Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Lesson on Reflection: MORE Copyright Confusion...

One of the things I love most about my job is the opportunity to learn and reflect on new ways of doing things with a really AMAZING group of educators. One of the projects I have been working on is a research project on the animal kingdom with several of the biology classes in our school. The objective was to teach the kids to use research skills to become experts on a particular phylum or class and then to build a web page based on how this phylum or class fit into the animal kingdom. In addition they were to create a "guide" some questions that were of importance if someone were to learn about their particular class. In essence we were creating a virtual zoo that users could visit to see what they learned.

Within the project... students use library data bases and google docs to research, wikispaces to discuss and plan, noodletools to cite our information, flickr as a way to find images that we could use under Fair Use Guidelines. Wee discussed the ideas of transformativeness...and yet the morning after we posted the drafts to our podcast server for the students to check their work for accuracy, we received a few somewhat threatening emails from Flickr users regarding our "theft" of their content.

-----Email 1-----
It is not legal or moral to use what belongs to others.
At least when it is without permission. I realize that in making my photos public on the photo sharing site Flickr.com I've left myself open to pirates taking my photos and using them with out permission to do so but it is especially disheartening to find people within the realm of education so flagrantly disregarding copyright law and decency. Had you asked to use my photo for your project i would have gladly dug out the original and sent you a higher quality image for your site.
I cannot help but wonder if in addition to biology your school is also teaching children that theft morally justified. I will be searching your site for the use of other stolen images and notifying the Flickr users involved.

----Email 2-----

What does it teach your students to ignore copyright symbols and simply take what they want from the web?
I am referring to one of my images used without permission on: (note site page removed to protect identity of writer)
I have been asked to use my images by many others, I've always given permission to students and non-profit organizations. To use a copyrighted image without permission (credited or not) is stealing.

Now as you can tell by my last post, I am really questioning the ideas of copyright and fair use, so I crafted this response and sent it off to the users...

Thank you for contacting us. Copyright is designed not only to protect the rights of owners, but also to preserve the ability of users to promote creativity and innovation. As a school moving to a 1:1 laptop environment we are working hard to teach our students ethical use as content creators. One of the things that we stress STRONGLY with our students is the ideas of Fair Use and transformativeness... I have been involved with a study through Temple Media Lab http://www.mediaeducationlab.com/index.php?page=265 and have spent a lot of time discussing with teachers and students their role when creating transformative content using materials that belong to others as we design our project. You can read about how I have been struggling with these issues as well

Traditionally Educational use of media had to pass four tests to be appropriate and fair according to U.S. Code Title 17 107:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is commercial or nonprofit
2. the nature of the use
3. the amount of the use
4. the effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work.

However, what is fair, because it is transformative, is fair regardless of place of use or even purpose. Even in commercial use there have been instances where permission has been denied and works have been used in a transformative way. Peter Jaszi a copyright attorney and professor of Law at The American University, who is a partner in the Fair Use for Educators study, points to Bill Graham Archives vs.Dorling Kindersley (2006) http://fairuse.stanford.edu/primary_materials/cases/GrahamKindersley.pdf as an example of how courts liberally interpret fair use even with a commercial publisher. In summary, Dorling Kindersley wanted to include images of posters owned by the Bill Graham Archives in a book they were writing, Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip, a cultural history of the band. They sought permission to use the posters and although permission was refused, DK choose to use the images anyway. A suit was filed against DK for copyright infringement and the the case was thrown out, based on DK's claim of fair use. You see, the posters were originally created to promote concerts the new use of the art was designed to document events in historical and cultural context. The publisher added value in its use of the posters and such use was transformative.

We have worked through the project to have the students use images from Flickr and for the student to use advanced search to find images whose license under creative commons states that they are free to modify, adapt rework. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ If you are concerned about permissions, there is a way in flickr for you to set the protection on your images so that they are copyrighted and may no be downloaded with out permission. Images posted in this way do not provide a download link and if a user attempts to download them they receive a file that is called a spaceball.gif...the image will not copy and can not be downloaded. In addition one of the requirements of the project was for them to site these images by linking to the page in which the image was taken. In this way under fair use we were not only transforming the original work (changing the intended purpose) but crediting the user and linking to their other work (adding value).

