Copyright vs. Copywrong
Copyright and Fair Use in Education
Published: October 3, 2010
by Laura Joy Perales
In our district, the copyright policies are vague. The standards simply say that the student should follow copyright and fair use guidelines, but we haven’t adopted a strict set of guidelines. It does indicate the need to cite sources in an approved format like MLA or APA. I researched the DMCA and discovered more information than I could process. Looking at the Act itself confused me more than I was before. I searched until I found a comprehensive overview of copyright and fair use that was straightforward to get some more insights, one that will be easy to use with my students as well.
I chose the video Propaganda (2009) from the SFETT iCan Film Festival. Here, Larios draws similarities between the tragedies of the Holocaust and the war in Iraq, both resulting from brainwashing with propaganda. I selected this because it uses non-original images, footage, and songs as well as information drawn from elsewhere. This could be dangerous territory at first glance; however, Larios knows when to give credit where credit is due.
In his closing credits, Larios notes the two songs he used along with the composers. He titles the next section “Picture and info Sources” and includes a listing of all the websites he accessed to retrieve images. Larios also understands what is considered intellectual property, including those websites where he accessed his information. For the video footage, Larios is very specific. He cites the World War II US Army Archive and the Holocaust Center Archives. Larios has acknowledged each external source for his project. Was it done in a standard format? No. Is there really a “right way” to cite information in a video? Unless you’ve been instructed to use MLA or APA which would look pretty awkward in scrolling credits, I think it’s more important to emphasize the need to give credit.
Giving acknowledgement does not guarantee you aren’t infringing on a copyright. For example, some of the videos in the Holocaust Center Archives have restrictions for use. Since Larios didn’t specify which video footage he used, it’s impossible for us to know for sure without locating the exact footage. But, this is where the fun comes in! Students may “incorporate portions of copyrighted materials when producing a project for a specific course” (Copyright and fair use, 2010). I’m not sure if the Film Festival counts, but I’m thinking more along the lines of the projects my students will use. Larios would probably be covered by the permissible amounts of media types that can be used without copyright infringement. For example, “up to 10 percent of the work but no more than 30 seconds of the music or lyrics from an individual musical work” (Copyright and fair use, 2010). I want to expose my students to guidelines such as these.
can certainly be a positive experience. I was thinking about using a
familiar song to introduce copyright. “We Belong Together” by Mariah
Carey is a great song to teach about copyright. She references Bobby
Womack’s “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” and “Two Occasions”, from The
Deele’s with Babyface. We can discuss the song, then divide the class
into different groups for a digital scavenger hunt to find out who wrote
it, who produced it, how much it costs, how many copies
have been sold, who makes the profit, etc.
When the first group finishes, we’ll compare
and contrast the information kids have found. Then,
I’ll ask them about the second verse and facilitate a debate over
whether or not Carey has to give credit to those other songwriters.
Finishing the debate, I’ll let them in on the
secret that she did in fact that those songwriters were given co-writing
credits for “We Belong Together”. The next adventure would be finding
out what could have happened to Carey if she had infringed on a
copyright… It’s just a start, but it has
potential. More ideas keep bouncing around in my head now about just
how far you could take this.
Copyright and fair use in the classroom, on the internet, and the world wide web. (2010). Manuscript
Submitted for Publication, Information and Library Services, University of Maryland
University College, Adelphi, Maryland. Retrieved from http://www.umuc.edu/library/copy.shtml
Larios, L. (2009). SFETT iCan Film Institute. Propsoganda [video]. Retrieved from
Author: Laura Joy Perales
Published: October 3, 2010 in Perception
Volume 1: Issue 6