Inspiration for Leaders

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Model Schools Kicks Off with Digital Citizenship Presentation

In a digital age where the sharing of information is commonplace and YouTube videos abound, it's easy to see how educators might be confused about the legality of posting school-produced videos online or including copyrighted material in PowerPoint presentations.

The Oct. 4th Model Schools Kick Off was designed to put educators' fears at ease thanks to some great advice form Barry Britt, director of educational technology at Sounzabound Music, a Georgia-based company providing royalty free music to schools.

Because all of us who create material and post it online are considered copyright holders and publishers these days, Mr. Britt said it's especially important to know the copyright laws that apply to using written work, along with songs and music videos, but also to be aware of media permissions, ethics, and ownership.

What educators need to become most familiar with, explained Mr. Britt, is the fair use law. This allows teachers to use copyrighted materials in certain situations. For example, if it's relevant to course content, if the material is being used for face-to-face instruction on a closed network, if it's not being used for duplication or distribution purposes, if it’s only being used one time, and if the user credits/cites the copyright holder.

Common mistakes that schools make include posting videos with popular background music or using copyrighted images without the proper attribution or credit. Mr. Britt cited several examples, including the case of one large school district in North Carolina that had 38 law suits filed against it, totaling $30 million. The school district in question was found guilty of violating copyright law after because it used copyrighted materials on its own cable TV station.

Teaching students to act ethically before sharing music and educating everyone, including teachers, on the fair use guidelines is important to good digital citizenship, said Mr. Britt. Citing sources and asking a copyright holder for permission to use his/her material is also a good practice, he added. Reassuring participants that he wasn't out to scare them, Mr. Britt said, "I'm not the copyright police; I'm just here to educate you."

Find out more about Soundzabound and to avail of its many resources, visit Additional resources, such as free instructional materials and audio files, can be found at the following links:

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