Obsessing Over Copyright

I seem to be harping over this concept of copyright and its implications in educational contexts a bit lately. Luckily, I'm not the only one exploring this lately and I hope that I'm not being interpreted as some sort of copyright supporter. Most of the time, copyright materials produce hurdles that are a pain to navigate and public domain materials and Creative Commons licences are concepts I support fully. I'm just finding that more and more in my daily work, my knowledge of copyright is being tested and I worry that by modelling indifference, educators could really be doing our students a huge disservice. I've already reflected in the past that in my experience, most teachers either are ignorant of or oblivious to the basic premises of copyright. Nearly every task I set in our Problem Based Learning program is going to lead our kids to encounter copyrighted material so I want to make sure I inform them of the most appropriate way to use and cite those resources.
If I recommend that students make an effort to use CC and PD material, then their searches bounce up against the filter which blocks access to "personal web pages" and "web hosting" where most of the material more generously licensed resides. So now copyright and censorship are factors I have to include in any planning for any online learning experiences. "Fair use" can get most teachers by if the students are only publishing and researching within the classroom but if we want to open up the concept of authentic learning, then using wikis and other online tools means careful thought must go into choosing what materials are utilised without stomping on other people's IP. So that's why I'm trying really hard to become better informed and then to pass my learning and my learning sources onto my colleagues and my students. A quick nod to Alexander Hayes (now blogging in two locations) who has reflected earlier today on this very issue and to Doug Noon, whose copyright del.icio.us links have been really handy. My learning continues....

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