More Copyright Craziness

In many of my previous posts I’ve discussed the climate of fear that exists in education surrounding copyright laws. 

I had the great fortune of being able to discuss this topic on a larger scale at the E-Learning Revolution Conference this week. While there was only about 200 people at the conference, those that were in attendance were district Technology Directors, Instructional Tech Specialists, and other administrators. But I’ve got to give a shout out to the 9-month employed teachers (like myself) that took time out of their summer vacation to attend this conference. 

In short, I discussed the history of copyright law, the doctrine of fair use, and other acts such as the TEACH Act and DCMA. Most importantly, I emphasized the power of Fair Use and that various checklists referencing the awful “Fair Use Guidelines for Classroom Use” are misleading teachers and just add to the climate do fear. (Not to mention that they don’t accurately reflect the law!).

I referenced a lot of the fine print (literally, the fine print) that exists on many of here documents. I could tell from participants initial reaction that this was their first time seeing these. 

When the session was over, I felt good. I felt that people really learned something. 

Here is the link to the Smore I made:

And my slides:

And then….

During day 2 of the conference I attended a session discussing the design elements that are available in PowerPoint and how one can make their presentations more engaging by adding some of these elements. Overall, it was a great session. My only riff was when the presenter told the audience that they can’t use copyrighted materials because “they could get sued.” He then proceeded to tell a story about how his friend received a letter making him pay $2,000 for using an image on his website. Looking around the room, I knew that the fear had returned. I was devastated. After inquiring a little more about this letter, I learned that his friend wasn’t a teacher. In fact, the picture he used was for a website for a large bed and breakfast! Commercial use, non-transformative…this clearly was not an apples to apples comparison. Not by a long-shot. But it didn’t matter, it was too late. I was completely deflated and the power that I feel I invoked in my participants was also deflated. 

One step forward and two steps back. 

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