I take copyright laws quite seriously. I feel strongly that if someone has created something, they deserve to be recognized and paid fairly for it. Teaching copyright in Asia, where there are virtually no guidelines (that I am aware of) is a struggle. The first time I became really aware of copyright was when I began submitting flip charts onto Promethean Planet as part of a ActiveInspire Level 1 – Skills Course. I became quite conscious of each image I had on my flip chart and made sure I was able to credit the author and the website I got it from. At first this was quite labor intensive but after awhile I would just save the URL when I used each picture. It was at this point that I started teaching my children to use Creative Commons Search to search for images to use in their work. My students are 6-7 years old and they use images for Powerpoint / Keynote presentations and KidBlogs. I can’t be sure exactly how much of our conversations and me commenting on their work and giving positive recognition to students who did use images that were free for use sunk in, but I do feel I made a dent in them and at least brought it to their attention. I think it is important that all teachers become educated in this and as they go through the grades copyright and fair use needs to be encouraged. As I am beginning to think about re writiing my school’s Acceptable Use Policy, I am realizing that it is a good idea to add something in about copyright and fair use.
On the other hand, I think it is a bit of a double edged sword. As I mentioned previously, I have created flip charts that I have submitted to Promethean Planet for other teachers to potentially find useful and download. I am aware that some teachers might perhaps pretend it is their work to their peers. I understand and accept that I will probably never find this out, so it doesn’t really bother me. I am not trying to make money off my flipcharts which is probably why I don’t mind, and I can see how it would be very frustrating if I was a creative person trying to make a living off my artistry.
I read an interesting article about how the Belgian copyright society wants royalties for library volunteers who read to small groups of children. I think this is taking it to a ridiculous level, quite frankly.