Wingate copyright critique portfolio


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Wingate copyright critique portfolio

  1. 1. Copyright Policy Critique 1 Running Head: COPYRIGHT POLICY CRITIQUE – ***** COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM Copyright Policy Critique – ***** County School System Mary “Nicole” Bennett Wingate Georgia Southern University FRIT 8530
  2. 2. Copyright Policy Critique 2 Abstract This critique addresses the need for Copyright Policies in schools and suggests a plan for implementing one in the ***** County School System. The critique also acknowledges the fact that the Internet poses new and unique challenges for defining copyright guidelines, which makes it all the more important that schools have their own Copyright Policies to address these needs. The ***** County AUP makes a slight mention of copyright issues, but this critique expands on these statements to form a well-developed copyright policy.
  3. 3. Copyright Policy Critique 3 The amount of information available online is tremendous. Just by “logging on,” people can “travel” across the country, make and chat with friends across the world, and experience firsthand, through videos and photos, experiences that were before foreign to them. The Internets use in the public school system is no different. Students have been able to use the Internet to search for information on their research paper topic, find pictures for their Social Studies project, and participate in online “field trips” and tutorials. Educators have embraced the many opportunities and experiences the Internet has allowed them to offer their students. However, with these new and exciting opportunities, comes much responsibility. Schools across the country have developed Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) that state the requirements of appropriate online use of school computers and Internet services. Since these AUPs are government mandated, they can be found in almost every school. However, the Internet has presented other challenges to the education field as well. With the introduction of the World Wide Web and its vast array of resources, copyright issues have become even trickier to define, and harder to police. With this new surge of information, it is more important than ever before that students and teachers understand, appreciate, and follow the copyright laws and rules set forth by government and school agencies. One of the most effective ways to establish these laws is through a school Copyright Policy. However, since these policies are not government mandated, several school systems fail to draft and implement a school Copyright Policy. One of these school systems lacking a policy is the ***** County School System in *****, Georgia. While searching for a school Copyright Policy for ***** County, one could not be found in the school handbooks, on the school Web Site, or through the school’s online policy manual at eBOARD solutions. Although the ***** County School System lacks a Copyright Policy, it does make mention of a few copyright issues in the school system’s very detailed Acceptable
  4. 4. Copyright Policy Critique 4 Use Policy. The School’s AUP states that (***** County Board of Education 2005) “Examples of prohibited conduct include[s]…Using the network for any illegal activity, including violation of copyright or other contracts…in violation of U.S. and State regulations” (p. 3-4). The AUP goes on to state that any student found to be breaking copyright laws using a school computer or on school grounds is subject to disciplinary actions. While this mention of copyright policy is present in the AUP, it is not sufficient enough to fully explain what is expected of students concerning copyright guidelines. After all, the AUP only addresses copyright issues when they are concerned with computer and Internet access. Though the Internet and use of computers has created new challenges for copyright guidelines, it by no means constitutes all of the copyright concerns students and teachers need to be aware of and abiding by. After all, what about all of the copyright issues that arise that are not technology related? Therefore, this minor mention of copyright policies and expectations in the school system’s AUP is not sufficient. As a result, I propose that the school draft and adopt its own Copyright Policy. Through this policy, the school can clearly relate, with adequate detail, the copyright issues and guidelines that students and teachers are expected to follow. An ideal way of beginning the policy would be a statement defining “copyright” and why it is important in schools. According to Linda Starr in her Education World article, copyright is defined as (2004) “‘the legal right granted to an author, a composer, a playwright, a publisher, or a distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work’” (part 1). By beginning the policy with a definition of copyright, readers will understand the basis for the policy they are about to read. I also suggest that the policy have a “definition section,” as was proposed by Sharon Cromwell for AUPs in her Education World article (1998, par. 3). Though she suggests this section only for AUPs, it would be equally as beneficial to readers in a Copyright Policy.
