Category Archives: Copyright

Glogster must be for kids, right?

So, I took a short workshop last year on using Glogster from a fellow teacher at my school … it was scheduled for one hour but I think we spent 30 minutes playing around with our glog.  Well, I decided to use it to create some poster/flyer/advert for our creative commons group project … I thought about how the music and film industries are crying over lost profits due to online sharing of their “products” … this gave me the idea to use Jessie J’s song “price tag” because it talks about how everyone/thing is (shouldn’t be) about money:

Since the music and film industries have been trying to scare people into not sharing by telling them that it’s a crime, I decided to go with it being about respect for the artist and for talent.

This was followed up with a rubric for students who will create similar products.

Fair is not always equal!

This is actually a quote from a famous teacher who has spent most of his life working with and speaking about kids with special needs.  The premise is that what is fair for one student may not be fair for the others such as giving a student more time on a test or giving one student more praise just because she/he needs it more … and this is fine!  We, teachers, differentiate our lessons as well as our energy and praise for our students.  For instance, some students need to be pushed more and some do not but that doesn’t mean that the non-pushed students do not need something else.  In effect, it is not necessary to give all students equal treatment … instead, our focus should be on giving students what they need individually … and this is “fair”!

To tie this into copyright and “fair” use, we do see a conundrum or a discrepancy in what is fair for one industry is not fair for others.  For instance, the music industry is still trying to hold on to their privileges that come with producing a song or album when, in fact, they are just “created” words/lyrics combined with musical notes.  Thus, the public is actually paying for an overpriced piece of material called a CD!  The music industry executives have gone to great lengths to keep their privileges intact since there has been a long history of profit for them over the years.  The movie/film industry has pretty much given up now on trying to restrict sharing of their productions and have turned their focus to selling their “product” as an experience — that is, viewing their film on a huge screen with comfortable seats and gorgeous sound.  Basically, what they see as fair is not equally fair for the public who have spent far too much money on movies and music over the years.  What is fair for the music and movie/film industries is not necessarily fair for the public, right?  “Fair use” might become a term of the past as it is pretty much insignificant to much of the world except large industries that could be sued for using copyrighted material(s) to make a profit.

All this talk about copyright and fair use had me thinking that I might come from a different world: Los Angeles! :-)  In LA, many of my friends work as professional actors, musicians, writers and animation artists who must continuously deal with this issue.  We have had many conversations around this topic and, of course, there is much disagreement.  Many have made large sums of money working in these industries and so, of course, they want to protect their royalties and their positions, although they seem to understand that they can’t do much to stop the sharing and downloading of certain products.  One of my closest friends still gets work doing commercials and such because he is a character actor but he has recently told me that things are rough.  And my other good friend works as a writer for the Los Angeles Times and she knows that the slow decline of newspapers is inevitable unless something radical happens or a drastic shift in how newspapers can generate revenue.