Copyright law surrounding media is a hardly discussed topic that we probably should be taking a more proactive stance in teaching to current students. I would argue that while children old enough to begin writing research pieces know that simply copying and pasting other peoples’ work is plagiarism, the same attention to detail is not given to the relevant images that are taken from google and pasted into their works. Media like pictures, drawings and videos are intellectual properties that just as subject to copyright as their written counterparts. This is one area where Creative Commons can be a fantastic resource.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that is designed to allow the general public standardized, free access the creative works of others that can be shared, used and published according to the conditions of simple copyright attributions that the creator has assigned their work. In other words, this means that students, teachers and anyone else can use the Creative Commons Search to find appropriate sources for their images, music and other media that they may want to use in handouts, public presentations, or other projects.
Well this all sounds great, but what if you can’t find what you’re looking for? Unfortunately this may happen from time to time, but now you can see the value of not just taking from, but also contributing to Creative Commons resources! I am a strong believer in open access to education, information and other valuable resources and the knowledge of Creative Commons licenses will help me to make the resources that I have created accessible to those who would like them. Open education is the idea that access to information should not be hidden behind a paywall that not everyone has the opportunity to access. Uploading all the lessons and resources that I plan to use in my classroom to my blog where it can be accessed and used by anyone is an example of this, as is contributing to Creative Commons.
I recognize that I have a set of technological skills that not everyone has. As such, when I create my own images, worksheets, games, ebooks, videos, etc., I would like to share them for use by others who may not have the ability to create those resources on their own but would sure benefit from them. I encourage anyone who creates to learn more about Creative Commons and how they can make their content accessible where possible.