The Copyright Quagmire

Copyright. ‘ It’s one of those issues in education that doesn’t go away. Whether it is the 1,000 pound elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge or it’s the topic being policed with the kind of gusto most often left for sample sales. Copyright causes confusion, panic and in some cases, arguments. ‘ The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.’ ‘  But before we discuss a solution, let’s look at some real life scenarios: Continue reading

Pinterest & Copyright Concerns

You have probably noticed that Pinterest is getting a lot of attention from teen librarians lately. If you have not seen this site for yourself, Pinterest is a social network/curation site based on the concept of a pinboard. Users share images by “pinning” them. Followers can see each other’s boards and “repin” images they like. It’s a great way to share programming ideas, with a clean, pleasant look and an easy-to-use interface. YALSA recently used Pinterest to share ideas for Teen Tech Week.

There has been plenty of chatter on the ya-yaac listserv about Pinterest as well, mostly singing its praises, but a thread titled’ “Pinterest is awesome, but are we risking a lawsuit” gave me pause. In this thread, people linked to a couple of blog posts that expressed serious concerns with the copyright implications of “repinning” content and some conflicting messages between Pinterest’s terms of service and suggested use of the site.

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Being an Advocate for Copyrights

Whether it is photocopying the majority of a book, improperly citing websites for papers or telling me that they have illegally downloaded books, some of my patrons do not seem to have a basic understanding of what a copyright is or’  respect for it.’ ‘ I want to teach them about copyright’ and’ why they should respect it.’ ‘ I want to’ strike a balance between being annoying and enlightening.’  I don’t want to be the finger wagging librarian. This is what I have done so far but it is far from enough.’ 

I hear that readers are so’ excited about books that they illegally download them before the library can get a copy. When I spoke to a’ teen who said that she had done this, I decided to show her some blogs that discuss the issue. I knew that a ton of YA authors have blogged about this but I started with’ ‘ S. Jae_Jones‘ because I like her argument.’ The student read this blog and linked to some of the other blogs.’  But, I’m not really sure if this helped or not.

The other day I was explaining that you do indeed need give credit to images that you take off the Internet and you need to find out if you can take those images. ‘ I did have a handy MLA manual but I wanted the’ student to understand that more than just books, articles should be cited.’  Then I remembered that there was a link to on citing apps on my twitter feed.’ I opened the article at Ed Social Media titled 7 tips for Citing an App in MLA Format and went through it with my patron. I think that this opened her eyes to the idea that all different materials need to be citied.

I am just beginning here so I would love some advice and suggestions

Whose Line is it Anyway? or Teens and Plagiarism Within Creative Works

The past month has brought us two stories from the publishing world that highlight just how little most people understand copyright law.

The’  more widely-publicized story came to us from Germany. Seventeen year old Helene Hegemann became a literary star when her first novel Axolotl Roadkill came out in January to rave reviews. But it wasn’t long before blogger Deef Pirmasens discovered several long passages of the book were copied word-for-word from the pages of another German blogger known only as Airen. You can read the full details of the story on Time’s website, but Hegemann’s response has essentially been that what she was doing was not plagiarism but a technique often used in experimental literature sometimes called intertextuality. Continue reading

Maybe We Can: Image Copyright and You

With major revelations in the Shepard Fairey copyright case hitting the news, image citation and copyright has been on my mind lately.’  Maybe I’m a little over-sensitive because I hold a degree in art history, but failure to properly cite images has always been a pet peeve of mine. I cringe when I see students pulling photos and diagrams straight from a Google image search without bothering to find out the source of the image or credit its creator in any way.

But here’s my sad little secret: half the time I’m just as confused as my students when it comes to properly citing.

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Spore and DRM

My husband has been waiting for Spore for two years now. Its a game created by designer Will Wright. The same guy who made SimCity and’ The Sims.’ The focus of the game is the development of’ a creature through various stages of civilization.’ Starting at single celled organism and’ reaching space exploration’ society the player gets to control what the species looks like as well as design buildings and vehicles. Its a cute game but this post isn’t about’ Spore. Its about the DRM’ on Spore. Continue reading

Copyright Made Fun

This week we have a guest film editor at my library. She shared with us a Creative Commons document called Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? ‘© 2006 by Keith Aoki, James, Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins

“It’s the collision of documentary filmmaking and intellectual property law, and it’s the inspiration for this new comic book.”

It is available online to use for non-commercial purposes. The content can be remixed, read online, or printed out as a pdf. It’s an engaging way to look at copyright in ways that teens are using media today.

Legality of Game Tournaments in Libraries

Many libraries have offered game tournaments for years. In the “June 2008 School Library Journal, a media specialist asks: “Since these games are intended for home use, isn’t that similar to purchasing a movie and showing it to a large audience?”

Carrie Russell, the ALA copyright specialist, suggests:

Librarians can: (1) continue to offer video-game competitions and let the chips fall where they may; (2) contact the rights holders and ask if their licenses can be modified to accommodate your programs; or (3) email the rights holders and tell them you’re opting out of the portion of the contract that allows only home use—and unless they tell you not to, you’re planning to offer gaming tournaments. Although the last option sounds incredibly brazen, copyright experts say it happens all the time in the business world. Of course, there’s always the possibility that your library may be held liable for misusing a video game (sorry), so each of us needs to determine how much risk we’re willing to take.

Which option does/will your library take? Do other options occur to you?

National Library Legislative Day

Check out the podcast ALA Washington Office put together highlighting some of the major issues including: Copyright, National Security Letters, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and Telecommunications. The podcast is also about how we can participate virtually and still have an impact even if we’re not able to go to Washington D.C. Letting our representatives know how important our work is that we do in other words. What a great opportunity to talk to our representatives about what libraries do for teens and can do because of the federal funding that supports library services.

Feel free to share your comments about how your teens have advocated for something-maybe it’ll help inspire other blog readers to get ideas on how to participate in National Library Legislative Day (May 13-14).