Copyright issues have always been something that I have been afraid of. I have had a secret fear of being hauled away by the Feds. It must stem from childhood watching the old VHS tapes that had the very daunting warning messages threatening prosecution if you do not follow the copyright rules. Before reading the websites, I had a basic understanding (or so I thought) about copyright laws. I knew that I could not buy a DVD, make copies of it and then sell it on the street corner. I also am aware of the laws preventing me from downloading free music from the internet. Beyond the basics, I was a little sketchy on what you can and can not duplicate in the classroom or at home. I had no idea that there were limits on copyrights and a little thing called the Public Domain. I thought that once something was copyrighted, then it always belonged to someone and someone was getting credit or paid for the works.
The Copyright Site at http://www.thecopyrightsite.org/
This article explained the Public Domain, Fair Use along with Intellectual Property and also had a section on additional issues pertaining to copyright. Under the Fair Use section it gives a simple, easy to understand definition of the Fair use of copyright materials and also gives a little quiz which helps you to determine if you can legally use certain material. This section also had a nice area to help educators determine what they can and can not copy.
The Intellectual Properties section had a lot of information to chew on. The struggle between safeguarding the author’s rights and the rights of the possible abusers of music downloading and movie makers is perplexing. It really made me think about how complicated it is for artists and companies to protect their profits without affecting the quality of the end product. Another aspect of this section of the article that I found interesting was how the laws have to keep up with the ever changing technology.
This article had a great section on teaching ideas. The ideas were broken down into age groups. The part that I liked best about the teaching ideas is that they were all interactive. They forced the students to think about concepts related to the subject matter, even at the elementary level.
The second article I read was10 Myths about copyright explained by Brad Templeton
I liked how this article started out with a clear explanation of copyright. The other article had great information about the different aspects of it, but did not come out and exactly explain what it was. A great picture was created in my mind when the author went further to explain on a linked page (more information about the definition of copyright) that a work has to be tangible to be considered copyrighted. Another difference in the two articles is that the first one was more business like and to the point the second article was more laid back. The author of the second one had a nice sense of humor.
Similarities in the two articles include discussing the terms Pubic Domain, and Fair Use. The second article did not explain the terms, it discussed them with the assumption that the reader already understood the terms.
The most surprising thing that I learned from this second article was that a person can violate a copyright even if they are not making money or charging for the copying of copyrighted material. The difference lies in how the perpetrator is punished if prosecuted. I guess that I should have realized this as I think of the people who have been prosecuted from illegally downloading music from sites such as Napster.
Another “food for thought” so to speak that came from the second article was the author’s discussion on the linking to web pages, not necessarily copying the information. All of this information gets very confusing and hard to really control with the vast about of information available on the internet. I can only imagine the trouble of the law makers trying to define the rules and also to reinforce them. I am glad that my job as a student and a scholar is just to try to abide by the copyright rules to the best of my knowledge and abilities.
Templeton, B (1994). Ten Big Myths about Copyright. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from website: http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html
The Copyright Site. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from website: http://www.thecopyrightsite.org/