Show Article. php?articleID=13100799 Willard, N. (2002, June 28). School, the Internet, and Copyright Law. Education World. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from tech/tech121.shtml Chart retrieved from: