To Whom Does it Belong?

  • The digital world in which we live offers a type of free-for-all of information readily available on the Internet.  We live in a time when technology gives us the tools to create, share and publish almost anything online. This ease of information makes understanding what belongs to whom extremely difficult.  It's critical for us all to be aware, and to teach our children and students, that protecting the intellectual property of others is a necessary 21st Century skill.
     We can also download most anything.  Students also know how to remix existing content to share and/or publish.  What they may not know is that, depending on the circumstances, they may be breaking the law.  
    Yes, you can download those movies and songs for free, put them on your computer, phone, media player, and even share them with your friends.  But the consequences of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing can be devastating.  In addition to breaking the law, depending on the type of content, you could be denying a musical artist, photographer, etc. the income of their profession. 
    Copyright laws are changing to adapt to the world of YouTube, Pirate Bay and other file sharing sites, but in the meantime it's imperative that we teach our students about the ownership of intellectual property the same way we teach them about physical property.

What is Copyright?

  • “A copyright is a legal device that gives the creator of a literary, artistic, musical, or other creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work. Copyright owners have the right to control the reproduction of their work, including the right to receive payment for that reproduction. An author may grant or sell those rights to others, including publishers or recording companies. Violation of a copyright is called infringement. “


    "Failure to understand basic copyright concepts is an intellectual pandemic.  The Internet is rife with misinformation that causes financial hardship to teachers, writers, and creators of all types who do not understand the true value of their work."

Creation of Copyright Protection

  • Copyright protection begins with the creation of material. Nothing needs to be done to protect the owner/author/creator of the work.

    “Do I have to register with your office to be protected?

    “ No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.”