Jason Puckett With great power comes great bibliography.

11Jun/09Off

Comparing copyright curricula

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a sort of open-source class curriculum called "Teaching Copyright" in response to the RIAA's "Campus Downloading" site, which has a video and informational documents about the dangers of downloading free music. The RIAA offers a free DVD for educators.

The RIAA's material:

  • Doesn't identify the sponsor of the site
  • Makes blanket statements that downloading music without the copyright holder's permission is illegal
  • Doesn't mention fair use, public domain, or Creative Commons
  • Warns students of the risks of being sued or expelled, without identifying the RIAA as the plaintiff in these lawsuits.
  • Links to lots of sites that sell music by RIAA recording artists.

The EFF's material:

  • Clearly identifies the organization behind the site and their agenda
  • Discusses the four factors of fair use, the public domain, and illustrates legal examples of reusing digital materials
  • Clarifies the stakeholders on multiple sides of controversies in copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing.

Did you ever use sites like martinlutherking.org (I won't link to it because I don't want to boost its Google ranking) to demonstrate bias and critical evaluation? Wouldn't it be a great information literacy exercise to have students analyze the two curricula? And maybe teach them something about copyright and information use in the bargain?

I've ordered one of the RIAA's DVDs to use in class next year.

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