Fairly Usable?


November 5, 2012 by alexandragreid

Going into this week, I thought I had a very solid grasp on the topic. I have kept up on the modifications to Fair Use and Copyright practices and regulations since I was in high school; needless to say that going into my first years of teaching I was pretty confident in terms of what I could reproduce and distribute to students, as well as what types of online material I could present to my students without violating copyright law. There was one exercise in particular that I used as a warm-up in my classes in my first year of teaching, however, that I wasn’t really sure where it fell. I ran the idea by my building principal and since she approved it, I figured I wasn’t going to go to prison for copyright infringement, so I went with it. Here’s an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_tupPBtWQ 

(You’re now all probably thinking I am insane for showing this in a middle school general music classroom…I’m okay with that.) One of the warm-ups I would do in general music would be either a video or a song based on the current type or genre of music we were studying at the time. Students would have to answer a few questions regarding some of the musical concepts to the piece (i.e. what instruments are heard, what is the form, etc.) as well as describe their general feelings about it. I would use more…abstract songs before holiday breaks and such, this one was always a winner. That being said, I know that criticism falls under fair use, but this seemed sort of a stretch sometimes. In terms of online content that I now use in educational settings, I seek out materials that utilize Creative Commons Copyright initially, that way I know that I am using materials that are meant to be shared. Otherwise, I do my best to design the instructional activities to fall into a fair use category (teaching, sparking a discussion, criticism, etc.), and always give credit back to the original creator(s). 

On another note, when I watched the Fairly Use Tale my mind was blown (and not in a good way). While a clever concept, it was rather jerky and really confusing, and by the end I had no idea what I could use anymore. I honestly thought I had been doing it all wrong. After reading and viewing some of the other materials, however, I feel as though I am back on track.  I’d also like to comment that the materials that AU’s Social Media Department has made available to the public in regards to the subject are fantastic. Their “Code of Best Practices” guides could really come in handy in the future, and I already added them to my browser’s reading list for future reference. 


2 thoughts on “Fairly Usable?

  1. tjcanty75 says:

    I thought the Fairly Use Tale was equally confusing. I had to watch it twice to follow along!

  2. williamboyer says:

    I have to agree that it was a bit difficult to follow at first, but as it played, I think I started to adjust to the style. One definitely has to pay close attention to it to stay in sync!

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