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Back to school, legally!

Or back to whatever it is we call this thing. “Back to more structured educational schedule, with less lounging about?”

Today, my Washington Times Communities article is on educators and educational fair use of copyrighted material. And homeschooler, if you think this doesn’t affect you, you’re wrong.

Listen, you might think our intellectual property rights laws stink — and I do — but we have an obligation to obey them. Unless you’re arguing that they’re unjust laws and are disobeying to protest them and are therefore willing to pay the price for disobeying an unjust law in order to call attention to the evil. Which I kinda doubt. (Although there are those who do protest our bad laws, and I appreciate them.)

Anyway, my article lays out briefly the standards for educators, but there’s lots of advice online giving more specific guidelines, including information on social media and new technologies. Copyright for Homeschoolers is a website explains the issues specifically as they apply to homeschoolers. You can also download some delightfully interesting reads from the U.S. Copyright Office. Fun fact, material produced by the federal government — including photos and videos — is in the public domain.

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Ironically, this copyright image isn't copyrighted since it's produced by the government.
Ironically, this copyright image isn’t copyrighted since it’s produced by the government. You can’t copyright copyright!

With more and more education happening online and collectively, we’re entering an interesting new world. I’m trying to follow the guidelines because 1. stealing is tacky, and 2. honestly, I don’t want to be a test case. But it’s hard to know what’s right in this brave new world.

Best of luck to all of us educators, where ever we may ply our craft. And don’t forget to read my article!


One response to “Back to school, legally!”

  1. […] That got me thinking about other fine arts resources available for free. I feel rather strongly that while information may want to be free and whatnot, violating copyright is both tacky and illegal. But following copyright laws, especially for educators who have some additional leeway when it comes… […]

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