I’m a huge fan of YouTube. I really appreciate some of the digital citizenship/media literacy videos they’ve created and shared this year, such as Detecting Lies and Staying True. This is one of several that I’ve embedded into the Digital ID project wiki because in 2 minutes it lays out the need for students to question information, an essential (digital) literacy skill.
I was therefore excited to delve into the lessons YouTube just released as part of their free digital citizenship curriculum. The one area of digital citizenship I find teachers are the least comfortable discussing or teaching is the fine line between copyright and fair use. I was hoping that YouTube would have a content-rich, yet straight-forward piece that teachers would feel comfortable using with their students, similar to style of Detecting Lies and Staying True.
Maybe it was a mistake to start with the Fair Use Section of YouTube’s curriculum. But I did – and was frankly, well, disappointed by the lack of content. And the videos are weak. Perhaps the fact that YouTube did not produce either Fair Use & Copyright or Legal Information is part of the problem.
I suspect the bigger problem is that there are not yet enough advocates for fair use for educators jumping in to produce informative, student-friendly guides and videos on the topic….and for a good reason: fair use, unlike copyright, is a little messy to explain. In my current job as a tech integration specialist, I often receive questions from teachers about fair use, generally related to projects their students are working on that will eventually move beyond the walls of the classroom to an authentic audience. I no longer provide teachers with Hall Davidson’s Copyright and Fair Use chart, which, unfortunately, even though the title refers to the chart as “guidelines,” the opening sentence states that the chart “was designed to inform teachers of what they may do under the law.” So it sort of sounds like law, no? (Note: Hall Davidson has since made several videos on fair use. He mentions the misinterpretation of “guidelines” for legal policy.)
Although the chart does eliminate much of the messiness of fair use, it does not provide students with any understanding of the original intent of copyright, as stated in the U.S. Constitution, or their rights to claim fair use, as spelled out in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. A much better guide for teachers (and where I learned about Section 107) is the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy (and accompanying slideshow). Thanks to the on-going work and commitment of Renee Hobbs and Kristin Hokanson, more and more educators, including myself, feel confident to help teachers and students understand both their responsibilities and their rights when it comes to using copyrighted materials for school-related projects.
I’ve had the good fortunate over the past few years to participate in several events with Renee and Kristin. I’ve made progress: I’m now to the point where I actually see the “messiness” of fair use as a good thing – as a process that requires critical thinking and promotes media literacy. Kristin’s Reasoning Tool for Fair Use and her scenarios are great starting points for classroom discussions on what constitutes fair use and how to construct an argument, on a case-per-case basis. It is through discussion opportunities on such pertinent, timely topics that students become active, contributing (digital) citizens.
In addition to Renee’s and Kristin’s resources, I’m very grateful to Common Sense Media for stepping beyond the artificial percentages of the Copyright and Fair Use chart and crafting outstanding lessons that align with ISTE NETS, as well as the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy. Check out, for instance, Common Sense Media’s Rework, Reuse, Remix lesson for grades 6-8. The two lead up lessons provide students with the background on copyright issues. They are well-prepared to then head into this lesson and “expand their understanding of fair use, apply it to case studies, and create an original work of fair use.” Thank you, Common Sense Media.
I completely understand that YouTube is constantly having to remove videos that are clearly in copyright violation. But, at the same time, when I re-watch 3 of my favorite long-standing samples of remix + a newcomer (listed below) still, thankfully, hosted by YouTube, I feel the need to speak out and request policies that allow and invite our students to collaborate on a remix….already knowing they will raise the bar on this 21st century genre:
I honestly don’t mean to criticize YouTube. Their venue is an incredible teaching resource, and I very much appreciate their responsiveness to educators. As I mentioned above, YouTube content rightfully occupies a chunk of real estate on the Digital ID wiki. My concern is simply with Fair Use, one tiny piece of their digital citizenship curriculum. But given how many times over the last 72 hours I’ve seen links to their digital citizenship curriculum come into my Twitter feed, my concern is that school districts and sites that are just now waking up to newest CIPA requirements may opt for using – and limiting themselves to – this curriculum since the topics do address the three required CIPA components: Internet safety, appropriate online behavior, and cyberbullying – even though the depth and breadth fall way short of what Common Sense Media offers.
I hope administrators and teachers will create policies that guide students in the ethical use of intellectual property – in ways that do not shut down creativity and innovation. Although legal mandates differ from state to state and country to county, I believe strategies, best practices, and policies for teaching our students respect for intellectual property – including allowances for fair use – are topics worthy of both local and international conversations.
How does your school district educate students about copyright law and restrictions while encouraging them to, as Renee Hobbs puts it, “flex their fair use muscles” ?
I’m joining my NWP/NCTE colleague Sandy Hayes to explore more resources for teaching about copyright. Sandy’s starting with the Simpson’s Intellectual Personality quiz, followed by Fair Use and Cultural Development – a beautiful look at evolution of art icons.
“Fair Use is not a formula. It’s a matter of interpretation. And you can talk about “fair” and “more fair.”
Sandy’s approach to this messy topic is very user-friendly and a wonderful complement to Renee Hobbs’ Copyright Clarity session. Sandy has already posted her PowerPoint and her handout on the ISTE Workshop Description page. Besides a great collection of teaching resources, her handout also includes a template for an analytical storyboard for a book trailer of PSA.
Super job, Sandy!
I’m back from a three-day whirlwind trip to Philadelphia, where I joined 23 other educators for Renee Hobb’s fabulous Copyright Clarity Train-the-Trainers Workshop. And just like the workshop subtitle states, I’m truly ready and excited to “ Share the Good News about How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning.”