If there was an image that a student really wanted to use, and it was copyrighted (not freely available under creative commons), we did ask the students contact the users. If you can refer us to the specific web page(s) that contained your images, I will be happy to check to make sure that they have correctly linked back to your work or have the student replace your photos with others, especially if you did not intend for your images to be available under creative commons.

Right now, we are in the revision phase (students are peer evaluating and making content changes etc) but I am out of the district and cannot make any changes to the site until I get back. Please let us know what pages / images are yours and how you would like us to proceed whether the students may use the images as linked or you would like us to find replacement images. I might suggest however, that you check how your work is licensed on the flickr site so you do not have a situation like this occur in the future.
I look forward to your reply.


I also sent it to my friends at Temple Media Lab and a summary of their response is below...

Wow! I am so impressed by your thoughtful and eloquent response to that Flickr user. I can certainly see why teachers would not want to use copyrighted materials after receiving angry emails like that. In my opinion, you are absolutely correct. While the extent to which the use of these pictures is transformative is debatable, I think you have a strong fair use argument and the links to the original sources on the pictures were a courtesy (although apparently not enough for this particular Flickr user).

She also shared a situation in which her boyfriend, a professional photographer took a photo of a local restaurant and put it on his website, where everything is marked with a Creative Commons “no commercial use”/ “attribution is necessary” license. The restaurant then took that photo for its commercial promotional materials without compensating him in any way. That is clearly unfair but it did give the kids an understanding about why photographers might feel that permissions are important.

So after the final drafts were turned in, the teacher posted a powerpoint slide with 3 questions....
  • During the virtual zoo project: How did we ensure that all necessary measures were taken to avoid using copyrighted information/ information?
  • How did ensure that the value of the pictures on our webpages was increased through our use?
  • Does anyone care?
We decided to capture their thoughts "live blog" style using cover it live so that we could continue to use this as a model and for point of discussion. Really I am glad that we got these emails, the lesson that we did initially on Fair Use and Transformativeness was not NEARLY as powerful as the students' reflections on the ideas we taught afterwards. I think what we REALLY learned was...

It is SO important when we look at anything we do, to consider the process and not just the product. Seeing the virtual zoo alone without the project requirements is not a reflection of what the students were given as a task NOR a reflection of the evaluation of the students' work.

Reflection is important. I think that had the students not had the opportunity to have to think about the idea of copyright and fair use from BOTH SIDES...content owner and content creator, they may

I am confident that as this group of students goes on to do other projects, they are going to think twice about the source and how they are going to transform the works they are using....and isn't that our goal, to produce students who have the ability to think about things at a higher level....

but don't just take my word for it...look at what the kids had to say

Even more refections & thoughts are here http://kushnerkorner.wikispaces.com/Zoo_Reflection

Would love to hear YOUR thoughts?

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Math & Science Bookmarks from Diigo 04/15/2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bookmarks from Diigo Week of 04/07/2008

Superintendent's Blog

tags: adminblog

Gray Seal Facts - National Zoo| FONZ

tags: zoo, virtual_field_trip, science, biology

Sample page from National Zoo.

Zoo Home

tags: zoo, virtual_field_trip, science, biology

The big zoo virtual home...organized by Kingdom Animalia...browsable...similar to the setup for our project (with ads)

WAZA - World Association of Zoos and Aquariums - Virtual Zoo

tags: zoo, virtual_field_trip, science, biology

WAZA virual zoo by species

WAZA - World Association of Zoos and Aquariums - Virtual Zoo map

tags: zoo, virtual_field_trip, science, biology

clickable zoo map goes to images which then show page about each animal

Toronto Zoo > Animals > Fact Sheet

tags: virtual_field_trip, zoo, biology, science

Toronto Zoo Fact sheet provides good examples of animals classified by habitat

Empower Peach

tags: socialstudies, collaboration

Empower Peace is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to building a worldwide network of high school students and teachers committed to breaking down cultural barriers and misperceptions through open dialogue using videoconferencing, the Internet and other new technologies. Out goal is to bring about a climate of mutual respect and understanding by exposing youth to their contemporaries from abroad.

