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April 08, 2004

Copyright Lesson Activity

Last week, we gave our online students an activity on Copyright and Fair Use: Do the Right Thing, which I have also recently posted in the Maricopa Learning eXchange:

http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/mlx/slip.php?item=1264

The subject merits almost an entire course in itself, but we boiled it down to sending them to to excellent web tutorials:

(1) Intellectual Property Law: Why Should I Care?- Carlos And Eddie in 'Rock Machine' is a nicely designed site geared for students based on the story of the antics of two cartoon drawn college students.

(2) University of Texas Copyright Tutorial has a great wealth of information found inside the UT Crash Course on Copyright

They were to review each site, take the simple online quiz from each, and post a discussion board message about their "scoires" and what they learned. Unfortunately, it seems we needed to spell out very specific questions for them to respond to besides "I liked the site".

However, our follow-up activity this week is soaring like an eagle! We have invited a guest expert, an associate dean of instruction from one of our colleges that has probably the most experience in this area. Dr. Mary Lou Mosley participated a few years back (as the only rep from a community college) in a national task force of educators and copyright holders to develop fair use guidelines for educators. She has a great presentation online called "©opyright Doesn't Mean "Copy it Outright!".

The activity was for them to pose two specific questions (related to the course or content they teach) on copyright, fair use, intellectual property-- Mary Lou offered to visit the discussion area once on three days this week. This is also turning out to be a great example of the power of using the internet to bring in remote experts-- typically people think of doing this as live chat sessions, but with our smaller class size and schedules, synchronous meeting is not feasible.

Some questions already posed:

There is a great movie "Stand and Deliver," 103 min. long which has a scene in it I have referred to in the past. I would like to include the clip in the presentation of learning styles and the importance of connecting with students in creating an interest for them to learn something new. As I understand it, for my class, under fair use, I am able to incorporate up to the lesser of 10% or a limit of three minutes and this works great for me as the scene I would like to use is under three minutes long.

If as a result of viewing the clip, my class would like to see the whole movie, what are my options? I just bought it on DVD and only own a single copy which was not purchased with rights to show formally to a group. The whole of the movie is not needed for my lesson. I was wondering which of the following should be a concern and are there alternatives I should look at instead (my feeling is that it would be okay to use the reserve option?):

* set up a time for the group to meet in the library to view my copy as a group
* put my copy on reserve in our school library for any interested students in the class to view it
* loan my copy personally to each student one at a time


To which Mary Lou responded...

In a face-to-face classroom, you can show the clip from the DVD under "Fair Use" for the following reasons:

1. it meets a content objective (learning styles example), not just shown for entertainment
2. you are accessing it from the DVD so it is in the "original" format that you purchased
3. it is less than 10% of the total length -- but you have to also take into account the significance of the 10%. If the clip is the defining portion or unique portion of the video, then the 10% rule no longer works.

As for showing the whole video in class, it would need to meet your content and course objectives. You could put it on reserve in the library since it was part of your instruction.

The challenge involving copyright occurs if you want to digitize that clip to show in class. You have now changed the format and the 10% guideline becomes more important (especially if the clip is a defining part of the movie) and you become limited to showing it only one time without getting permission to change the format. In addition, you must give credit to the copyright holder as part of the clip.

Then, if you want to use that clip in an online class, you have changed the format and you are no longer in a face to face situation. Now you need to consider the following:

1. the clip is less than 10% AND not a significant piece of the movie,
2. the class is password protected so only the registered students can view the clip,
3. the clip is related to the class content/objectives
4. the college or you have purchased the DVD
5. and you do it only for 1 class - 1 time.

If the answer to each of the above is "yes," you probably can use it before you get permission. This allows you to try out an activity and if it is successful, ask for permission.

Copyright holders become very concerned when the material changes format and when it is not used in a face to face class.

Next, we got this question...


There is a poem in my literature book (a book that each one of my students has) that I want to copy as a handout so that students may mark on it for analysis purposes. Since it is restricted to my class, and they all have the poem in their books anyway, (but this is high school and they cannot mark in their books), is this a copyright infringement

And the response...

Technically, copying the poem is violating copyright because you are changing the format without permission and you are doing multiple copies. However, making the copies probably falls under fair use for the following reasons:

1. the students already have the book so you are not impacting sales (this is the most important reason in this situation)
2. the poem is a small part of the book
3. your purpose in making the copies is tied to the course content/objectives

Now, if the book were a workbook, then copying the page would not fall as easily under Fair Use because the intent of a workbook is to be used/consummed by writing in it. Then, you would have to look at the 10% guideline and have a very good reason to copy the one page.

And one more...

I want to create an eye catching logo for my syllabus. Clip art is too mundane. Everyone has seen those graphics. So I want to search the web and lasso parts of copyrighted photos, for example, an eye here and a hand there. Then I want to layer it into my logo for the syllabus. I didn't take any of these photos, but I created my own graphic by composing parts of other pictures. Is there a percentage of a photo a person can use?

(This one was just posted so no answer yet!)

This is likely some of the best exchange we have had yet!

Update: April 9, 2004 The answer to the "PhotoShop Chops" question above...

You have posed a great scenario! I have had to really think about your question because it is more than just the Four Factor Test or the "amount and substantiality" guideline. It needs to be answered on many levels -- like the many layers available in photoshop.

The "amount and substantiality" guideline looks at both the amount of the work being copied and the importance of that part to the whole work. For example, many songs are known by a short phrase or several measures of music. Even though the guidelines suggest that you can copy up to 10% or 30 seconds of music, if you include that phrase or measures of music that identify the song, you may have violated the "substantiality" part of the guideline. If you copied other parts of the song that don't cause instant recognition, you could use more of the song under the Four Factor Test of Fair Use.

In the scenario you suggest of taking parts of copyrighted photos, it would be hard to determine the "amount" part of the guideline and even harder to prove you had not taken the important part of the photo. In some cases, the eye or hand, for example, may be the defining feature of the photo. Then, you would have gone beyond the guideline.

On the next level, whenever anyone uses someone else's work, credit has to be given. That would look odd on the syllabus in your example because you would have to list the credits for each part of copyrighted work you used.

On another level, creating a logo for a syllabus, or for a page/chapter heading of an online course, or similar example, is not really an educational use of copyrighted material in support of the course content/objective. Even though the syllabus is used in school, the copyright holder could make a good case that this type of copying is a violation because it does not support instruction.

A better option which eliminates the copyright issue is to use royalty-free photos, pay the fee, and then make the changes, use parts, etc. to design your logo. You could also investigate the suggestion that Xxxxxx made about a class.

Thanks for the challenging scenario!

blogged April 8, 2004 10:59 AM :: category [ mlx , teach online ] :: TrackBack
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