Friday, March 23, 2007

Redefining Copyright....

I have been mulling over the ideas of copyright, since I saw MWesch's Video...and since Google has recently been in the news over their lawsuit with Viacom, I have started to think about it a lot more.

Many of the teachers with whom I work have been assigning multimedia projects... very powerful opportunities for the students to show what they have learned. However, the questions that the students have raised as they come to me to consult with their projects have cause me to think a lot about the ethics of internet content....

A student studying stereotyping in advertisements... goes right to You Tube for her content and finds it is filtered on our district server. Retro Junk is a site which is not filtered, but because content can be added by anyone really does fall into the same category. Does it count as a primary source? Can the videos be used under fair use?

What if the student only wants to use a piece of something-they want to download the content? If they are not taking the video from the primary source, do they have the right?

In reality, a savy student can do a simple search for video downloader....Once they realize the file is not in a form that can be edited....ok do a simple search for file conversion... and viola instant editable video. Developers have created these types of software and they are free.....hmmmmm has really got me thinking.

So this morning I decided to test the process, see how it worked. As I was following links to kid of test this process, I happened upon where you can find all kinds of trailers for movies, etc.... Kids COULD follow the above steps, find a trailer, download it, convert it and use it in a school project under the guidelines of fair use IF--they follow the fair use guidelines. HERE is a link to a ton of copyright resources. I really like the 2 page pdf chart from From October 2002 Technology & Learning Magazine . However I think that many teachers and students do not know these guidelines like they should when assigning (or completing) multimedia projects.

I try to convince the students that no matter what, these user contributed sites do not qualify as a PRIMARY source...that the content does NOT BELONG to YouTube, that sometimes the content posted on YouTube does not even belong to the poster. I try to steer them towards sites that are more reliable and often make the point that they are striving to make more effectively.

Some of the issues mentioned in this CNN video about the YouTube lawsuit by Viacom include Viacom's claim that even though they promised to remove over 100, 000 videos that violate copyright, tens of thousands of clips remain. While they suggest that YouTube establish a better filter system, the problem is that even when they do remove the videos in question, any user can put them back up. What was most interesting was that in my hyperlinking, this morning I ended up on Universal Pictures site. It was not surprising that a banner on the top of the site states "We have updated our privacy policy as of 3/20/2007. Please click HERE to view our new privacy policy. By using this website you are agreeing to be bound by our privacy policy and our terms of use." Of course these policies clearly state that everything seen or read on the Site is copyrighted unless otherwise noted, and may not be used except as provided in these Terms and Conditions without the written permission of Universal.

On the flip side, by going through the process to get what they need....are these students not developing higher level thinking skills, creativity, collaboration and all of those other great 21st Century skills we are trying to create?

Is it time for schools to start imposing stricter policies for violation of copyright in digital projects? And...just whose responsibility is it? OR do these uses constitute fair use?

Please offer your thoughts and help me wrap my head around this...

1 comment:

  1. Hello Kristen,
    Thanks for visiting my site, I'm so pleased that the creator of the video that I embedded came to visit. It's the best presentation I've seen in a long time on the topic of digital native learning needs. I've added a new post to my blog about copyright. In it is a PPT slideshow about the TEACH act, which you are welcome to use. I hope we stay in touch as we develop our blogs.