Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Transformative is a Beautiful Word

I've been working with a group of graduate students (all educators) on some pretty sizzling topics like public domain, fair use, and copyright. Let me tell you, these are topics that can really get a madcap party started. I'm just sayin'!

Understanding copyright is a challenge - and that's kind of putting it nicely. But I read a post by Joyce Valenza, Fair use and transformativeness: It may shake your world, and suddenly I felt like it was a little easier to breath. You know, kind of like when you have a cold and you pop a mentholated lozenge in your mouth. Air can suddenly pass through swollen passages. It's a miracle. The word "transformative" was like a mentholated lozenge for us.

Here's a taste of what she has to say about fair use in education.

"My new understanding:

I learned on Friday night that the critical test for fairness in terms of educational use of media is transformative use. When a user of copyrighted materials adds value to, or repurposes materials for a use different from that for which it was originally intended, it will likely be considered transformative use; it will also likely be considered fair use. Fair use embraces the modifying of existing media content, placing it in new context.

Examples of transformativeness might include: using campaign video in a lesson exploring media strategies or rhetoric, using music videos to explore such themes as urban violence, using commercial advertisements to explore messages relating to body image or the various different ways beer makers sell beer, remixing a popular song to create a new artistic expression."

There's much more in the post. And, even though the effects of the lozenge don't last for very long, you feel good for a little while, right. I thought her discussion was worth reading and thinking about.

If you want or need to do a little more reading on copyright (or copyleft) here are links to enough information to keep you busy for a few minutes.


Just sharin'!
Lee Anne

1 comment:

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