Open Access News

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

The consequences of teacher ignorance of fair use

Renee Hobbs, Peter Jaszi, and Pat Aufderheide, The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy, American University School of Communications, September 2007.  (Thanks to Wired Campus.)  Excerpt:

The fundamental goals of media literacy education —to cultivate critical thinking about media and its role in culture and society and to strengthen creative communication skills— are compromised by unnecessary copyright restrictions and lack of understanding about copyright law....

In K-12, higher education, and after-school programs and workshops, teachers face conflicting information about their rights, and their students’ rights, to quote copyrighted material. They also confront complex, restrictive copyright policies in their own institutions. As a result, teachers use less effective teaching techniques, teach and transmit erroneous copyright information, fail to share innovative instructional approaches, and do not take advantage of new digital platforms.

This is not only unfortunate but unnecessary, since copyright law permits a wide range of uses of copyrighted material without permission or payment. Educational exemptions sit within a far broader landscape of fair use. However, educators today have no shared understanding of what constitutes acceptable fair use practices....