Based on CSI

tags: csi, science, biology, forensics

Create an account for feedback

tags: free, gre, prep, resource, sat, test

SAT prep blog....has both tips and tricks as well as sample questions.

tags: sat

jm: Study for GRE, GMAT and SAT using our vocabulary builder. These FREE services also provide you with muliple choice questions to these commonly used words. You may also create your own set of cards that you can review as you learn these words.

tags: SAT, vocabulary

create an account to save your question of the day statistics

tags: sat

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bookmarks from Diigo Week of 04/01/2008

U.S. History - Roaring 20s

tags: roaring20s, socialstudies

A collection of "rated" sites from besthistorysites.net and taching with technology

Parade of games in PowerPoint

tags: templates, powerpoint

Series of downloadable powerpoint games for educators would be good to use with Interactive Whiteboards

30+ Mind Mapping Tools

tags: brainstorming, graphicorganizer, mindmap, resources

Mashables list of mindmapping tools

The Connected Classroom: Copyright Confusion

tags: copyright, fairuse, medialiteracy

My take on the copyright / fairuse conversation at Temple Media Lab. See Joyce Valenza's blog as well (below)
Interesting conversations to start to have about Fair Use and what we can do as educators. Keep an eye on the media lab at Temple as this project develops http://www.mediaeducationlab.com/index.php?page=265

NeverEndingSearch - Blog on School Library Journal

tags: fairuse, joycevalenza, medialiteracy

This is joyce's blog RE Temple Media lab discussion

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Copyright Confusion

Copyright and fair use issues are definitely things that I think about often and have written about in the past. I work with teachers both within my building and through state run programs and I have always taught people that in order for use of media to be considered appropriate and fair one must consider the following
  1. What is the purpose for which you are using (commercial or nonprofit)
  2. What is the nature of the use
  3. What amount of the work being used
  4. What is the effect of your use on copyright holder
In order to be "clear" in these "rules" I have also been steering teachers and students to use copyright friendly materials which follow fair use guidelines in the creation of their own original projects. If it didn't "fit the guidelines" we would not consider publishing the student work. HOWEVER a recent webinar on copyright and fair use has REALLY started to challenge the way I think about digital media project creation. (link at post end). The webinar was hosted by..Renee Hobbs Professor at Temple's Media Education Lab and Peter Jaszi who is a professor of Law at American University who specializes in Copyright Law. Using a model started by the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use they are working to create a statement to assist media educators in making better use of their fair use rights under copyright law. The project has been written about in many newspapers, magazines and blogs, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, School Library Journal, and Youth Media Reporter and they shared with us some of the "survival strategies that they encountered in developing their own ideas and guidelines.

During the webinar, Peter told us that one of the ways that the courts have begin to think about whether or not a given use is fair or not is through the concept of transformativeness. The idea is that when the user of copyright material has added value to existing material and has re purposed the material for an audience that is different from the one it was originally intended then the creator can go forward. Most educational uses are inherently transformative. As Peter said it is good news for educators, but it is good news that needs to be translated into more specific guidelines in order to be effective. NOT the circulating guidelines which are often given more weight or the the wrong kind of weight in practice. They were well meaning, but misunderstood as the law rather than someone's attempt to interpret the law and outerlimits vs safe harbors...floors rather than ceilings they are certain to be fair use but by no means are the limits. We also need to understand that not everything educational falls within the domain of fair use. Trying to develop guidance not from OUTSIDE the community but within a best practices in fair use for education. That the rules we learned are not really rules at all, but negotiated agreements to provide guidance but that actually limit our ability to take advantage of the full legal power of fair use.

