Friday, May 9, 2008

Copyright Laws or Waiting for Divine Intervention

I continue to become more and more aware of how little we know about copyright laws in education. Just for fun, walk through your school and try to find the person who really knows the laws. Yet we expect our kids to follow these laws. I think in many ways we are waiting for divine intervention.

If our staff doesn't understand the laws, then they are clearly not teaching them to kids. How exactly do think they are learning these laws. Here is another assignment. Now that you have found out that no one in your building can explain the laws to you, go locate a binder or a weblink or something connected to your school that explains it all. Good luck. Don't forget your magnifying glass and Sherlock Holmes hat.

We need to do a better job of educating ourselves and our kids on copyright laws. Just for fun, here is a short list of things you definitely can NOT do:

Your kids can not go to and download songs to embed in their movies.

They can not add photos from the Internet to put into their presentations without citing their sources appropriately. And no friends, Google is not a source.

TEACHERS can NOT make multiple copies of CD's to share with their grade level, even if it is for educational use.

As we rewrite our Acceptable Use Policy for the fall and go into curriculum review next year, expect to hear a lot more about this issue. And expect to see a lot of visibility for it (read: weblinks, posters, lesson plans, etc...) If you have any other good ideas on how to communicate appropriate use and copyright laws to staff, students, and parents, let me know. Thanks.

In the meantime, here are a couple good websites with info on copyright laws. 


  1. I am glad to hear that teaching everyone about copyright laws will be a part of next year's focus. A lot of us could use could use some lessons in how we can and can't use materials.

    I am delighted that you used the exact phrase "Google is not a source!" At the beginning of the year I gave the "Google is not a source" speech to my classes and by now most of my students can recite the phrase, but it was a long process to teach them how to understand what a search engine is and when they have moved from one site to another. They will be excited to know that Mr. Zukor believes that "Google is not a source" too.

  2. Seems that we're not the only ones looking at AUPs these days.

    Don't forget, too, that this is an area that your Media Specialists can be helpful in developing. We don't necessarily have the answers, but we've been asking the copyright questions all along!

  3. @jsamec-

    I have been looking over Warlick's wiki also. Lots of good resources.

    I agree that media specialists are an important part of this. I would like to get input from all of you. I am sure I will be contacting you with lots of questions as we move forward.


    Thanks for your work debunking the "Google is a source" myth.

    I especially agree with your second sentence,
    "A lot of us could use could use some lessons in how we can and can’t use materials."

    I think this process is as much about educating our staff as it is about educating our students. It's going to be a long road!