Copyright Laws

Interview with Mt. Vernon Media Specialist, Kristi Crumpton

What are copyright laws, and what is fair use?

Copyright laws give people permission to increase knowledge. Fair use is the ability people have to use copyrighted work for learning purposes. Fair use is allowed as long as you incorporate transformativeness.Transformativeness is adding value, repurposing, or contextualizing copyrighted work in order to gain knowledge or teach others.

How do copyright laws impact teachers, and how are teachers educated on copyright?

At the beginning of each school year, teachers complete a set of modules in order to refresh common information teachers should know- one of these modules reviews is about copyright laws. According to Mrs. Crumpton, teachers are told the minimum amount of information they are allowed to use without paying the copyright fee, and most teachers believe that this is the maximum. For example, teachers are told that they are only allowed to use 30 seconds of a video, song, etc without asking permission to use this, but this is not true. As long as the information being used for education and/or has been transformed, fair use is in play, and the teacher is allowed to use however much of the video or song she wishes. Mrs. Crumpton believes that Copyright Laws is not emphasized as much as it should be in our schools.
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How do you help educate students on copyright laws?

It each each teachers' responsibility to educate their students on copyright laws; most of the time, this is taught when plagiarism is taught. With teachers in Georgia getting misinformation regarding copyright, it is difficult for the teachers to properly educate their students of copyright laws and plagiarism.

How does Fair Use impact the classroom?

Fair Use allows teachers to basically use whatever they want as long as it relates to what they are currently teaching. A teacher cannot claim anything as his/her own if it is not, but she can transform something and use it to help teach her students. As long as the information being used relates to what is being taught, the teacher does not have to have permission to use it.