Sunday, September 28, 2008

Graphics- what is the issue?

As an elementary school teacher, I use graphics as part of my daily instruction. Whether it's making overheads, designing labels for my classroom library, creating bulletin boards, or assembling PowerPoints, graphics play a huge part in the elementary school setting. But this got me I breaking rules by using graphics for these purposes? How do I make my instruction interesting and motivating while also following copyright laws? Here's what I found out:
1) The term "graphics" ranges from posters to photographs to maps to illustrations. Many of these things get copied by classroom teachers daily, so we need to rethink what we're using. Teachers are especially prone to want to use popular characters (such as SpongeBob or Winnie-the-Pooh) to make their lessons interesting, but this is copyright infringement!

2) There are rules for copying graphics such as only 1 graphic can be published per book/article or you can only make copies of a graphic for one class. Also, teachers cannot copy more than 9 times for a class, and teachers can only copy a graphic if it is too close to the time of instruction to obtain permission.

3) Librarian's are held accountable as a "contributory infringer" (Simpson 64) if they give someone the resources needed to make copies of a document that goes against copyright laws. We need to know about this aspect of copyright violation so that we are not held accountable!

I thought this information was interesting, and something that affects our daily life as teachers. Whether it's copying a map so the students can plot the latitude and longitude, or copying a coloring page, we need to be aware of copyright infringement as it relates to graphics!

Information taken from:
Simpson, C. (2005). Computer software in schools. In Copyright for schools (pp. 63-65). Worthington, OH: Linworth.


Anonymous said...

I tried posting once...and my laptop batt. ran here it goes again

I found number 3 about librarians being held accountable, very eye-opening. This makes knowing the copyright laws even more important! I feel that being the "police" of material could be difficult. A lot of times teachers or anyone for that matter, don't see the harm in copying grpahics or a few pages from a book. I think this makes the librarian seem like the bad guy when esp when we are trying to get people to use our library. No one likes to hear NO.

Laura said...

This is a great topic to pick. I am sure that there is a lot of copyright infringement in many schools in this area. It's good for us to see what is and is not allowed as far as graphics are concerned!

Cloudscome said...

Yes I hate being the copyright police too. We have the conversations but it is hard to go farther than that.

Jamie A. Lewis said...

Why are librarians the ones held responsible?

LibraryGirl said...

Thanks for doing this topic - it is very interesting and I'm eager to know more. Copyright makes you scared to do anything - but knowledge is power.

Erica said...


#1 was very interesting! I didn't really think about copying maps as copyright infringement. I was aware of photographs and illustrations.

#2-Graphics are so abundant and used so often! Thanks for the information about the photocopying guidelines of graphics. I'll have to keep a closer eye on my copying for my activities!

#3-It's hard for the librarian to keep an eye out everywhere. It helps that librarians are only responsible if they give out the document that copied. I wonder if a librarian is held accountable if he/she doesn't give the resource, but it is borrowed from the library at a teacher's discretion...

Erica Helbert

ILONA said...

Well I and most of the teachers at my site are definately in trouble. I have copied zillions of maps for my kids. But what are we to do? We can't run out and purchase things at a moments notice? Great information.

I am concerned about libraians being responsible. How does one "police" these activites?

jt's clarion cohort said...

This was very interesting. What about free clip art found on the web? Is this OK to use if it states that it is free? For example, last year I was the Senior Class Advisor in our high school. Since I ran a trip to Walt Disney World, I sent home much correspondence about the trip, and I would always go online and download a Disney image, which I then copied onto our school letterhead. Was I in violation? Thanks for the information, Janet

J. Urick said...

Do you ever think this causes friction between school librarians and the teachers? I never heard of our high school librarian ensuring that teachers were following the graphics copyright laws. Should we be informing more teachers/students about these infringments?


LeeAnn said...

I had no idea that the librarian would be held accountable. They are not the one making the copies so how can that be? Interesting. I know that I do a lot of the things you mentioned. It really makes you think. What are the consequences if you were to get caught?