Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Simplifying Copyright Guidance for Educators

I posted the following as a comment to Ann Krembs‘ post “Do you have a simple explanation for copyright?” on Jeff Utech‘s U Tech Tips blog. Ann shared Copyright Central’s six minute video, “Copyright Basics – The Video,” in the post. This video is ok overall, but falls far short of the key message I think we need to be sharing as and with educators when it comes to copyright / intellectual property. I do like the way the video highlights the 4 factors which US copyright law specifies for consideration in “fair use” determinations. Still, I don’t think this video hits the mark for educators because it completely fails to address Creative Commons licensing as well as homegrown media.

Creative Commons tshirt: I love to share!

This was my comment to Ann:

I really think it is critical we find viable ways to simplify copyright discussions. I don’t have a cute acronym for this yet, but the following is what we’re recommending teachers use as guidelines in our “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” project:

H- Homegrown media
C- Creative Commons licensed media
F – Fair Use of other media

Basically, the idea is that if you can create your own media, you don’t need to ask someone else’s permission to use it in your work. There are limits to this, of course, when you photograph people or copyrighted/trademarked items. Still, this is a good first step.

The second option is to utilize Creative Commons licensed media. Again this is not a panacea, as the Virgin-Australia Flickr photo lawsuit awhile back showed. Still, it can be great to avoid the Fair Use ambiguities by using CC media for which a license to reuse under certain conditions has been granted.

The third option is to look at fair use, and that is what gets complicated. I appreciate you letting me know about this new video, I’d also commend the copyright and fair use materials distributed by Temple University’s Media Education Lab:

If you have a suggestion for how to make the above “H-C-F” process more memorable I’d love to hear it. I shared a “Copyright for Educators” preso in Portland that is available as a slidecast/slideshare, which explains this in some additional detail.

For more background and discussion of the Flickr / Virgin Mobile Australia situation, see my January 2008 post, “Understanding and respecting copyright a problem for many.”

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6 responses to “Simplifying Copyright Guidance for Educators”

  1. Joshua Williams Avatar

    Thanks for this post and the video! Just Diigo’d.

  2. Ann Krembs Avatar

    I actually agree with your opinion of the video, yet I still wanted to promote it as a visual explanation of copyright. It’s short and quirky and hopefully appealing to students. I plan to make more posts on The Dear Librarian about an easier way to understand fair use, a description of creative commons, and the ideas of homegrown media. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to think of creative ways to use the HCF! (And I’ll watch your copyright powerpoint up above;) I’ll let you know what I come up with.


  3. […] Simplifying Copyright Guidance for Educators Excellent post from Wesley Fryer on his blog […]

  4. Sue Waters Avatar

    I don’t promote or talk about fair use in blog posts because fair use laws vary between countries.

    It is a really dangerous trap for new people because they read articles on fair use (mostly written in USA) and assume those laws apply to them. If they stick to H- Homegrown media and understanding C- Creative Commons licensed media then it is more likely they won’t run into copyright issues.

    The other important law that individuals don’t appreciate is the “Right to free speech”. Once again USA based law. In Australia we don’t have a right to free speech and can be sued for information placed online so besides appropriate online etiquette you also need to consider this implication.

  5. Kristin Hokanson Avatar

    Wes…when considering fair use it is SO important to emphasize the reasoning process that goes along with deciding whether a use is a fair use. In addition to the resources on the Media Lab site I would think about this reasoning form also developed in collaboration with the Media Education Lab to help teachers to exercise their rights to fair use and think through that process.

  6. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    One addition to this model that we’ve added at some point is “public domain.” Images and other content in the public domain should be first on the list of media to use along with “homegrown” sources.