This post and the previous post are a draft of an article I've been asked to write for a school library magazine on Creative Commons. I'm sharing the draft here hoping readers will add suggestions for clarification, additions, or other sorts of improvements.
If you can't take advantage of your readers, just who can you take advantage of? I look forward to your comments. Thanks - Doug
Creative Commons and why it should be more common (Part Two)
Implications for K-12 education
Consider these scenarios:
- A student needs photographs and music for a history project, but can’t find what he needs in the public domain or in royalty-free collections…
- A teacher has developed outstanding materials that teach irregular Spanish verbs. She has posted them a website and now regularly gets e-mails requesting permission to use the materials.
- The media specialist is frustrated trying to help his junior high students understand the rights that intellectual property creators have over their own materials. The kids just aren’t able to see the issue from the creator’s point of view.
In each of the scenarios above, Creative Commons licensing may offer a solution. There are three primary uses:
1. Students and teachers need to be able to find and interpret CC licensed materials for incorporation into their own works. Common advice given to both students working on projects and to teachers creating education materials is to abide by the fair use guidelines of copyrighted materials, search for materials in the public domain, and to use royalty-free work in order to remain both legal and ethical information users.
There are two main ways to find Creative Commons licensed materials. CC has a specialized search tool at <http://search.creativecommons.org> and there is a list of directories by format at <http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Content_Curators>. Both can both be effective. Google Advanced Search also allows searching by “usage rights.”
2. Teachers should assign a Creative Commons license to materials that they are willing to share with other educators. As K-12 teacher produce and make available course materials on the web, they will need to understand how to giver permissions. (Check with your local school district to see who owns the copyright to materials that are teacher produced.) MIT’s OpenCourseWare and Rice University Connexions, two formal post-secondary learning materials repositories use Creative Commons licensing.
3. Students should be required to place a Creative Commons license on their own work to increase their understanding of intellectual property issues. Only when students begin think about copyright and other intellectual property guidelines from the point of view of the producer as well as the consumer, can they form mature attitudes and act in responsible ways when questions about these issues arise. And as an increasing number of students become “content creators” themselves, this should be an easier concept to help them grasp:
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet, up from 57% of online teens in a similar survey at the end of 2004. (Teen Content Creators, 2007)
Students need to know what their rights as creators and IP owners are. This may help combat the misperception that only big, faceless companies are impacted by intellectual property theft. A popular view is that it acceptable to steal from big companies but not from the small fry. Too often students and adults forget that many large companies are made up of small stockholders and employees. Publishing companies also represent the interests of individual artists, writers and musicians - whose ranks students themselves may one day join.
Developing empathy toward content creators who hope to profit by their work, helps all of us place copyright into context and perspective.
The legal aspects of intellectual property sharing have been outstripped by the mechanical means of copying and distribution. Understanding and using Creative Commons both a content consumers and content producers might help narrow the technology/acceptable use gap.
Spread the word.
- Creative Commons website < http://creativecommons.org/>
- Creative Commons wiki <http://wiki.creativecommons.org/>
- 7 Things You Should Know about Creative Commons” EDUCAUSE <http://connect.educause.edu/Library/ELI/7ThingsYouShouldKnowAbout/39400>
- A Shared Culture <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DKm96Ftfko>
- Wanna Work Together? < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3rksT1q4eg>