Publications Keying In


Keying In
September 2004, Volume 15, Number 1

Copyright Issues and the Classroom
"Teachers are very concerned that their students respect the intellectual property of others, and many of them go to great lengths to teach about plagiarism and other copyright violations (see accompanying article). Yet "we are our own worst enemies," says Betty Johnson of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and co-author of an article on the e-world of educational delivery (see Resources). "I’ve seen teachers … at meetings … show presentations of their students that clearly violate the copyright law. We are setting a poor example."
Johnson doesn’t believe that teachers are unscrupulous. "We’re always collecting everything we can collect—we just think of it all as resources," she says. But she cautions that teachers cannot be "loose" about borrowing freely from resources, especially as teachers move into teaching electronically. Johnson’s coauthor and colleague, attorney Keaton Grubbs, notes that teachers and their students see a plethora of available information, especially on the Internet—"information that is so public and visible that they feel it’s available to the whole world, so copyright issues do not matter and [they think] that they are free to download and print pretty much at will."

Though no agency appears to track the number of copyright infringement lawsuits, the perception is that they are becoming more common. "The number has to be going up, simply because the proliferation of file sharing through the Internet makes it easy to share things anonymously," says David Novak, an attorney based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Some of these violations are malicious, but most seem to be the result of ignorance, misunderstanding, or "myths" that surround the issue of copyright protection, especially restrictions related to digital material."

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Catalog No. 135.92