Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Creative Commons

March 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Copyright laws were implemented long before the Internet existed and can cause difficulty when teachers (and others) wish to use web-based resources. Creative Commons is an organization with the mission to provide the means for creators to maintain copyright while allowing limited use of their work. Creative Commons provides various licensing options that might be used by teachers who are looking for a simple way to license educational works such as lesson plans and instructional materials.

Works published under Creative Commons licensing are an excellent source of content for classroom use. Many works are available at no charge, with the simple requirement that the original creator be given credit. The Creative Commons Search provides an easy way for teachers to search for media, videos, photos, and music published under Creative Commons licensing. The search tool provides access to nearly unlimited resources that can be used for lessons, instructional materials, presentations, and student projects.

Image: Master isolated images /


Free Digital Photos

March 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Teachers sometimes have difficulty finding copyright-free resources that can be used for presentations and learning projects. In my classes, I teach students about issues of plagiarism and copyright, and I am careful to follow copyright laws in classroom assignments and presentations. Because copyright law is not always clear-cut, I take care to avoid copyright violations and to model appropriate use of resources for my students. In my search for digital resources for use in presentations, I found two excellent articles with many links to free digital images.

Digital Image Magazine has published two articles, “25 Free Stock Photo Sites” and “18 More Free Stock Photo Sites”, that provide links to free digital photo sites. Many photos from these sites can be legally downloaded free of charge. Others are available for a small fee. Make sure that you read the requirements for legal use of the images, as most require that you give credit to the artist.

I was pleased to see that one of my favorite photo resource sites, Free Digital Photos, was included in the second article. The site is easy to navigate and includes free low-resolution images that are appropriate for websites. Downloaded photos are not watermarked, and each photo download page provides a link to HTML code that can be used to publish a credit. The site has a variety of images and illustrations that are arranged in easy-to-browse categories. The site search engine makes it possible to easily search for images by keyword as well. Many of the images used on this blog are available from Free Digital Photos. No matter the topic, I’ve been able to find appropriate images that could be quickly downloaded.

Image: Anusorn P nachol /

Copyright and Fair Use

March 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Several years ago, a lawsuit against a 12 year old girl who downloaded copyrighted music started a wave of lawsuits against young people who break copyright laws. Headlines continue to make the news regarding cases of copyright infringement. The Recording Industry Artists Association (RIAA) is suing students, and universities are imposing penalties on students in an effort to avoid potential lawsuits. In today’s classroom, attention to copyright is imperative, and students must be taught by example the importance of adhering to copyright laws.

Stanford University Law School provides resources on the use of copyrighted works under fair use guidelines. A copyright overview explains the basics of copyright law, what is protected, how to get permission to use copyrighted works, website and educational permissions, and an explanation of fair use. The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School presents cases related to copyright infringement and links to experts on copyright law.

According to the CIS website:

“The Fair Use Project (FUP) is the only organization in the country dedicated specifically to providing free and comprehensive legal representation to authors, filmmakers, artists, musicians and other content creators who face unmerited copyright claims, or other improper restrictions on their expressive interests. The FUP has litigated important cases across the country, and in the Supreme Court of the United States, and worked with scores of filmmakers and other content creators to secure the unimpeded release of their work.”

Information from these sites may be used by educators who wish to learn more about copyright. The cases related to copyright infringement could be used to develop cases studies for high school students in technology or language arts courses to learn about copyright. The cases could also be used as the basis of class discussions or to generate ideas for classroom debates.

The Copyright Site is another great resource for educators. It provides information and instructional resources for all grade levels. Of particular interest to teachers are links to copyright myths and copyright scenarios that can be used in the classroom, and teaching ideas for all ages, from kindergarten to college.

The Teaching Copyright site published by The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) provides additional excellent curriculum resources. A copyright curriculum and links to additional copyright resources are presented on the site.

Image: renjith krishnan /