Friday, April 11, 2014

Thoughts on Copyright (AAIM Conference Reflection)

(image from

I attended a session about Copyright and Fair Use led by Dr. Michael Mills (University of Central Arkansas) on the last day of the AAIM Conference. Dr. Mills brought up some great concepts that everyone in education should know about and incorporate into their good practices!

The first items he presented dealt with the different areas for seeking digital media to use. He suggested using the following "stair steps":

A. Use personal collections first (when possible). This is a great point. Students and teachers all carry some type of camera (and videocamera) on Smartphones. We should use them to increase the body of digital media available on the Internet! Take pictures and upload to a site such as Flickr (place the Creative Commons license on your photos so others can use as long as they cite you as the owner)!

B. Use public domain and government resources when possible ( you can specify this in a Google Advanced search by going to a .gov site).

C. Use resources with the Creative Commons license! These can be shared (and sometimes modified) so long as the owner is cited. Dr. Mills mentioned that Flickr uses Creative Commons licensing.

D. If you must use copyrighted materials and resources... use them responsibly. When in doubt, get permission from copyright holders. When you can't get permission, check your usage according to the following four points:

1. Purpose and character of the use. Is it for educational use? The use shouldn't take away from the copyright holder's right to create for money.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work. The usage can be a criticism, commentary, parody, or a transformation of the original work.

3. The amount and substance of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. (Use the least amount necessary to get the job done).

4. The effect of the use upon the potential market or value of the copyrighted work. (Again, you aren't selling the product. It is being used for educational purposes).

I left this session feeling empowered and less afraid of using copyrighted digital resources. I intend to teach the usage "stair step" concept to students and teachers in the future. I also want to read more on my own to learn more! Dr. Mills made a good point: We need to use Fair Use, or lose it!

Here are two books I have purchased to dig deeper into this important area of knowledge.

Hobbs, Renee. Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2010. Print. 

Russell, Carrie. Complete Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. Print. 

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