DIGITAL ETHICS: 5. Copyright

Subjects: Digital Literacy, Ethics & Communities
Grade Level: All
Source: Cable in the Classroom

Creators of freeware and shareware encourage users to copy and share their offerings with others. People can download these programs for free and freely send them to friends.  Some artwork, graphics, music, and videos on the Internet are free for anyone to use. But the majority of software programs, computer games, music and video files, artwork, and graphics cannot be legally copied and shared. Most are protected by copyright.

You don't have to become an expert on copyright law to help your students learn about it. Your school's Acceptable Use policy may have useful guidelines on copyright and there's plenty of help online.

Education World offers a five-part series, “The Educator’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use.” Topics include:

  • Copyrights and Copying Wrongs
  • Is Fair Use a License to Steal?
  • Copyright Law and New Technologies
  • Applying Fair Use to New Technologies
  • District Liability and Teaching Responsibility

You’ll find a Study Plan for Copyright Laws with many links to resources on copyright at the Study Plans site.

Thinkquest provides guidelines for students in “Art is Property” on a variety of copyright issues, including the process of keeping a log of anything for which permission is needed when creating a Web site.

Multimedia Copyright Guidelines for Students – A WebQuest for 7th Grade Students This site challenges students to investigate possible copyright violations described in a variety of scenarios and determine if copyright laws are being followed.


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