Saturday, February 22, 2014

And this week, I learned about Copyrights...

Copyright reasons /

Aloha all -
This week, we looked at the complicated world of Intellectual Property and Fair Use.  Today, with the ubiquitous use and sharing of digital content through social media, it is more important than ever for us to be aware of the basics of copyrights and what constitutes fair use of intellectual property.  After taking a look at various readings, curriculum and websites, it is apparent that when it comes to the subject of Fair Use, Copyrights and Public Domain, the answer is always, "IT DEPENDS…"  There are no easy answers and guidance given is always general. 
The Fair Use doctrine allows the use of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances.  Basically, it is a set of exceptions to copyright restrictions.  It allows content to be used in certain ways based on 4 main factors.  Reviewing these factors will at least give guidance on whether or not the content can be used.  Generally fair use is permitted for criticism and commentaries, parodies, news reporting and education.
Let's take a look at these factors using the example of posting a video of a children's performance of a copyrighted song on YouTube.
  1. Purpose and character of use:  The song is being used for entertainment and is basically the original version of the song. 
  2. Nature of the original: Songs are creative, not factual, content.
  3. Amount used: They sang the whole song in their performance.
  4. Effect on the market:  It would not be a substitute for the original and would be unlikely to affect the market.
Although you could claim fair use in that it is non-commercial and would not affect the market for the original, the song is sung in its entirety and in its original version.  So again, it depends.  It seems like it only becomes a problem if the owner claims infringement.   Although I don't think that the author would claim copyright infringement in this case, personally, I would not recommend posting the video publicly on YouTube, I would prefer to err on the side of caution because you never know what video will go viral and become an issue.  Perhaps an alternative would be to share it privately with parents through other means.  Although, I'm still not confident in this very gray area, I have gained greater awareness on these issues.  Awesome learning this week!
How about you?

A hui hou,

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