Fair Dealing

In Canada we use “Fair Dealing” as our language around using materials or work created by others. The laws around copyright in Canada have recently been updated to reflect the broad spectrum of available media and how that media is being used.

The way we use and interact with media is constantly undergoing change. Where we once were satisfied being an audience to other people’s “Funniest Home Videos”, we now upload our own, or make mash-ups of thematic videos we find online. Public domain becomes a grey area; someone shares an image on Flickr that may have originally been copyright protected by the original author, but is now an image of an image with the option to download and share freely. There is a cultural shift towards sharing the wealth of information and resources and knocking down some of the paywalls that exist. MOOCs, open learning and PLNs contribute to the ideals of open source initiatives.

As teachers, what does that mean for how we teach our students to access and use information? For me, the biggest issue is working with images. Every year, I have students who cite “Google Images” as the source for an image that they have copied and pasted into their work. When I show what an actual link to an image looks like (often 4 lines of text long, filled with random numbers and percentage signs), the students exhale and say “Ohhhhhhhh”.

And then I muddle them further by discussing that those images are actually owned by someone. How is that possible, they wonder. Any efforts to relate the ownership of online images to images in books are not understood, not relatable.

I try to set the bar for image use high for my students. Because I am hoping that the blogging and tweeting that my students do in class becomes a habit, I want them only using creative commons licensed images, or images that they have permission to use. I am hoping that my students continue to write and create publically and feel that they can expect to have their words and work respected.

My favourite search tools for copyright free material:

compfight.com – mainly searches Flickr for images

cc search – a tool to help you search multiple mediums, including sources for sound and video

If you are interested in learning more about Copyright law in Canada ERAC offers a free course for members.

Or, you can learn a bit about Copyright law from the “Fair Use” privileges in the United States, one of which allows for use of materials for the purpose of satire. Enjoy!

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