According to the WIPO website “Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” They are protected by copyright, patents, and trademarks. When I first started researching into copyright, I was scared. I think we have all heard of copyright laws and as a teacher, I know how strict they are. I learned the basics when I first started teaching, but it’s always nice to refresh on what you can and cannot do or use. A helpful site for me was Copyrighting for Teachers. This site gave great resources on breaking down some situations that teachers all deal with (movies, photocopies, lessons). I think the web creates a huge problem for copyright laws because so many people just see it and think it’s free to use. At the beginning of the year, I always go through plagiarism and making sure to credit sources with my students, but I’ve noticed kids only think about plagiarism when it comes to text. They don’t think of all the other types of works (movies, photographs, music). Some works will have a copyright notice on them, but some may not. I think the biggest lesson I learned while reading is if you don’t see one, don’t assume it doesn’t have one. Always check for license and if you aren’t sure about it, it’s safer to not use it at all.
After looking into Creative Commons, and reading their FAQs, it made me feel a little better that these licenses were tailored to certain situations. According to Creative Commons, there are six different types of licenses and can fit with the owner’s purpose for sharing their work. If you do not have a copyright license on your material, anyone can use it in any way without the author’s consent.In this day and age, everyone is all about sharing, posting, and collaborating with others, and these licenses are great because they can still do that and protect the integrity of their work. As a teacher, I think these licenses are an awesome tool. I write lesson plans all the time and have worked with others’ work to create things to accommodate my class.Why reinvent the wheel? If something I create works for my class and could benefit someone else, I would love to share that with others to use. For me, I would want people to be able to use, build off of what I have, or modify for their own need, but not be able to use it for a profit. I’m all for sharing my ideas, but I work hard on my lessons and wouldn’t want someone else to get credit or profit off of my work. The license that works best for me is Attribution-noncommerical (CC BY –NC) or attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike (CC BY NC-SA).