Oh, for Cryin’ Outloud!

I’m so glad I’m not a lawyer. I wouldn’t be able to put up with all the bull hockey they give and take. Copyright questions and answers about iTunes, Podcasts, and Fair Use by Wesley Fryer touched on some important issues regarding copyright. I was shocked to read that some U.S. entertainment companies sued school districts and TEACHERS (!!) for copyright infringement. Fryer was not able to find any specific links to articles of this happening, and he mentioned for others to post links in the comment section. Unfortunately comments were turned ‘off’ and I could not find anything either. I just can’t get over that big companies would sink as low to sue the education sector, especially TEACHERS!! C’mon people! Anyone in the field of education is definitely not in it for the money! What we do is for the love of children and learning. Can’t we get a break?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I DO think copyright is important. Artists need to be able to protect their intellectual property. As I mentioned in my last post though, Hands Off! It’s MINE!, the lines separating whose intellectual property  is whose can be quite muddied sometimes.

Some rights reserved by opensourceway

I thought the performance task for this week was quite thought-provoking:

How do we teach copyright in Asia, in countries where international copyright law is not followed to begin with? What is our obligation as educators?

Some rights reserved by hmvh

Bootlegged dvd, anyone?

First of all, it’s not just Asia. This happens all over the world. I think our obligation as educators is to do just that–educate. The right thing to do is abide by copyright laws. Give credit where credit is due. Just as students wouldn’t want someone to take the clay mask they created in art class or the 5-paragraph essay they wrote in writing and call it their own, we need to show students that the same rule applies in the digital world. And just because the country you’re in doesn’t follow these laws doesn’t mean they (the laws) can be ignored, especially as they are recognized and respected (most of the time!) in the rest of the world. Many of us teach in international schools of high transitory nature; students may find themselves moving to Europe or South America in the middle of the academic year. If we fail to teach them copyright law just because our particular country doesn’t abide by it, we are disservicing our learning community. As educators (wherever we live), our duty is to create responsible digital learners. And one way we can do this is by teaching them basic copyright etiquette.

In another post by Fryer, “Understanding and respecting copyright a problem for many,” he talks about Internet safety and kids. He goes on to comment, “While I encourage AWARENESS about these cases [high schooler Allison Stokke is one], I actively discourage hysteria…” I love this statement! I find this hysteria attitude a lot in schools. Something is published using social media (oftentimes using scare tactics) and people get all worked up about it, ready to dismantle their internet access or toss their laptop. Rather than run away from whatever problem or issue it is, we need to try to understand it and build the awareness.

3 thoughts on “Oh, for Cryin’ Outloud!

  1. This may sound a bit harsh, but I honestly think that we as teachers should publicly shame any companies that try to sue teachers for copyright infringement. They are free to pursue claims against teachers, but we are also free to use the media to make people aware that these companies are going after teachers.

    Hopefully, any negative publicity directed at them will help them to, shall we say, reconsider targeting teachers in this way. I am definitely not encouraging teachers to willfully go out and use restricted materials, but I do want to let other teachers know that there are other ways for us to protect ourselves from overzealous corporations. We can shame them. Because after all, they ought to be ashamed suing a teacher who has no financial stake in using these materials and is only trying to help students to learn.

  2. There are many grey lines in education. The 10% photocopy rule from printed material. Purchasing a copy of video and burning for “educational purposes” because your distract can’t get or afford more. The list goes on. It is a shame and teacher’s are attacked. And, if they were in it for money, well, they’d mostly likely be on the corporation side. I don’t have the final answer, but all teachers have had to make tough calls about photocopying, burning, uploading, streaming, etc. However, at the end of the day, we are just trying make a lesson more interesting or creative. But, the law is the law. We are the role models and moral compass for kids. They know and watch everything we do and say. If we show that illegally downloaded video because it’s “too cool” to pass up, and the kids realize it, then we are basically giving them the green light to do it also.

    • Very good point about giving kids “the green light” when we are showing something that is clearly pirated/illegal. You’re right. They’re no dummy when it comes to, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

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