Week One Reading: Copyright Issues
Copyright laws seem to have many grey areas. I am always uncertain and try to err on the safe side. My school district was in a copyright dispute with a publishing company a few months ago. The following link from the Toledo Blade newspaper explains what is going on:
The claim states “Align, Assess, Achieve entered into a copyright license agreement with TPS for company books and materials that provide teacher guidance in meeting the Common Core education standards… TPS could only use the works to prepare pacing guides for the teachers for whom the district had bought the company's book. Despite the agreement, according to the complaint, TPS in August had teachers transcribe the copyrighted work in its entirety. The district later posted the copies on its intranet, making it available to all teachers, the company claims. TPS falsely attributed authorship of the unauthorized electronic versions of the AAA copyrighted works to the teachers the district employed as scriveners to steal AAA's intellectual property."
The attorney for my district is quoted as saying, "We don't believe there's any validity to the claim.”
Teachers were not given any further information as to how the dispute was settled. However, the pacing guides were removed from the employee intranet for a few months before being put back up, so we assume the claim has been dismissed.
In searching for more information on how printed material can be used by a classroom teacher, I found the following source helpful: “Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians” This article can be found at the following link:
This is a wordle incorporating text from the article:
I found the Good Copy / Bad Copy video to be very fascinating. I think the Nigerian filmmaker summed up how copyright laws are to be followed succinctly:
“If you don’t have permission, you can’t use it.”
I learned that it is all about getting permission, not about money at all. I often wonder about showing movies at school. I have seen schools who host family movie nights. They rent a DVD, and project it in the gym for families to watch together. I am hesitant to participate; are they breaking copyright laws by showing the video in a large gathering like that, with over 100 people viewing? Most teachers reply it is OK because they are not charging for it. I question if they have permission.
Another quote I pondered from Good Copy / Bad Copy was “We don’t want to look at this from the negative angle…copyright is not about stopping people from using your work, but getting them to use your work legally and giving you money for what they have done with your work.”
I think that makes so much sense. I am not opposed to sharing lessons I have created with others, in fact I believe collaboration is the most crucial tool for teachers today. However, I do want to be recognized for the work I have done in creating these lessons. A site like TeachersPayTeachers.com allows for teachers to share lessons, be recognized as the creator, and make money for the intellectual work provided.
This reminds me when I (I think you too), made cassette tapes from music of different LP's for our enjoyment. I used to do tapes for my friends in case that they could not afford the record, or if the record was out of print. Was I violating copyright law? Could be or could be not. I didn't profit from any of those tapes. In case of your movies. was there an instructional or educational purposes for showing the movie? Or was for enjoyment only.
On education, we can use an extract or a portion of the movie, but we must credit the source. Same with text and audio. Now, in online education, are online courses copyrighted? If you have a professor/teacher that builds a course using content that he/she wrote (book, thesis), is that course protected by copyright? There's a term called "work for hire". This term has created a lot of issues and conflicts where I work and one of the biggest reason why some professors are reluctant to teach online. The university has ownership of the material worked by students and professors. Can the music business and film making industry adapt this method to the artists? I hope not.