Our friend and colleague, Chris Sloan, from the Wasatch Range Writing Project in Utah invited Renee Hobbs and Troy Hicks to join us on this week’s Teachers Teaching Teachers. (By the way, if you would like to plan and produce (and later edit) a TTT webcast like Chris did for this episode, please email Paul Allison or Susan Ettenheim.)
Here’s how Chris Sloan describes his thinking for the live webcast:
The authors of “Code of Practices for Fair Use in Media Education” might just as well be describing me, when they write, “Most ‘copyright education’ that educators and learners have encountered has been shaped by the concerns of commercial copyright holders, whose understandable concern about large-scale copyright piracy has caused them to equate any unlicensed use of copyrighted material with stealing.” While the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education was published more than a year ago, I still have questions about how it applies to my own teaching and to my students’ digital compositions. And I don’t think I’m alone either. So I thought having a chat with Renee Hobbs and Troy Hicks, two people who’ve thought a lot about this, might help me (and other teachers like me) think through the copyright doctrine of fair use.
We asked Renee to talk about her background, how she got to this place where she is, a media educator at Temple University. In November 2008, educators were introduced to the “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education, by Renee Hobbs, Peter Jaszi, and Patricia Auferheide. We also asked her how and why the three of them created this code? Troy Hicks wrote a book The Digital Writing Workshop and an article “Transforming our understanding of copyright and fair use”. Given that he had written a book that advocates how to teach digital writing, we are happy to have his thoughts on Renee’s work during this podcast.
- At the end of the section, “What is transformative use?” Troy writes: “If we as educators can invite our students to think critically about their use of copyrighted materials in the process of creating their own digital compositions, and help them understand what it means to build on the work of another in a transformative way, then we can open up thought-provoking discussions about how we compose in the 21st century.” Can you say more about that Troy? How does that look in your own teaching?
Now some teachers might not think that this document pertains to them because we might not all understand the title and/or the concept of “Fair Use,” but one of the things I notice pretty quickly about the document (on page 2) is that media literacy is often embedded in other subject areas. Additionally the description of Media Literacy Education seems to describe what students do in Youth Voices a lot of the time, and what more students will be doing the more they create digital compositions.
- ML is the capacity to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms
- ML responds to the demands of cultural participation in the 21st century
- ML like all literacy includes both receptive and productive dimensions
- media can influence beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors and the democratic process
The Guide addresses… “the transformative use of copyrighted materials in media literacy educations that can flourish only with a robust understanding of fair use…. The Supreme Court has pointed out that fair use keeps copyright from violating the First Amendment…. Fair use helps ensure that people have access to the information they need to fully participate as citizens. The fair use doctrine allows users to make use of copyrighted works without permission or payment when the benefit to society outweighs the cost to the copyright holder.”“for any particular field lawyers and judges consider expectations and practice in assessing what is ‘fair’ within that field. So in essence we’re talking specifically about fair use in an educational setting, about how fair use applies to student digital compositions published on the Internet – Youth Voices.The Fair use Doctrine (section 107) of the Copyright Act of 1976 states that the use of copyrighted material “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” is not infringement.In weighing the balance at the heart of fair use analysis, judges refer to four types of considerations mentioned in the law.
- the purpose of the use
- the nature of the copyrighted work
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the original work
- and the effect of the use on the market for the original
In recent years, legal scholars have found that courts return again and again to two questions in deciding if a particular use of a copyrighted work is a fair use
- did the unlicensed use “transform” the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?
- was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use?
Applying the doctrine of fair use requires a reasoning process, not a list of hard-and-fast rules. It requires users to consider the context and situation of each use of copyrighted work. So we want you to join us. We’ll present a couple of cases from our work on Youth Voices.
Click Read more to see a transcript of a chat that was happening during the webcast.