An overview of Copyright and Fair Use Issues for Students Preparing to enter College by Dr. Jasmin Bey Cowin
Copyright issues are nothing new under the sun. The Statute of Anne; April 10, 1710, shows that fair use and copyright issues started almost simultaneously with the proliferation of printing presses: “Whereas printers, booksellers, and other persons have of late frequently taken the liberty of printing, reprinting, and publishing, or causing to be printed, reprinted, and published, books and other writings, without the consent of the authors or proprietors of such books and writings, to their very great detriment, and too often to the ruin of them and their families: for preventing, therefore, such practices for the future…” The Statute of Anne complete text.
I am fascinated with fair use issues which directly relate to linking to other sites. The question is why CNN, or Time, or Ticketmaster, would object to a link to their page.
“Isn’t the whole point of having a web page to attract users? These hyperlinks are like referrals — and one rarely hears of one party suing another for sending customers to their store. What’s going on here? In a word — advertising (and advertising dollars). In both suits, plaintiffs are asserting that the way that defendants link to their page deprives the plaintiffs of advertising revenue that is properly theirs. TotalNews, for example, surrounds its web page with a “frame” — a border that appears on the screen that contains advertising sold by TotalNews (or other messages that TotalNews wants you to see). Things get interesting now: if, say, you click on the link to ABC’s web page, you will indeed see the ABC page — but the TotalNews border continues to sit there, showing you the advertising that TotalNews has sold (which squeezes any advertising that ABC may contain into a smaller area on your screen). Similarly, Ticketmaster asserts that Microsoft, by linking to the Ticketmaster website, “has gained revenue from advertising made a part of Microsoft’s website, depriving Ticketmaster of favorable advertising business” and that its actions constitute “electronic piracy.” An Introduction to Copyright Law
Yet, a process can not copy written. So, is CPR a process? When IS something a process? But the questions go deeper.
Works for Hire
Let’s take a look at the idea and concept of Work For Hire. In An Introduction to Copyright Law, it is stated, “copyrightable material created by an individual in the course of employment is considered to be a work for hire. Ownership of the copyright vests automatically in the employer.”
What does this mean? Who owns the lessons or any original works that were developed for classes? Are these lessons and creative output the property of the school or district one was employed by? Or if one is a Masters student researching at a college, is that research now the universities property and if one changes programs does that research now becomes untouchable by its creator? Is a student researcher who pays for the privilege to study not allowed to share or even quote their work? What happens if the student or teacher puts a Creative Commons license on their work?
Reading Understanding Copyright Law by Marshall A. Leaffer will help you to either become more confused or gain a better understanding of the complexities regarding copyright issues.
What is the Creative Commons?
“A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.” Creative Commons license – Wikipedia
This infographic is an excellent way to get an overview of the traditional copyright process and the Creative Common Process.
The Creative Commons gives everybody the power to select their own license and tag their materials.
The Creative Commons feature various ways one can legally control one’s work without taking the “extreme” route of completely denying remix or reuse of their content.
Digital Rights Management
Digital rights management, or DRM, is the term to try and limit the copying of music and movies. With new technologies, especially the digitization of movies and music, it is almost effortless to copy and distribute music and movies. This is a major issue regarding copyright issues, and millions of dollars are being lost by companies or creators of music, films, etc. Companies have tried to restrict the copying of their materials by putting code onto their CDs to confuse copying software. Instead of trying to find people who have violated the law, companies are seeking to make it harder to copy materials. The problem, of course, is the consumer might want to make copies of the material just for his/her own use. It is relatively easy to restrict the number of copies of a song, but what if the owner buys a new iPod. That owner has the right to that song, after all, they bought it! Sometimes the file can only be copied from the computer it was originally downloaded on to, but what if the computer got infected, or died?
Copyright issues are laws within a country, but the copying and distribution of materials happen across borders. International treaties, like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), try to address these complex issues.
Writing a paper and in need of public domain resources?
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) offers plenty of resources and mimics some in-person museum experiences in a virtual setting.
The home page is divided into multiple components that help the viewer to get oriented to the site quickly and able to determine which option will get the viewer further into the website content. Drop down menus, and content links are well labeled and make choices clear and easily understood.
The central section on the HOME page in the top left is dedicated to advertising the newest exhibition which currently is the American Empire. It offers a scrolling slideshow of maps and other content that catch the viewer’s eye and encourage further exploration. Below it is a search box that boasts content of over 16,000,000 items. Currently, there are 32 different Exhibition topics to explore. The website states that:
“Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Exhibitions are designed to tell stories of national significance using source materials from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States, including letters, photographs, posters, oral histories, video clips, sheet music, and more.” The Home page also offers News and Twitter feeds and provides examples of Apps that others have created using the data collections on the website.”
When looking for non-copyright pictures the following short video will help guide you:
Open Educational Resources – for everybody!
“Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. It is the leading trend in distance education/open and distance learning domain as a consequence of the openness movement.”
Open educational resources – Wikipedia
Erica Zimmer, a graduate student at Marlboro College for Professional and Graduate Studies explains OER’s in a short video.
What does it all mean for Me? (The Student)
I believe everybody should make choices from Wikimedia and other CC sources. It is important to respect the work of others. Taking the time and effort to use one’s own images whenever possible will add several layers of work. Yet, the whole point of going to college is to create competency in writing, presentations, and knowledge. Copying others work is Plagiarism, not flattery!