As today’s students delve more into technology and electronic communications, research, and reading materials, the more we have to ensure that they are using these responsibly. While most districts focus their concerns on the proper use of social media, cyber bullying, and using Web 2.0 tools, we must remember to teach students their legal rights and obligations under copyright law and how these laws apply to electronic material. This is where Teaching Copyright comes in.
A project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Teaching Copyright is a curriculum designed by educators to be taught in 5 different 60-minute lessons. Each lesson covers a different aspect of copyright as it applies to the 21st century from basic definitions, to P2P (Peer to Peer) Sharing, through the concept of Fair Use. Teachers are provided with clear lesson plans, handouts (with instructions on how to use them within copyright) and homework, project, and evaluations for students.
The lessons include:
- Definitions of Copyright: What Do They Know?
- A Brief History of Copyright and Innovation
- Fair Use: Remix Culture, Mashups, and Copyright
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing
- Fair Use – You Be the Judge!
Not only do these lessons apply to students researching in class, but also will provide them information on projects they may be doing on their own. More and more, they are playing on YouTube creating new videos and songs, or sharing different files either they have created or seen with friends. All of these may be affected by copyright law and Teaching Copyright will help them to understand just how they will be permitted to use materials, where to obtain permissions, and most importantly how to protect themselves and the works they begin to create on their own.
With more and more states requiring education in these, and other technology areas, to retain funding, Teaching Copyright provides a quick and easy way in which to deliver these topics and keep in compliance with the new regulations. Use these lessons either in your Library Media Center or in an English or Language Arts setting as students begin research. All of the five lessons stand-alone or could be used as a weeklong thematic assignment/introduction.
Also of Interest: After, or as part of these lessons, direct students to Creative Commons where they can create their own binding copyrights for their creative designs, photos, printed works, etc.