I had some SERIOUS QUESTIONS during the webinar about what I have been asking kids to do and also how we have been limited the quality...the transformativeness of their work by holding them to these strict "guidelines" so afterwards and I contacted one of the research assistants in the project, with my questions. I shared a project in which the kids as a part of a video comparing the genocide in Darfur to the Holocaust, used an entire licensed song. Although the video was AMAZINGLY powerful, we did not publish the video. Katie & Renee seemed to feel based on their work that it would constitute fair use of the material...WOW, this changes EVERYTHING

I was really excited to be invited to join them in a discussion this past Friday night, one of several to be held around the country designed to develop a common understanding of how copyright and fair use applies to what is happening in schools. Among the folks in the room were Joyce Valenza who wrote in her Neverending Search Blog for School Library Journal... Fair use and transformativeness: It may shake your world:
"I am no longer sure that anything I learned, or anything I regularly share relating to fair use, is either helpful or relevant....
Ok, good, I wasn't the ONLY ONE who was feeling like my world was rocked...

Renee Hobbs director of the project shared with this group: copyright is designed not only to protect the rights of owners, but also to preserve the ability of users to promote creativity and innovation. Teachers are often afraid to share their innovative practices, to post materials online or distribute samples of their students’ work because of misinformation and fear. Another POWERFUL concept for me to mull around.....After introducing the project and much of the information shared at the webinar, we were asked to examine and discuss a variety of scenarios to determine what did and did not constitute fair use under the definition. I am not going to review each one and my notes were quite random, but here were some of the big talking points or questions that arose.
Is there a difference between a paper copy and a digital copy? Is it different if you make 20 copies of an article or offer 1 copy online? What about sharing 60 min video…does time make a difference. There was lots of conversation about repurposing and how once you commit to putting something online, it is out there
  • Sharing in classroom
  • Sharing in conference
  • Sharing in an email
  • Sharing on the web
  • All have different risks / ethical and moral
Can you "publish" someone's lesson plan in a book of model examples if you share it with the same purpose? What about sharing as a critical example? We shared several student examples. And what about student use of copyrighted material? If we continue to steer to creative commons and say you can ONLY have this, this or this type of content (creative commons) aren’t you doing both the kids and the creative process a disservice
I brought up an example where a teacher asked her kids to take a section of Beowolf and retell in comic form. The fun part of the project was that they were asked to think of modern day people to represent the characters in the story...The kids immediately went to google, and I cringed... The folks in the room seemed to think that this was clearly a transformative use of any images the kids found. In addition, the fact that kids needed to think through and reason WHO in the modern world make a good Beowolf is clearly a higher level skill. The conversation turned to the idea that if we send them to copyright friendly sites: then copyright becomes a wall we can’t go past and those guidelines become less of guidelines and more of rules.

Ok so why do places like the Library of Congress then offer clearly animated directions that follow these guidelines....

Peter brought up that the Library of Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of the copyright industry…When you stop to critically analyze…WHO PAID FOR IT…isn’t that a model of higher level thinking skills? The copyright industry is a fee dependent organization that is funded by movie making, music industries..they know who is paying their bills...they are going to protect the rights of these copyright holders-and who is protecting OUR rights as educators?

One of the reasons that I was so excited about this project is that in order to maintain our own creative rights, we need to articulate our OWN positions and reclaim our legal rights under the fair use doctrine and it CAN'T be just the media educators who are involve in this process.

The pedagogy of practice modeled during this experience is worth analyzing as well. Renee used an instructional method that is reasoning of principals it made us think “Fair use is an application of reason and I have to do that as an educator…” This whole process is moving us TOWARD the critical thinking goals, it is a new paradigm they are bringing to the table.
One of the stated final goals is to produce something that will make it possible for media educators to be effective, successful and model the full range for students…so when they feel challenged they have something to fall back on. I think it is essential that this information gets out to ALL teachers who are integrating technology. After all, isn't our purpose in assigning projects where kids are creating content to get them to think deeply about the material?

As Joyce wrote... Transformativeness gives us new freedoms in a mix-up, mash-up world of broadly shared media and ended her post with some pretty powerful questions I highly encourage everyone reading to check out the resources at the Media Education Lab. Watch the video Download the PDF: The Cost of Copyright Confusion
Think about the definition of transformativeness and encourage your students to do the same. And follow the work coming out of Temple Media Education Lab . It is sure to transform our practice.
THOUGHTS? What have you been teaching about fair use? Does this change the way you think?

Link to the full webinar recording