Digital Citizenship Reflection #3-Copyright Laws

This week, I have learned so much! I had a very general knowledge base of copyright laws. I had no idea that is so vast and include so many components. At the beginning of my learning and research, I was extremely confused. I am still confused on some of the components such as Creative Commons. There is so much literature out there, it is hard to digest.

So, what did I digest this week? I had never heard of “fair use”. It seems educators are protected with the content they choose to use in lessons and lectures but simultaneously solicited for content use. Educators depend on supplemental materials accompany lessons to give them purpose, engagement, and depth. We need to be aware of such materials and ensure we abide by copyright laws. I am so guilty of violating many aspects of copyright laws. I have ascertained, there are four factors that should be considering when determining if material used falls under “fair use”.  According to Stanford (2018), the four factors include,

  • the purpose and character of your use
  • the nature of the copyrighted work
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market.

The first factor includes whether or not your work is transformative. This means is the content you are using will be used to enhance or add meaning to your original thought or idea. I believe educators hang in this realm of transformation. This is because we use information to provide facts to enhance learning. One of the greatest lessons I learned this week was about movies in the classroom. Who hasn’t watched a movie in class before. I didn’t realize that movies cannot be viewed in the classroom unless it is directly related to content being taught. Teachers are unequivocally guilty of this practice. I know I am! I have shown movies while I was a teacher during class parties as reward. This is a direct violation of copyright laws. When showing movies in class for reward purposes, permission should be acquired.

I realize at the beginning of this reflection, I stated was still confused about Creative Commons, I am, however I did discover there are numerous distinctive licenses that can be obtained. They type of license attached to the content determines how it can be used. I presume I am still unclear on why one would choose one license over the other or which one is best.

I have used images and literature without providing proper attribution over the course of my many years as an educator. I had heard the term, public domain, but was oblivious of its meaning. It is refreshing to know that I did somewhat abide by some laws! Images and literature provided by the government are part of the public domain and are subject to copyright laws.

The knowledge learned this week is quite overwhelming. To think I have violated laws is a little unsettling. I am not sure who said it, but my mom always told me, “If you know better, you do better.” This is definitely true when it comes to copyright laws. Because it so easy to violate laws you may not be aware of, I have listed some resources to help understand copyright law and its components.

Fair Use

Copyright Basics

Creative Commons

This is just a few resources. Don’t be afraid to dive in. There are so many videos, literature, and websites available to better help understand about copyright. I know I am far from understanding the vastness of this topic!


Stim, R., & Stim, R. (2017, April 10). Measuring fair use: the four factors. Retrieved December 8, 2018, from

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