Article: “Copyright for Instructors” by Kris Shaffer

“Navigating copyright for class materials can be difficult, especially where digital media is concerned.”

While this may seem very obvious, I really do feel it captures the main/recurring theme for this week. A common conversation I have had with my peers when we are doing projects where we have to site resources revolves around how to cite the sources and if we are even allowed to be using certain pieces/works of media or literature. In all honesty, I think a lot of us feel as though our teachers have done little (and in some cases nothing) to prepare us for how to do this in our future professional lives. This is especially important when considering how a lot of people enrolled in this Teaching History With New Media are going to go on to be teachers. How can we prepare our students for this in a world that is becoming more digital if we do not have the knowledge ourselves? This is why classes and lessons like these are extremely important and need to be more widespread. This knowledge is not nearly as accessible to students as it needs to be, especially when it comes to things like copyright and fair use that are rooted in very confusing law oriented jargon. This is evident by the fact that I have never had a teacher or professor bring this subject to our attention and then actually have us spend time learning about it. Reading articles such as these is instrumental in ending this cycle. While it is going to take time and practice in order to make sure the students who are new to this are absolutely following the rules, I can say with extreme certainty that it will be worth it in the long run. Not only will this earn students better grades and make them more professional, it will also potentially save them from legal trouble.

“Generally, courts take the following four parameters in mind when deciding if a use of copyrighted material is illegal or fair use:”

This quote and the four parameters that were outlined afterwards made me wonder, are these enough? The four parameters that were outlined are the purpose of reproducing it, the nature of the material, the amount of what was reproduced, and the effect on the original creator’s financial standing. Instead, shouldn’t a parameter be where and how they had accessed the material in the first place? Why would people put their work onto the internet in a manner that someone could simply copy and paste it and distribute it to others? Why do they not do what I have seen others do, which is to give a snippet of the material and then require that the reader or viewer pay to see the rest of it? I understand that someone could simply purchase it and then share it with others against the wishes of the creator, but wouldn’t at least be better to put up some kind of obstacle that would discourage people from redistributing their work? I feel as though a reason that copyright laws are so confusing is because there is often a plethora of material at peoples fingertips and therefore they think they can do whatever they want with it.  Unfortunately, that is not the case with a number of resources, both digital and hard copy.  I understand that creators should have to worry about their intellectual and physical property being taken without any compensation or credit, but that is something that is always going to be a problem in our current world.  If more precautions aren’t taken or if people aren’t better educated on this issue, this problem is not going to improve.

Article: “Can I use it?,” “Fair Use,” “Public Domain,” and “Creative Commons, Copyleft, and Other Licenses” from Copyright and Intellectual Property Toolkit

“When you want to perform, display, or show a film, video, or TV program for teaching, training, or entertainment, you have to consider the rights of the those who own the copyright to the work you want to use. These are called Public Performance Rights, and they apply to your use of recorded materials in the classroom, at screenings, film festivals, and other academic uses.”

I feel as though this point is worth further exploration for two main reasons.  For one, I have never even heard of Public Performance Rights. Secondly, it adds to some of the comments I made about the previous quotes because when I was trying to access the link they have provided to learn more about these types of rights, I was met with a roadblock.  I found that it was only accessible to those who are enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh.  While this is what I suggested for those who do not want their intellectual property stolen, I feel as though when it comes to this type of information, especially when it was broken down perfectly for those who are not as knowledgeable, it should not be so difficult to find. There have been a number of times that I have had professors and teachers show us movies or documentary videos, and while I hope that the majority of them went about showing us those films in the correct and proper way, who is to say that they did not break the law when doing so? I think that reviewing Public Performance Rights is important for future educators, especially those who are aiming to teach some sort of history, english, or theater because those three types of classes often fall under the umbrella of what was identified in the bolded quote above.  These resources can be amazing tools to help students better understand the material in their educators lesson plans, but there needs to be integrity when doing so.  Once again, I want to reiterate that I do not feel that the majority of educators do this and if they do I honestly believe it may be because they themselves are not aware of the rights that go along with what they are wanting to use in their classes.