The Law vs #EdTech (Part II)

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July 22, 2016 by Dr. Robbie Barber

[Note: I am not a lawyer and offer no legal advice.]

© Copyright & Fair Use

Have your students done a PowerPoint in the past year?  Where did they get their pictures from?  If you said Google or Bing, then you are not following the law of the land: COPYRIGHT.

For direct information from the U.S. Government, this circular describes the basics of copyright:

There are two important points here. First, anything in tangible form (picture, words, music, dance, etc.) are covered under copyright as soon as they are created.  You don’t have to register to be under copyright.  Second, the judicial system has allowed an exception of “Fair Use”.

Fair Use according to this Government publication, is a legal doctrine that allows unlicensed use of copyright-protected materials within certain areas.  In general, you can use copyrighted materials in a limited fashion for education, parody, news reporting, and criticism.

Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything has compiled a wonderful list of resources for copyright and fair use.

Creative Commons is the non-profit organization trying to make all work shareable.  You can set the level you wish to share something.  For example, you can decide you want your image to only be for non-profits.  Or maybe you do not want people changing your image when they use it.  You choose and then add the license to your work. It’s simple and free.

librarycopyrightIn general, you need to give credit to everything you use.  If you use pictures, give credit.  You can’t use a whole song or document without permission.  And you must always, always credit the original creator.  Google images is not the original creator.

Here are a couple of great ways to use photos in a copyright manner: allows you to search and download Creative Commons photos.  And, it attaches the copyright information automatically (see picture above). has free pictures that does not require attribution (saying who the original creator is).

If you want more information on Fair Use and enjoy Disney movies, I recommend Professor Eric Faden at Bucknell University: A Fair(y) Use Tale

We are teaching students, not just do as I say, but do as I do.

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