Can I show this movie in my class? What about sharing this image from the Internet? How about letting my students create posters with their favorite literary quotes? Is the writing in Facebook posts copyrighted?
All these questions are great questions for teachers to be asking, both for themselves and for their students. If you've been in education for awhile, you probably have some idea of how the rules work, but it's not uncommon for students and even newer teachers to be unsure.
And copyright isn't exactly the easiest subject to navigate. From fair use to “copyleft,” the topic doesn't just apply differently to different mediums. In fact, it can often apply to different aspects of a work in different ways... and it changes nearly every few years!
While a detailed guide is beyond the scope of our blog here, we wanted to give you a tip or two. First, whenever you have a question about using content in your class, in any way, turn to the Internet to ask for help. Even though they're not law books, many sites exist that answer specific usage questions, and you can often find them pretty quickly. Next, increasingly, we're seeing people use open source copyrights, where you're able to reuse their material in its entirety, as long as you attribute them as the creator. This provides you with some fantastic material for your class... and for free.
Really though, it's essential in the age of the Internet to pass on an awareness of copyrighting to your students. By knowing some of the basics, they'll be able to better be informed when it comes to sharing and creating content.
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