The Issue of copyright
One of the main topics this class discussed in the second half of the semester is the issues of copyright and fair use in the classroom. As media literacy leaders this is a critical topic to be talking about.
In this course I was first introduced into copyright issues when I was assigned to read Renee Hobbs’s book Copyright Clarity. This book teaches the topic of fair use especially in the classroom to promote student’s development of literacy and learning (Hobbs, 2011, p. vii-ix). It also helps “educators understand and apply the principles of copyright and fair use to develop students’ critical thinking and communication skills (p.11). The issue is that teachers lack of knowledge on copyright and fair use which can affect “the quality of teaching and learning (p.7).” As I have learned in her book “sharing ideas and information is part of the essential nature of all learning (p.8).” In today’s society the internet makes it easier to access information and almost everything on the internet is copyrighted. This is when educators get confused about using the internet, such as videos, because of copyright issues. Some educators believe “the sky’s the limit”, but not everything copyrighted can be used just because of educational and noncommercial purposes (p.22). Some educators are also afraid of sharing products in public and often discourage it. Lastly, some educators are reluctant to use any type of copyright materials (p.23). But in fact educators have the right to fair use. Fair use requires reasoning and judgment (p. 27). To judge fair use you need to look at the “new use of the copyrighted material” to see if it has “a new meaning or interpretation of the work that is significant enough to create a distinct and separate discursive community around the second work” this is known as transformativeness (p. 48). In short, if the original copyright material has been transformed into a different purpose and has a different value then you can claim fair use.
This topic of copyright was also brought up during the Leap #4 assignment. For this assignment I was to explore the website HitRecord by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What I noticed was that they persistently included information about protecting the rights of creators as well as giving credit to the original authors. When you upload anything on the website there are consistent checks to make sure you aren’t using copyrighted materials and give credit to the author. HitRecord also educates its users about copyright and citing. For more information on HitRecord visit my blog or HitRecord itself.
Another topic of discussion was how authors create. Why do authors “imitate” works? How this support or enhance creativity? Because of the digital age, it is a lot easier to access information which can make it easy to copy someone’s work. But if the author is truly creative he/she builds upon someone else’s work. “Every form of creativity is connected to and inspired by the works we’ve come in contact with previously (Hobbs, p. 17).” But you can’t simply use someone’s work as your own there has to be some sort of transformativeness. Transformativeness is defined as “repurposing of copy-righted materials (Hobbs, p.8).” Creative commons (an alternative licensing scheme) also encourages people to build upon and share someone else’s work (p.21). Thus, ethically it is okay to use someone else’s work in order to create your own.
Creativity is a romanticized idea that a creative idea is unique and original (p.43). This belief is completely false. “Copying is part of the creative process (Hobbs, p. 41).” This is especially true when collaboration, teamwork, and conversation are involved in expressing creativity and developing new ideas (p.44). The Copyright Act of 1976 “exists to support the kinds of copying, borrowing, and sharing that are so essential to fertilize and nurture the creative process (p.44).” Therefore, in order to craft something truly creative you can use someone else’s work in order to assist in your creation. But there must be some changes or creative contributions made to the original work that can add value or repurpose to the original work (p.59). This is when the new idea becomes truly creative.
The article written by Jenkins also hit upon this topic specifically with remixing. Jenkins states that there is an ability “for more and more of us to create new works by manipulating, approaching, transforming, and recirculation existing media content (2013, p. 105),” because sounds, texts and images are becoming more accessible.
The idea of remixing refers to adaptation (p. 108). A remix is when the creative process includes appropriate and recombination of borrowed and original materials (p.109). A remix “is valuable if it is generative and meaningful rather than arbitrary and superficial (p.109).” In other words the original work has transformed into something new. Overall, remix follows the Copyright Act in a couple different ways. One remixing involves recognizing the original author of the creative piece. It is also built upon by combining the borrowed work with the original work (p. 110-111).
Another connection I have made with this topic being discussed is with the Leap #4 assignment, using HitRecord. HitRecord also deals with creativity. The main purpose of HitRecord is to take someone’s work and make it your own or in some cases help the original author finish his/her production. This is a perfect tool collaborating and sharing creative projects because this is what creativity is made out of copying, imitating or inspiring your own creative works.
Reflection of my participation in the class:
Overall I am very happy with the course. Unfortunately, I have not been able to engage in synchronous classes due to previous engagements (work). But other than that I have enjoyed learning about media literacy and digital authorship, two very important topics in the education system today. Therefore, these are also important topics to me because when I graduate from URI with a MLIS I too hope to be a media literacy leader helping students learn in creative ways.
This class, as well as the previous class I have taken with Renee Hobbs, I have learned course materials creatively. As I have learned in this class, creativity comes in many different forms and assists the learning process especially through 21st century media. “Youth media programming has numerous positive outcomes for participants” it helps them engage with other youth and their communities that are “useful, interesting, and engaging for them (Hauge, 2014, p.428).” This is true of EDC534. Through the use of discussion videos, writing, collaborating, and more I have creatively learned key ideas in an interesting and engaging way. I too hope to use what I have learned in this class to further my education as well as to teach my own students in the same manner.
The topic discussed above about creativity also connects to my final project in this course. My project consists of writing a picture book in fiction like form to help teach students in grades 2-4 on the issue of cyberbullying. Creatively I have been inspired by previous works I have come into contact with. The idea for the picture book actually came from a co-worker. She thought a book that follows what events happen when someone is bullied online would be a great idea for a book. In this class, we have only briefly mentioned digital citizenship, therefore I wanted to explore it further.
First off, I looked at what sort of books are already published about digital citizenship and cyberbullying? I checked out a few of these books from libraries to help me become an expert at the topic. One of my main sources is Common Sense Media which has lesson plans on teaching digital citizenship to student’s grades k-12. These resources helped me form the information in the book.
The problem I was having was that I know what I wanted write about, but I didn’t know how. Of course, after I put all my books away and I shower and settle down at the end of the night, an epiphany hit me: base my story like A Christmas Carol. By using A Christmas Carol’s storyline I can show the events of what happens before, during and after the bullying occurs. Therefore, I was inspired by A Christmas Carol and I will build upon it to create my very own story on Cyberbullying. Not only have I piggybacked someone else’s ideas but I will also use collaboration, using the idea (with permission) from a co-worker, as well as having another co-worker illustrate for me. In conclusion, I am very excited to share my final creative project with the class.
Gordon-Levitt, J. (n.d). HitRecord. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from https://www.hitrecord.org/
Hauge, C. (2014). Youth Media and Agency. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(4), 471–484.
Hobbs, R. (2011). Copyright clarity: How fair use supports digital learning. Thousand Oaks; Corwin/Sage.
Jenkins, H. (2013). Is it Appropriate to Appropriate? (p. 105-122). Reading in a participatory culture: Remixing Moby Dick in the English classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.
Walsh, S. (2016, April 5). Leap #4: Remix Creativity [Web log post]. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from https://edc534digitalauthorship.wordpress.com/