This event was actually my third time to join Renee- and her wonderful co-presenter Kristen Hokanson – in their commitment to help teachers step out of the delimiting fog of copyright confusion and start “flexing their fair use muscles.”
My first session was a 3-hour ISTE 2009 workshop on Fair Use for Educators. I blogged that session live, using the same order of resources and activities, so that I would have a step-by-step guide for facilitating a similar workshop. What impressed me about the session was that in 3 hours, I left, as did everyone at my table, ready to put away forever Hall Davidson’s handy chart on fair use and start the conversations back in my district on “how fair use supports digital learning.”
Last January, I joined Kristen and Renee for their Educon 2.2 session: The Cost of Copyright Confusion: The Future of intellectual property in a Remix Generation. How was this session different from their ISTE session? Time – 90 minutes vs. 3 hours. Although I would prefer a 3-hour, or even an all-day session, the majority of invitations I’ve had for unrolling Copyright Clarity are for 60-90 minute sessions. I think if you refer participants to the Media Education website, provide a hyperlinked workshop agenda, and strongly recommend that they purchase a copy of Copyright Clarity, participants will leave ready to start their own journeys out of the copyright confusion fog.
Knowing that good things happen in 3′s, I registered for the all-day Copyright Clarity August 19 workshop in Philadelphia. At some point during last summer’s ISTE Conference, by chance, in one of the many crowded convention center hallways, I passed Kristen – who told me, “you should join us for the train-the-trainer summer workshop.” Coincidentally, my NWP/NCTE colleague and ISTE roommate Sandy Hayes had just been extended the same invitation during Renee’s workshop. A few weeks, a few emails, and a few phone calls later, it was settled: Sandy and I would meet in Philly and end our summers as certified Program Associates for Copyright Clarity. Definitely a great decision!
I’ll end with a few of my new Copyright Clarity take-aways:
I’m in my first workshop for NECC 2009 – Renee Hobbs‘ Fair Use for Educators session. With copyright being such a huge and complex issue, I’m hoping to get a better handle on all those sticky issues teachers deal with increasingly as they led their students onto online learning and producing of content.
Joining Renee Hobbs are Joyce Valenza, who just shared the wiki for this event – http://copyrightconfusion.wikispaces.com/; Mike RobbGrieco, and Kristen Hokanson. There’s even a link to the session handout!
Renee has kicked off the session by assuring us that by end of the three hours all our questions on copyright will be answered:-)
She’s starting by walking us through her slide presentation, which I’m annotating below:
Remix in Eduction – Mike RobbGrieco – also with Renee at Temple University – “Our students are fully immersed in remix culture. Remix is a way to make sense of our culture – but also well-suited for commentary, critique, and democratic exchange.”
Back to Renee – How do you grab clips from DVDs – which are encrypted with the purpose of preventing copying? Renee went to Library of Congress Copyright Office regarding ability to de-encript DVD clips. She’ll know in October if her request will become a reality. And she emphasizes that “If we don’t claim our right, they’ll erode into ‘pay for click.’”
Kristen Hokanson – Oh, my… Watch Kristen’s video on her Upper Merrian Case Study. She’s also created a PDF worksheet to guide teachers. Check out her hands-on Scenarios! We broke into groups to work with the cards, which generated very focused conversations. Great stuff!!
This workshop is the only fee-based one I’ve signed up for. It was worth every penny! I actually feel that I have a handle on fair use for educators – and am looking forward to taking this training and resources back to my district.
Following the January 14 Teachers Teaching Teachers Skypcast, I’ve been trying to get the word out to teachers in my district, region, and edublogosphere about three outstanding projects:
# 1 www.brainyflix.com – BrainFlix’s great video contest, with its goal of helping students prep for the vocab section of the SATs. Come on, what better way for kids to build their vocabulary levels than by creating or viewing vocab videos?! The rules are simple and explicit and students can win $. So checkout the list and invite your students in. The contest ends March 16. What a great opportunity for our students to contribute to an online learning repository.
#2 Read-i-cide: A Conversation VoiceThread – Thanks to George Mayo for sharing about a VoiceThread created by Bill Ferriter with Kelly Gallagher . If you are concerned about the impact on mandated anthologies + worksheets on students’ engagement with reading, come join the VoiceThread conversation.
# Center for Social Media – I’ve already blogged about the excellent resources Peter Jazsi, Renee Hobbs, et al, are adding to this site. I keep adding more and more of their links to my Toolkit4BlogWalker wiki. But, oh my, for some hilarious examples of remixes, checkout all the categories at http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/resources/publications/recut_reframe_recycle.
Professor Peter Jaszi, from the Center for Social Media, was one of the speakers on Wednesday evening’s very informative and engaging Teachers Teaching Teachers Skypecast. I’ve printed out a copy of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education, which Jaszi helped produce. It’s actually an easy read – and only 17 pages long, so not too intimidating. I really like the premise that “educators need to be leaders, not followers, in establishing best practices in fair use” and that we should be exploring the issues with our students.
I’m looking with particular interest at page 13 of the Code: Developing Audiences for Student Work and its use of the term “transformativenss”:
“If student work that incorporates, modifies, and re-presents existing media content meets the transformativeness standard, it can be distributed to wide audiences under the doctrine of fair use.”
Between Jaszi’s Skypcast and reading through the Code, I had a vague idea of what transformativeness might look like, but somewhere on the Center for Social Media site, I found a link to a YouTube video that absolutely made transformativeness visible. Note: Not appropriate for younger audiences