Copyright - Quicksand in the Digital Age

man_in_quicksand.jpg
Flickr CC: zebtron

At the end of this Block 6 Internet adventure you should:
• Have a deeper understanding of the ethics of Internet use
• Be aware of the issues and controversies surrounding Copyright and the new licenses and practices in Copyright
• Be able to guide learners in respecting Copyright in its different forms
• Understand how collaborative resources such as Wikipedia are created and how to examine an article for its validity
• Be familiar with ways to help students avoid plagiarism








1.) Getting Ready

A Fair(y) Use Tale (10 mins)
(This is based on American Copyright – “fair use” is slightly different than Canada’s “fair dealing”. For explanation of differences)

2.) What is Copyright? Building Background Knowledge

a.) A Brief Overview of Key Questions - by Copyright expert Wanda Noel
b.) Read the Article -10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained

3.) What is Creative Commons?

a.) Larry Lessig - How creativity is being strangled by the law
TEDTalks is a presentation of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Lessig, is the leader in the Creative Commons movement.


b.) Creative Commons - watch the video clips from CC that explains this form of licensing (6:30 and 3:00 min)
c.) What are the Creative Commons licenses and what do they mean?

4.) Copyright Issues in the Digital Age

a.) Why Copyright? Canadian Voices on Copyright Law - This is a 48 min video, however it is a fascinating look at the current issues from voices who have an interest in what happens on the Canadian scene. By Michael Geist and Dan Albahary - Geist is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa.
b.) Canadian Copyright Law – Forbidden shifting - A Canadian DMCA?
This short video from the from Canadian Interest Policy and Public Interest Clinic, examines copyright law and reasonable practices with digital media (time shifting, space shifting, format shifting). This group is centered out of the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, and promotes student-centered research and advocacy on technology-related policy and law reform.


c.) Related article from CIPPIC

5.) Copyleft Resources

a.) What is copyleft? "Instead of fostering privatization, it becomes a guarantee that everyone has the freedom to use, copy, distribute and modify software or any other work. Its only “restriction” is precisely the one that guarantees freedom – users are not permitted to restrict anyone else’s freedom since all copies and derivations must be redistributed under the same license." Source
b.) Wikipedia - This is a good example of a copyleft encyclopedia. The articles are written by the community at large and are released as free content.
This resource is becoming a popular resource for student research, partly due to the fact that Google searches often return a Wikipedia result at ,or near the top, of many searches.
c.) Jimmy Whales - How a Ragtag Band Created Wikipedia - provides insight to Wikipedia, how it works, and its authenticity in his TEDTalks presentation (TED - where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes). This is worth sharing with middle and high school students as well!

6.) Navigating the Quicksand in the Classroom - Resources for Helping our Learners Play Safely in the Sand

In working with students in the classroom or in our own use of digital media for work or pleasure, we need to knowledgably navigate the quicksand of Copyright. The following resources guide you to helpful information and resources in this area.
a.) Copyright and Digital Images - from Alberta Learning
b.) Locating Copyright Friendly Resources
Copyright friendly resources allow for classroom use with no attribution (author credit) or allow for free use with attribution. Each resource is different however, and users must always check the rights stated on each resource. No Copyright information does not imply allowable use.
c.) Finding Resources Licensed for use with Creative Commons

6.) Promoting Ethical Use of Resources

In today's digital world, it is very easy for anyone to copy and paste the work of another and try to pass it off as their own. Plagiarism is a growing issue in classrooms, as well as in society.
a.) What is Plagiarism? - This resources provides an overview of plagiarism, the new challenges in the digital age and suggestions for checking for authentic work.
b.) How to Recognize Plagiarism
c.) Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers
d.) Skills to teach your students so they avoid plagiarism
e.) Free Resources to Check for Plagiarism

7.) Something for Classroom Teachers

If plagiarism is a concern, then let's flip the coin on our thinking and look at what we are asking students to "do" in the assignments we give students.
If their assignments require a regurgitation of facts, then the problem is not with the students - it is with our assignments.

Bernie Dodge, the creator of the WebQuest, tells educators
"No more bird reports!"
What is a bird report? This is a term used for a typical report assignment in grades 1 - 12 that generally asks students to move (copy) information from one place (book or Internet) to another (worksheet, report). This can be a Gr. 12 research paper on Biomes or a Gr. 3 report on the penguin.
What is the problem with the "bird report"? There are several:
a) Assignments like these promote plagiarism. In this digital world, it is easy for students to copy and paste both text and graphic information off the Internet making a finished project look good, but not necessarily involving any learning.
b) Assignments like these do not engage students in thinking that promotes actual learning.

So what do we do?
Bernie Dodge says that unless we ask students to transform the information in some way, then meaningful learning does not take place.
Here are a few suggestions that require students to put their work into their own words and lessens the likelihood of copy and paste work.

8.) Return to Block 6 Conclusion and make sure you have completed this week's assignment

Block 6