Today’s technology makes it easy to remix and share on a grand scale. With the availability of open source shareware remix software like Audacity, MovieMaker, imovie, photostory3, ANIMINTO, and GarageBand educators can engage in the act of remixing content. These new technology tools allows an individual to remix digital content and share with millions of other educators through Web 2.0 collaboration projects like Teacher Tube, edublogs, and pbworks. This remixing of media has created a whole new challenge to redefining district level copyright fair use policies. Currently anything that is published on the web has immediate ownership by the creator.
Since the invention of the printing press, there has been an ongoing debate on how copyright laws should protect individuals who produce, and wish to protect, their original work. Now, with emerging technology and the information highway, policy developers are finding it again necessary to reshape these laws to fit the copyright needs of today and, ideally, the future. In education alone, policy developers are facing challenges regarding copyright that did not exist 20 years ago, such as distance learning and software sharing remixing digital media and mashups. In these and other areas, policy developers must strike a balance between protecting the creators of original work and allowing the public to use the works in an appropriate and legal manner.
Educators should be involved in the development of copyright policies. School administrators, with assistance from the school’s legal advisors, must protect the school’s right to use selected copyrighted materials for educational purposes. Additionally, school administrators must serve as advocates for copyright laws that protect the school from liability when a student or staff member is using computer resources inappropriately on school property. To learn more about Creative Commons go to Digital Sandbox Creative Commons.