Clearing Up Copyright Confusion Session

Copyright Confusion Session

Kristin Hokanson with Renee Hobbs

  • Exercising fair use demands an expanded conception of literacy that includes mass media, popular culture, and communication skills
  • Copyright confusion — the end has arrived with the  Code of Best Practices for Fair Use
  • Purpose of copyright: to promote creativity, innovation, and the spread of knowledge — Article 1, Section 8 of the Contitution
    • Copyright was not designed to have forceful restrictions
  • How teachers coped
    • “I am going to do what I want”
    • “Close the door”
    • “Hyper-comply”
  • Problem — the educational use guidelines are still confusing
    • These are negotiations between media companies and educational groups
    • But, these “guidelines” are not the law — these documents give them the appearance of law, but they are not and the guidelines have a negative effect on education
  • Transformative use
  • Creative Commons looks at owner’s rights
    • Lessig’s idea — let’s give the owners some options
    • But, users still have rights under fair use, too
    • Think of Creative Commons as an owner right and fair use as a user right
  • TEACH Act and Digital Millenium Copyright Act have limited fair use
    • No teacher has ever been sued under fair use — but cease and desist letters are used to create fear and uncertainty
    • This is all the copyright holders can do — not really force you to take something down
  • Almost all parodies are protected under fair use
  • There are fair uses that are not transformative, too
    • Some can be illustrative, so long as it benefits society more than it harms the copyright holder
    • All fair use is based on informed opinion — did we make a good faith interpretation, especially for educational purposes
    • Fair use is an interpretation that we, as educators, are obligated to do under the law

Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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