I once tried what I thought was a fantastic idea as an English teacher: have students create a movie trailer for a book they had read to present to their classmates. Students did an excellent job carefully piecing together images, footage and background music using a variety of editing software. When they presented in front of their peers, we filmed their presentations and posted them privately on YouTube.
As an educator who utilizes technology in her teaching, I had so many questions about copyright that no one seemed to be able to answer:
What does copyright mean?
Where can I find free-to-use content?
Do Fair Use principles cover me as an educator?
My pursuit of answers that led me down a rabbit hole of information, contradictions, and legal jargon. Unfortunately contemporary copyright laws are convoluted and full of “grey areas”. The hypocrisy of how most laws have been established (through large corporations looking to cash-in) has stunted culture and put limits on creativity in the digital world. While I do believe direct copy and paste piracy should be illegal, today’s restrictions may be crippling today’s Creative Class of learners.
Then YouTube took down the majority of my students' videos for copyright infringement. Oops.
I had to backtrack and learn more about copyright laws and teach this information to my digital citizens:
I also created a student-friendly printable "cheat sheets" to help students find content for their multimedia projects:
Please feel free to copy these materials and use them for educational purposes.