  5. 5. Copyright Policy Critique 5 There are many terms associated with copyright guidelines that the majority of readers may not understand or know. For example, fair use and public domain are two words that are bound to come up in a policy concerning copyright guidelines. By including a definition section in the policy, readers can refer back to concrete definitions of any copyright terms they find to be confusing. After an introduction and definitions section, the Copyright Policy should be broken down into different sections concerning important copyright issues. These sections should include: a section on Internet copyright guidelines, a section on copyright guidelines for print materials (including a discussion of plagiarism), a section for copyright guidelines on computers (software), a section for using copyright material for educational purposes, and a disclaimer section for the school system when appropriate copyright guidelines are not followed. By breaking the policy down into well organized sections, it is easier for the reader to follow and understand the guidelines and regulations set forth in the policy. Because of the vast amount of resources available through the Internet, a large portion of the policy may focus on Internet copyright guidelines. In this section, readers should be made aware that, as stated by Linda Starr (2004), “The Internet is not in the public domain” (part 3). In the section concerning copyright guidelines for print materials, the reader should be made aware that any source, even though properly cited and free from a plagiarism accusation, could still be breaking copyright guidelines (part 2). The ***** County School System’s AUP also makes a brief mention of software issues that should be highlighted in the computer section of the Copyright Policy. In the AUP, the ***** County Board of Education writes (2005), “No software of any kind may be brought from home for use in any school computer” (p. 6). The primary purpose for this statement in the school’s AUP is to avoid vandalism to school
  6. 6. Copyright Policy Critique 6 computers. However, this is an important issue that should be addressed when discussing copyright as well. The next section, the section on using copyright material for educational purposes, should mention fair use and the policies associated with it. The best example I saw for this section of the policy was a chart that illustrated what was and was not permitted in certain situations, according to copyright law (Jefferson County Board of Education, n.d., Library Services). I suggest creating a similar chart of what is permissible and is not permissible for both students and teachers when using copyrighted information for educational purposes. By creating a detailed chart that addresses the actions that are and aren’t permitted according to copyright laws, students and teachers have a better understanding of what is acceptable for them. And finally, the disclaimer section should basically state that any student or school employee that is found to be breaking any of the rules or guidelines set forth in the school’s Copyright Policy will be subject to disciplinary action, based on the severity of the offense. Besides organizing the policy into the above mentioned sections, I would also suggest that several pertinent copyright laws be included in the policy. Laws that should definitely be included are Title 17 in the United States Code, the Copyright Act of 1976, and the U.S. Copyright Act. By including these laws in the policy, readers are made aware of the importance placed on copyright trespasses by the U.S. government. Also, a sample permission request form should be included in the policy as a guideline for readers who must acquire permission to use a copyrighted document. By including a sample request form in the policy, the process of acquiring permission from a document’s owner is easier for the student or teacher, and they are therefore more likely to do it. And finally, a signature page should be included where students, school employees, and parents are required to sign, stating that they have read and understand
  7. 7. Copyright Policy Critique 7 the information in the Copyright Policy. This signature page is what holds the reader accountable for the information within it, and is essential to the policy as a whole. Ultimately, the creation of a Copyright Policy for the ***** County School System will be a very positive addition to the school’s already established policies. The implementation of a copyright policy will ensure that students, parents, and school employs are aware of what is expected of them, according to copyright rules in a fast-paced information world. Once again, as was the case with the AUP, the key to the Copyright Policy is detail. Readers of the policy need to be certain of what is expected of them. This can be accomplished through the implementation of a well-developed, detailed policy, organized into meaningful sections, and ending with a signature page.
  8. 8. Copyright Policy Critique 8 References Cromwell, Sharon. (1998). Getting Started on the Internet: Developing an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Retrieved February 5, 2009, from Jefferson County Board of Education. (n.d.). Copyright Guidelines. Retrieved February 8, 2009, from ***** County Board of Education. (April 11, 2005). ***** County Schools Acceptable Use Guidelines/Procedures. Retrieved February 3, 2009, from http://www.***** Starr, Linda. (2004). The Educator’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use. Retrieved February 6, 2009, from