Digital Citizenship, Week 3

Week 3 Reflection

What is Copyright?

I found this third week to be quite interesting. We looked at the definitions of all kinds of copyrights and copywrongs. Even though I have taken a look at this before, I still find myself confused when I hear the work copyright. So, I think the central theme of this week should be that “copyright is a limited monopoly where the creator of literary work has command over who can use and copy their work.” This is really my definition, but I remember my professor in the Mass Communication law course telling me the same thing in his class. As an undergraduate at Nicholls State University, I majored in Mass Communication and General Studies, and we discussed the topic of “copyright” quite a bit. This topic has stayed with me during this whole time. The real definition of copyright is that it is protection for “original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form, whether published or unpublished” (“What is Copyright,” n.d.).

This week’s lecture extended my knowledge by extending the definition of copyright as it pertains to education, teachers, and learning institutions. I really enjoyed the case studies this week as they gave me a chance to apply the lessons to real life. The copyrighted material essay gave me a good chance to look at another lesson from my band director in high school that he told me when I was drum major. Every band purchases sheet music for their performances, but the real problem begins when a band member needs another copy of the music. Can you put it in a Xerox machine and make another copy? The short answer to this is no. You can only use the original copies of the song provided by the publisher. As Mr. Wimberly, the band director, once told us, if copies are made of music, the school would get fined about $5,000 per sheet that was copied. This is a lesson that I will remember from now on.

When you make a reference to something that is copyrighted, you have to always give credit to the person who wrote the document so as not to make it your own. In my personal life, I always try to do this. I put sources in papers whenever I use a publication, and when I make a joke in a conversation that another comedian said, I will mention the comedian that made this joke previously. Plagiarism is another important topic, and we should always give credit to someone else when we use their work in our own documents. Failure to do this can result in dismissal from academic programs, fines, and other consequences. So, even though copyright is important, there are certain circumstances where permission is not needed from the copyright holder to use their works.

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If an educational institution wanted to use literary articles in teaching, it would probably qualify under the “fair use” doctrine. Also, since copyright lasts for the life of the holder plus 70 years, certain documents may be in the “public domain” since they outlived the holder of the copyright. I am not a lawyer, but these terms still confuse me to this day. This course has helped to be a more informed educator with respect to copyright. In closing, I believe that copyrighted materials can really enhance the learning environment for any student. A literary work can inspire imagination, while a film or documentary can teach important facts about any topic.

It is up to the teacher to leverage these works so that they can ignite a spark that can inspire the notion of “discovery” to launch the real joy of learning. With this thought, I look forward to a topic next week that cyber security specialists and teachers have all had a hand in trying to solve – cyber bullying! I hope to learn a lot from it. By the way, this reflection and ePortfolio is the sole property of Drew Bergeron as the copyright holder. All thoughts represented in this reflection reflect the views of himself and his class. Permission to reproduce has been granted.

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Below this reflection, I have included a list of resources that might be of use to anyone that wants to learn about copyright.


Resources for Understanding Copyright

References

What Is a Copyright? (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2017, from http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/intellectual-property/what-is-copyright.html

Link to Portfolio Front Page:

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