A student in one of my classes brought a copyright resource to class and I thought I should pass the resource on. Technology and Learning offers a copyright primer and chart for administrators (you may have to register to use this site). I have to bite my tongue when I see that a resource has been created for administrators, but if I say anything more I may get myself in trouble. Hall Davidson (the author) has made an effort to use concrete examples and organize issues within a convenient table.
The trouble I have attempting to understand copyright is that the language of copyright law always seems vague and my mind quickly jumps to very specific examples that remain unclear. Here is an example based on the chart provided by Technology and Learning and not the original law or related cases. One topic within the chart concerns the use of copyrighted characters (e.g., Bugs Bunny) and the description of violation claims – “Copyrighted characters may not be used without permission for any school purpose other than instruction.” This actually surprised me because I would probably not assume I could use an image of Bugs or a recording of “that’s all folks” for any purpose. Then I started to wonder about the meaning of instruction. Does the word “instruction” mean use of the image/sound as an example that preserves a focus on the original use of the protected resources (e.g., a discussion of copyrighted material, a discussion of branding as a business strategy) or does it mean the use of a resource as part of a general educational enterprise (e.g., creating a stamp of bugs and using this stamp to reward good student work). See what I mean by the problems that arise when considering specific cases?
I have not been an administrator now for several years. Perhaps if I was presently in such a capacity, I would be able to think more clearly about such issues.
That is all folks.