Copyright Laws - What in the world?

A student's ins and outs guide

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How copyright, fair use and creative commons impact your creativity!

Estudiantes as work on your final project for our course I want you to be free to express yourselves as the unique individuals you are through the use of images, poetry, music and other media you feel deemed on your final product!
I just want you to be sure that not only do you protect the rights of the creator of your samples, but also yourself! That is why we will discuss

  • copyright
  • fair use
  • creative commons
(image taken from pixabay: CC0 Public Domain)

¿Qué es Copyright?

Copyright protection are those rights guaranteed to the creator of any original work. Take a look at this wordle. I created this and it is now guaranteed the same protection. This does not mean that you cannot use copyrighted works; but that you must respect the laws that protect them and provide attribution when required and appropriate!

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Transformativeness (Fair Use)

According to Merriam Webster, "fair use" constitutes:" a legal doctrine that portions of copyrighted materials may be used without permission of the copyright owner provided the use is fair and reasonable, does not substantially impair the value of the materials, and does not curtail the profits reasonably expected by the owner".
Examples of fair use from your perspective as a student might include... commentary & criticism, research, parody, teaching and a concept known as "transformativeness". See its description and an example following!

Examples of Fair Use/Transformativeness

Examples of Transformativeness / Fair Use

The Harry Potter Encyclopedia (Not Transformative). Although the creation of a Harry Potter encyclopedia was determined to be “slightly transformative” (because it made the Harry Potter terms and lexicons available in one volume), this transformative quality was not enough to justify a fair use defense. An important factor in the court’s decision was the extensive verbatim use of text from the Harry Potter books. (Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. v. RDR Books, 575 F. Supp. 2d 513 (S.D. N.Y. 2008).)
Ed Sullivan Clip (Transformative) A seven-second clip from the Ed Sullivan TV was used in a staged musical history (“The Jersey Boys”) based on the career of the musical group, the Four Seasons. The use was transformative (“Being selected by Ed Sullivan to perform on his show was evidence of the band’s enduring prominence in American music,” the judge wrote in the ruling. “By using it as a biographical anchor, [the defendant] put the clip to its own transformative ends.”) Further, the use caused no financial harm to the copyright owners of the show. SOFA Entertainment, Inc. v. Dodger Productions, Inc., No. 2:08-cv-02616 (9th Cir. Mar. 11, 2013).

See above 2 cases, one that demonstrated itself to BE transformative, the other not. Here are two main questions to ask yourself when checking it's correct or not?
1. Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding new expression or meaning?
2. Was value added to the original by creating new information, new aesthetics, new insights, and understandings?

For additional samples or considerations, see the link here:

Creative Commons - Our last piece

Finally, we have one last aspect to copyright, its access, protection and use: Creative Commons. The best part about Creative Commons is that: "you don't have to ask and you don't have to guess because permission has already been given." How's that for convenience? So, how would you go about then taking advantage of this resource? GREAT QUESTION!
Creative Commons is a resource for teachers and students. It allows teachers and students to copy, use, modify, and reuse digital media. The key to unlocking the vast Commons is understanding how to search, what each license means, how to attribute a licensed work, and how to license original work under Creative Commons. See the image below from a a wonderful source called to understand what you can do, what the creator of the work intended for you to be allowed to do, and how to go about doing the right thing. The creative commons site and Flickr site links have also been provided to allow you to have creative freedom to express yourself on this project while at the same time ensuring you are doing it the right way!

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