I am constantly confronted with copyright issues. Most of my students are from poor, Mexican immigrant families. Copyright laws are not a blip on their radar. Students are constantly asking me to copy music for them or copy their music for someone else. When I talk about intellectual rights, I can tell by the glazed look on their faces it means absolutely nothing to them. Their view is that the artists have plenty of money and that they have little so it is only just and right for them to have intellectual property free of charge.
My colleagues’ view is not much different. With such little resources and such great need, it is easy to justify “breaking the rules.” In other words, the end can justify the means. As the school librarian, part of my job is to remind my colleagues and principal of copyright laws. If I was held responsible for the school’s compliance with copyright laws, I would be in big trouble.
I am embarrassed to say that I have not used a document to guide my use of copyrighted material. After viewing the videos, I looked up the center for social media and went to their website (http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/fair-use/best-practices/media-literacy).
I have not taken Fair Use and copyright laws as seriously as I should. Knowing that the laws can be gray and that they are changing, the last few years I have used the attitude, “best guess and reasonable.” Sure, I have over 600 student contacts a week and am responsible for teaching the technology standards for seven different grade levels. Knowing I wouldn't be perfect even if I tried, I chose to take this attitude for mere survival. The good news is, I have been pretty close to what I have learned from these videos and the reading. The fact of the matter is that it is not black and white and that our laws still need to catch up. The information gathered here will definitely help streamline and clarify and help my colleagues do a better job of following the law the best they can.