Wednesday, May 09, 2007

To Copyright or To Copyleft - Is That the Question?

Recently, Lisa (our "fab" new leader on the 8th Floor) and I had an interesting conversation about the difference between copyright (which we all know and pretend to understand) and copyleft (which is kind of an uncomfortable perspective for some of us).

The Internet and, perhaps even more so, Web 2.0 tools have changed the way information is "shared." Most people, especially students, feel that if it's on the web, it's free. Well no, it's not that easy, but it also doesn't have to be that hard. We can still maintain control over our material by giving over control of our material. You choose!

Creative Commons is a popular site for designing your own level of "rights reserved" on the material you put on the web. For many of us, it's not a question of whether we are willing to share our material. Let's face it; as educators, isn't that the business we are in? The question is, what do we want to allow others to do with our material? Again, you choose!

There has been quite a bit of chatter regarding the use of copyleft as opposed to copyright when it comes to online and education. Unfortunately, confusingly, the same old rules don't seem to apply. I am both excited by the new attitude of real sharing, and also frustrated by having to understand new, undulating rules.

If you have any insights or comments, we'd love to hear them.

Lee Anne


Anonymous said...

I'm completely overwhelmed by all the material. Needed to take a break. Copyleft is quite interesting. Karen Taylor

Anonymous said...

This topic has come up in many of my high school programming courses and has fueled lots of good classroom debates. I have a feeling there will be more to come!
Becky Reed

John Victor said...

Copyright laws are rigid and can make it hard to use media as teaching tool. Copyleft may open up some media doors.

Leni said...

I'd like to know more about what is meant by "copyleft," Lee Anne.

The Library of Congress Web site for teachers offers two explanations of copyright and fair use - one for students and one for teachers. This may be of help to some of your readers.

Students: Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright

Questions and Answers: Copyright and Fair Use

Leni Donlan

Lee Anne said...

Leni, thanks for sharing those links.

I'd like to know more about copyleft too! I'm exploring it as I get time. This is another topic we hope to incorporate into our curriculum, soon. It is tricky, however.

As with many educators who blog, many of the things I am learning about show up in the blog - it helps me think about it and bounce it off other people. :-D

Lee Anne

Anonymous said...

I have run into Creative Commons before, most in the context of fan fiction, and this indeed a fascinating topic!

In the past I've taught copyright law as it applies to journalists, and boy it is Fair Use hard to understand. It seems to me that the law is lagging behind the Net, but that we still have to try to observe Fair Use. But it comforts me to know that others are in the dark, too. :).

Dana Sterling