ERIC Number: ED499465
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy
Hobbs, Renee; Jaszi, Peter; Aufderheide, Patricia
Purpose: Media literacy educators in K-12, higher education, and after-school programs depend on the ability to make use of copyright materials (print, visual, film, video and online) in their teaching. This study investigated the knowledge, attitudes and experiences of media literacy educators regarding copyright and fair use. Methodology: Sixty-three educators from K-12, higher education, youth media, and non-profit organizations were interviewed. The interview, approximately 45 minutes or longer, usually by phone, consisted of open-ended questions organized into three broad categories: (1) how educators use copyrighted materials in the classroom or other educational setting for educational purposes; (2) how their students use copyrighted materials in their own creative work; and (3) how educators use copyrighted materials in their curriculum development, materials production, or other creative work. Results: The fundamental goals of media literacy education--to cultivate critical thinking about media and its role in culture and society and to strengthen creative communication skills--are compromised by unnecessary copyright restrictions. Among K-12 educators, youth media specialists, and college faculty, teachers face conflicting information about their rights, and their students' rights, to quote copyrighted material. Many confront complex, restrictive institutional copyright policies in the workplace. As a result, media literacy educators use less effective teaching techniques, teach and transmit erroneous copyright information, fail to share innovative instructional approaches, and do not take advantage of new digital platforms. Conclusions: Copyright law permits a wide range of uses of copyrighted material without permission or payment. Educational exemptions sit within a far broader landscape of fair use. However, educators today have no consensus around what constitutes acceptable fair use practices. Recommendations: Media literacy educators can address this problem with the same techniques they use in their work: increasing shared knowledge. Like other creative communities, such as documentary filmmakers, media literacy educators from K-12 to university level can articulate their own shared understandings of appropriate fair use in a code of practice. This code can educate not only themselves and their colleagues, but their students and administrators. Finally, their code can guide and instruct other educators, in formal and informal settings, who use copyrighted material in their teaching for a wide range of educational purposes and goals. The following are appended: (1) Research Methodology; and (2) Interviewees. [This report was produced by the Center for Social Media, School of Communication, American University.]
Descriptors: Teacher Effectiveness, Elementary Secondary Education, Copyrights, Media Specialists, Media Literacy, Student Rights, Knowledge Level, Teacher Attitudes, Interviews, Critical Thinking, Teaching Methods, Compliance (Legal), Legal Responsibility, Federal Legislation, College Faculty, Teachers, Higher Education, Curriculum Development
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Sponsor: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: American Univ., Washington, DC.