My teenage daughter received an interesting assignment last month. She was asked to create her own blog. She chose to create a visual blog. As she was blatantly copying images from the internet, we had one of those “you don’t know anything” mother-daughter conversations. Regardless, it was one of those teachable moments I couldn’t pass up. I am currently learning a little more about Canadian copyright law this week and the implications of Bill C-11 on education. “Awareness of copyright is important because you are educating the copyright owners and users of tomorrow.” (p. 20, CMEC, 2012) Our students are future creators and users of digital content. Ignorance is not a permissible excuse; therefore education regarding copyright is essential. “As a faculty member, your best defense is to set a clear policy against copyright infringement in your classroom.” (p. 6, Nenych, 2011)
Acceptable use of content meets both tests for Fair Dealing. (Fair Dealing Guidelines, 2012) My daughter’s use of photos meets the first test; for educational purposes. The second test is that it must be ‘fair’. Some of the photos she chose fail this second test. They are copyright protected and she is using them to create her own work. The knowledge she was missing was how to use the filters provided in such programs as Google, Microsoft, and Flickr. Clearly, there is a need for all citizens to acquire such skills when using content found on the Internet.
My second concern with my daughter’s assignment is the absence of references. “Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work under these Fair Dealing Guidelines for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review should mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.” (p. 1, Fair Dealings Guidelines, 2012) When is an appropriate time to be teaching referencing? If economics is a driving force, the answer then is Kindergarten. “If the guidelines are incorporated into school authorities’ procedures and communicated to staff and students accordingly, effective January 1, 2013, it is no longer necessary for authorities to continue to pay copyright royalties to Access Copyright under the current tariff, a savings of $5.16 per FTE per year.” (Copy of Letter from Deputy Minister, December 2012) If you scoff at the suggestion of this young age, you will be as surprised as I was when an opportunity to illustrate how to cite a reference arose in my grade one class. A student copied a fact from a book to add to her work. It was a natural opening to address the mentioning of the source of her quote. Now, it wasn’t in A.P.A. format. I thought we’d take it one step at a time.
CMEC (2012). Copyright matters. Retrieved from:
CMEC (2012). Fair Dealing Guidelines. Retrieved from: http://www.cmec.ca/397/Programs-and-Initiatives/Copyright/Fair-Dealing-Guidelines/index.html
Nenych, L. A. (2011). Managing the legal risks of high-tech classrooms. Contemporary Issues In Education Research, 4(3), 1-7.