Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do YOU have permission to use THAT?!

I'm sitting in a presentation on Copyright and Fair Use. Most would probably think this is the most boring way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. Sometimes I might agree with you.

But with the ever changing technology and all the information on the internet, folks think that everything is theirs for the taking. NOT! Just because it's put out there on the internet -- a blog, a wiki, a company site, a database, whatever the source -- that does not mean that you can use it, carte blanche, with no indication of whose work it is. And you certainly can't take credit for it. That's just plain old stealing.

We (that's the collective librarian we) tell students that they must research their topics, take notes, and put the information into their own words. You know, creating those regurgitated research reports (cue vomiting sounds) and they absolutely CANNOT cut and paste information into the document, PowerPoint, presentation. Ummmm....yeah....right!

We tell this to our students, but then we (that's the collective teacher we) seem to have no problem taking some one's posted lesson plans, educational article, research dissertation from an internet site and including it in our own presentations. Hmmmmm, did we ask permission to do this? Did we read the copyright information about the plans, article, dissertation, document? Maybe we do have rights to use it.....maybe we don't!

Maybe you need to check out Creative Commons! The site allows you to find, share, and use others' work. The key is that it is all done within the legal confines and consistency of copyright law. Yeh! Basically they allow an author to modify copyright terms to suit his work and to grant copyright permissions for use of his work. Read more about it at their site!

The next time you think about making 100 copies of something from a website, a book, or other source stop and think about the copyright and fair use guidelines. Consult one of our gurus like Carol Simpson. We'd hate for you to have to fork over your salary and your freedom for a copyright infringement!

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