Beg – Borrow – Steal

Copyright and Fair Use: did you ask for permission? Have you just borrowed it without the owners knowledge? Did you steal it? Do you know?

This is a hot topic in schools, especially as our students can be worldwide published authors.  No longer are we in the safe domain of Turnitin and plagiarism checkers for essays – we live in a world of multimedia, where students are encouraged to be creative, where we actively encourage them to submit summative work in the form of a blog, video or presentation.

I did an interesting Unit with my students.  They came into class and I gave them 30 mins to create a video, it had to include motion, music and stills.  At the end of the 30 mins I gave them a questionnaire with the following questions:

What was the subject of your video?
What website and/or programme did you use to get the music?
Which programme and/or website did you use to get the video?
Which programme and/or website did you use to get the images?
Who does the media you have used belong to?
Is it copyright free?
Do you know what copyright means?
How do you know if media is copyrighted?
Is your video and original piece of work?
Explain why you think your video is or is not an original piece of work.

The responses were varied and it was clear that we had a bit of work to do on copyright:

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It was really interesting to see that most of the students took their word from youtube, through convertors. They really weren’t interested in quality or finding the original sources.  Therefore, a great place for me to start, as a teacher and a learner, was youtube – as it seemed that this was the place students went to find media, ranking now as the second largest search engine and the third most visited site, and it was the place that they would ultimately post their creations.  It was clear that we need to look at their laws, rules and regulations of copyright and fair use.

Youtube was and excellent resource, the students and myself found it extremely manageable.  The videos were both fun and informative:


It’s page on copyright was great!:

We explored a variety of different mediums and it was interesting to have discussion with kids and allow them to investigate the true meaning of copyright and fair use – although I really don’t think that we got to the bottom of fair use in video, there were some amazing debates in the classroom!

Here was the final task slideshow for the students:

And still…. I look back over my previous blog and am still not sure if I have cited everything appropriately! This looks to me like a very good project to explore again and introduce to my primary department.

One thought on “Beg – Borrow – Steal

  1. Any lesson that stirs up good debates is a good one. I like the creativity behind this task. I’d be curious to hear students thoughts on the two iterations of their work. How would they evaluate their “free for all” work versus their work attempting to follow fair use?

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