Ashley Waldrop

Instructional Technologies Blog

Intellectual Property

on September 13, 2012

1. Title: An Educator’s Guide to Intellectual Property

2. Author: JoinThe©

3. Website:

4. Summary:  This article outlines in detail the guidelines in using and protecting yourself against copyright violation.  The article defines “intellectual property” as any product of a creative mind.  One item discussed in the article is plagiarism.  The author discusses the importance of educator’s understand plagiarism as well as teaching students the importance and severity of plagiarism at an appropriate age.  Copyright is any tangible expression of a creative mind.  Copyright is automatically secured when something is created, whereas it used to be much more difficult to obtain copyrights.  Copyrights prohibit anyone from using another person’s work without giving due credit.  There are exceptions made for educators under section 107 of the Copyright Act, known as “Fair Use” clause.  Educators can typically use materials in the classroom under this clause, though there are very specific restrictions.  Piracy is known as stealing any intellectual property.  This can be any distribution or attainment of work that you did not create or properly obtain rights for.  The author discusses the importance of teaching about piracy in order to educate students and disband any misconceptions that students may have.

5. Reflection: I have read this article in the past for another Instructional Technology class that I had previously taken, but I am shocked this time when reading it to realize how much I had forgotten.  I think at the day and age copyright laws are much more easily broken with the ability to share files via the internet and hard drives.  I know this happens ALL THE TIME in ALL the professional communities that I have been apart of.

While reading this article, I thought about the relatively new site “Teachers Pay Teachers.”  This site was created for teachers to be able to digitally buy units, supplies, etc. from other teachers to use in their own classrooms.  While I know that many people do put their own copyright signatures at the bottom of work and put disclaimers (“Please do not share with other teachers who have not purchased, etc.) in their packets, teachers continue to break copyright laws.  I have been apart of several e-mails that have been sending out Units and Materials sometimes to the entire staff (up to 100 people) with the attachment being a purchased item!!! I do think that myself, and probably every other teacher in America have broken or break copyright laws frequently.

My biggest burning question after re-reading this article is A) how do we go about changing the social norm that illegal sharing/using is acceptable and B) how do we enforce it? I know that if I had created a great idea to sell, I wouldn’t want others to be able to use it without a proper purchase.


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