Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sarah Duffy 20% Project Reflection

Sarah Chelgren Duffy
20% Project Blog Post

For my 20% Project, I decided to focus on Creative Credit and Copyright as it applies to our music class.  This comes up in class from time to time throughout the year, but the bulk of our discussions about copyright come up in the spring as we are preparing for our spring concert.  This is a themed concert and we do a lot of pop music, which inevitably leads to a lot of thorny copyright issues such as projecting images from a movie behind us as we play the music, having people dress up as characters from the movie, posting videos online, or selling DVDs of our concert.

I don't want to spend a great deal of time on these lessons with my students, but I do want to get beyond just saying, ¨we can't do that¨, when copyright issues come up.  I want them to understand why we can’t do certain things because of how they apply to copyright law.  

As a music educator, I deal with copyright issues on a daily basis.  From photocopies of printed music to online recordings to selling DVDs of our concerts, potential issues abound.  The reaction of many (most??) music educators when they hear the word “copyright” is to turn (run?) the other way.  The feeling is that we can’t be in violation of the law if we don’t know the law, so why bother to learn about it?  It will only get us in trouble.  Many of us hide behind what we think is “Fair Use”, when in fact what we are doing many times is not fair use.  I admit that I tread slowly and carefully into this topic because ignorance is indeed bliss!  However, it is important that I do my best to model responsible Digital Citizenship in this area.

Common Sense Media has a great lesson about copyright and respecting the creative work of others:  My plan is to change the Mad Men advertising exercise from one about images to one about music.  This lesson will open the door to some basic understandings about fair use, creative commons, public domain, patents, trademarks, and copyright.  There are also some great stories about cease-and-desist orders related to various bands or the use of songs in campaigns, etc., that will be interesting to include in the discussion (Silverspun Pickups to Mitt Romney, Olympic Committee to the local band Olympic Hopefuls, Disney to the Anoka High School marching band, the band Heart to Sarah Palin, Bruce Springsteen and the use of “Born in the USA”, etc. etc.).

I will also share the key bullet points related to music education and copyright, as found in these articles from Nafme, our national music education organization:

One of the articles that I found most interesting was about what can happen when families record our concerts and post them on YouTube.  Without permission of the publishers and everyone in the video, this is a violation of copyright law and the school can be held responsible for the actions of the parent.  This is just one example of why it is so important to educate our students and their families on responsible digital citizenship.

Teachers are reluctant to discuss issues of copyright, but I plan to ask some questions in the Facebook orchestra teacher group and on Twitter about what other people do with some of these issues.  I’m curious to know what others have experienced when they have gone through the process of securing mechanical licenses.  I am hoping that people will be willing to share and discuss.  Both Twitter and the Facebook group are great resources, but there aren’t too many posts about copyright issues currently.

I spent a lot of time trying to track down relevant articles and blog posts.  It was a little tricky but the Nafme resources were great.  I enjoyed the open-endedness of this assignment but I think a few check-in posts along the way might have been helpful to get us all organized.  It was really helpful to do that for our PLN assignment and it offered a chance for Mike to offer some ideas, which was very valuable.  It would have been nice to have that same experience with this project.  I spent a lot of time doing Google searches, reading articles, and looking through the lessons on Common Sense Media for this project.  I also did my best to find posts on Twitter and Facebook, but as I mentioned there wasn’t a lot there.  I enjoyed researching this topic and I look forward to presenting this material to my students later this school year.

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