• Adrian Cargal

They Made Me Write About Copyright...Ugh!

Who cares about Copyright Law? The advancement of technology has created a platform where people can copy, paste, share, and repeat that series of steps infinitely without the looming feeling of "the man" controlling your sharing. BUT IT'S STILL ILLEGAL!! Yes, that's right, folks. You are not supposed to be posting musical, literary, dramatic, pictorial, or any other original work if you are not the author. There are a few exceptions, such as Public Domain (any work published prior to 1926) or content provided by the government (such as NASA). This means that cute little picture you posted on Facebook this morning with that cute little poem containing underlying meaning about your current mood could have been illegal! What does that mean, exactly? It means that your post could be removed, or the author could seek legal accountability for your actions in the form of a fine or other restitution.

The effective use of copyrighted materials enhances the teaching and learning process in several ways, though. It promotes tangible mediums through fair use, it allows for educators to have some leeway when preparing for a lesson, and it protects intellectual property from being submitted falsely as original work. Over the years, copyright law has encouraged the production of creative works in the name of science and acquiring knowledge.

Fair use is defined as transforming duplicating copyrighted material in order to critique, summarize, quote, or create a parody. When preparing a lesson as an educator, being able to utilize fair use is important. Products and reports created by students would not be as rich if they were not able to take advantage of this copyright clause.

Making copies of a well-known work in order to teach a lesson is something that educators do on a daily basis. Educators, under copyright law, are able to show illustrations, play music, or display literary works freely as long as it is inside of an educational establishment (“Copyright for Teachers and Students,” 2017). If there were strict restrictions, it would be possible that teachers would not use any copyrighted materials, and therefore, robbing students of effective classroom instruction.

The effective use of copyrighted materials protects original works from being plagiarized, or submitted falsely as original work from a student. When educators request students to write their own thoughts in the form of an essay, info graphic, or blog, it is important that original work be submitted. Individuals should be able to express their own thoughts and not have to copy and paste their work from another author. Copyright law helps educators to enforce this and keep students honest. So write your own poem with underlying meaning and then you won't have to worry about copyright! Here's my friend Stan with a Crash Course to help you learn a little more on the subject.


Copyright for Teachers and Students. (2017, July 7). Retrieved June 19, 2021, from CopyrightUser website:

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