Insights & Take-Aways

Lessons Learned About Copyright Law

by: Karen Suarez

Gained Insights

1. Copyright protects more people than just authors and musicians, and it protects more creations than just literary works and music/lyrics. Copyright covers dramatic works and music, pantomines, choreographic works, photographs, paintings, sculptural works, movies, video and computer games, audio recordings, and architectural works...and more!

2. The Copyright Act grants five rights to a copyright owner: reproduce work, prepare derivative work, distribute work, perform work, and display work.

3. There are four "tests" to pass when determining Fair Use: purpose...nature...amount...and market.


Corrected Misconceptions

Myth: If it's in public domain, then it's okay to use.

Fact: You can use it without gaining permission, but you still have to give credit.

Myth: A project created for school can be put on a website for an outside audience.

Fact: Once that project created for school becomes available to a wider audience, then it may no longer be protected under the Fair Use umbrella.

Myth: I bought the CD, so I own the music.

Fact: A person owns that one physical copy but not the rights to the music. This is why you can't post the music online for others to download or rip copies to sell/give to others.


Teaching Takeaways

1. I want students to be aware of several great websites with copyright-free images (some may require attribution): pixabay, unsplash, picjumbo, gratisography, freeimages, picography, publicdomainarchive

2. Students should explore Creative Commons and learn about the different types of licenses and what they allow.

3. I would like students to mimic the assignment we had in which we found an image, modified it with PicMonkey, and then had to determine the new Creative Commons license that was applicable. This makes them decide how they would like others to use their personal work, and it puts their knowledge to use!