I have to admit that I’ve infringed on copyright laws on numerous occasions throughout my teaching career. I know ignorance is not a great excuse, however, I have paid almost zero attention to copyright laws and any guidelines that I would have to follow to avoid infringement. As an example I’ve shown Bill Nye videos multiple times over my career. On youtube you can find full episodes that people have posted, and I use these sites without any hesitation or thought. I know that Bill Nye has exclusive rights that include distribution of copies and to display the work publicly and if you go onto his itunes or Amazon, episodes of his show are for sale.
I’ve also shown other videos, such as Planet Earth or A Plastic Ocean to my students from my Netflix account. I, again , have done this without even checking the legalities. To find out which titles are available for educational screenings you have to go to the “Only On Netflix” section of media.netflix.com. I looked at Netflix’s grant of permission for educational screenings and here’s what it says on their site:
“Netflix is proud to present original documentaries that speak to our users in a meaningful way. We know that many of you are as excited about these films as we are; and because of their informational aspects, you’d like to show them in an educational setting — e.g., in the classroom, at the next meeting of your community group, with your book club, etc. Consequently, we will permit one-time educational screenings of permitted documentaries. We use the term “one-time screening” to mean that you can’t hold screenings of the same documentary several times in one day or one week. However if, for example, you are an educator who wants to show a documentary once a semester over multiple semesters, that is permitted.”
I looked up the documentaries that I have shown to my students and again I am in violation of these copyright laws because they were not listed in the “only on Netflix” site and I was showing them multiple times in one day. Now that I’m more aware and have researched the legalities of using certain copyright material, I’m curious as to how it will affect my practice. It would be quite difficult as a teacher to be in total compliance with copyright laws in every instance, especially with the technology at our fingertips. However, being more aware of the copyright laws and guidelines set by information providers is a good place to start to improving ones practice.