Peek at the Tech TEKS Image

As we introduce more projects into our classrooms that allow for students to be creative, we need to ensure they understand their responsibilities when it comes to the use, acquisition, and citing of sources as it relates to copyright and fair use.  Students should not just know that they can’t use a resource, they need to understand why.  They need to be aware of the rules and limitations when using another’s products.  Let’s take a peek at another section of the Digital Citizenship Tech TEKS.

(5)  Digital citizenship. The student practices safe, responsible, legal, and ethical behavior while using technology tools and resources. The student is expected to:

(A)  understand copyright principles, including current laws, fair use guidelines, creative commons, open source, and public domain;

(B)  practice ethical acquisition of information and standard methods for citing sources;

Copyright laws are in place to help protect anyone who has created a piece of work that is original.  It can range from poetry or stories to images and videos to songs and dances.  It does not matter if it is published on a website or written on a napkin, the original creator is protected by copyright.  If students are going to use someone else’ work, they need to be sure they are working within the laws and providing credit to the original artist.

A great way to introduce copyright and fair use is to show the video below that was created by Professor Eric Faden from Bucknell University.  I found the video on the Stanford Law School website:

The video is a bit long, but it is broken down into “chapters” which allows you to pause the video to have a conversation about what was covered in each chapter.  The chapters are as follows:

  1. Copyright Definition
  2. What Things Can Be Copyrighted
  3. Copyright Duration and Public Domain
  4. Fair Use
  5. Why Use Disney Cartoons? (a spoof on Disney since many of our copyright laws and language originates with Disney)

Take some time to show this to your classes before they start down the creative path.  It should be a great way to drum up some conversation on the do’s and don’ts when using someone else’ work.