Thinking about copyright issues this week and where we need to draw the line in the sand, so to speak. After reading several articles, including several posts by Wesley Fryer, like his information about the use of iTunes in education and his Copyright 101 story, I still had several questions running through my mind. For one, why is an article from 2003 still at the forefront of articles on this topic? Are there better, more informative, and more current pieces of information out there? And, why are so many educators okay with ‘toeing’ the copyright line?
Fryer makes many good points in the article, including stipulating, “Not only do educators have a responsibility and legislative mandate to model ethical, legal, and appropriate respect for US copyright law in their own teaching, but they must also educate the next generation about the importance and requirements of intellectual property law.”
I think for many years teachers have always told their students about the hazards of copying written work from another source and passing it off as your own. Despite knowing that they shouldn’t do it, I find kids repeatedly copying sentences and paragraphs from the web and thinking that it’s no big deal. To me, this indicates one thing: we have to do a better job teaching students how to digest information and make their own meaning from what they read. We need to teach them how to research and pull apart what they are reading. Too many teachers assume that this is a step that can be skipped and just send kids off to research. If students had a better grasp of how to research, understand, and make their own meaning, then I think the plagiarism of the written word would become less of a problem.
However, with technology making images, music, and other work more available than ever to anyone in any location, we now must share with students the importance of protecting everyone’s rights to their own creations beyond just written work, like pictures, images, presentations, and music to name a few. Education World has a five part series on their site called The Educator’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use. It talks about all the main points of copyright and the ins and outs of ‘Fair Use’. I think that it is a good reference point for educators looking for information.
So, all this thinking about copyright and a phone call with a friend reminded me of another issue I had on my mind lately. My friend mentioned her use of the site Pinterest, and I said that I hadn’t been on there in awhile because I had read some interesting articles about copyright violations through ‘pinning’ pictures and the site’s Terms of Service (which not coincidentally were updated just a week ago) leaving their users high and dry if you were accused of pinning copyrighted work. A little research led to a slew of articles.
- Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations? by Greekgeek
This article was really interesting because it clearly explains the problem that Pinterest is having with individuals as they ‘pin’ work to their boards. Greekgreek demonstrates how the Creative Commons licensed image she uses in the article was pinned several times, but while she links it back to the original owner, the Pinterest pics link back to her article, failing to credit the original creator. There are also more comments on the article than one could read, but some from people whose images are being illegally pinned and how it is affecting their work. Plus, Greekgeek links many other resources on the topic.
- Anthony Kosner’s Forbes article- Pinterest: Napster for Housewives or Wake Up Call for a Better Copyright Idea?
This article gives details about the lawyer and Pinterest user (Kirsten Kowalski) who first ‘blew the whistle’ on the copyright issues with Pinterest.
- Here is Kirsten Kowalski’s original blog post: Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards
There is also an update to her original post about the new Pinterest Terms of Service.
So, do you ‘pin’? How does this knowledge affect your use or non-use of the site? I’m curious to see where everyone ‘draws the line’. As of now, my account is still there, but I haven’t pinned anything in months because of these developments. Let me know what you think!