Copyright Education: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Marcia Keyser, Cowles Library, Drake University

Glad to see the audience attending on a topic that most people avoid like the H1N1 virus. (Chuckle from crowd.)

Why teach copyright? Few people do; there’s a niche on campus.  Confusion reigns on campuses about copyright. Myths reign. e.g. “Digital content has no physical presence and therefore has no copyright laws.” The law reigns.

Logical fallacies:

  • Name calling – you’re a pirate!
  • Overgeneralizations – artists and musicians always support strong copyright
  • Straw man – you say that copyright supports artists, but more people will buy if not copyright
  • Against the person – you can’t believe anything x says
  • Appeal to force – don’t do it or you’ll get hurt
  • Misery argument – don’t you care about the starving artists
  • Bandwagon – everyone is doing it
  • Slippery slope – if this happens, then this will happen
  • Appeal to ignorace – there’s no evidence that this will happen
  • False dichotomy – you’re either with us or against us

Movie about music downloading including logical fallacies. “Campus downloading”

Two angles on teaching copyright: fallacy is that there’s one one right answer or only one right way to teach it.

Fair use – “real life is often messy.” To teach something well, you have to talk about the whole truth. A holier-than-thou attitude will turn off your audience.

Ways to deliver copyright education – we’re good.  We play around with ways to do this.  Web sites, short films and tutorials, lectures, bookmarks, posters, e-mailings, skits, radio spots.

Will be writing a textbook about copyright – will be creative commons. No such textbook exists currently.

What works for you? What is your goal?  Who is your audience? Small things like table tents have the advantage of repitition. Web sites are wonderful, but if you build it, will they come?


Scenarios are helpful. Don’t make them too complicated.

“Copyright has nothing to do with the quality of the music.”

“Copyright jokes are mighty hard to find.”

Public Domain: FRIDGE.  Facts, Recipes, Ideas, Dedicated works, Goernment works, Expired works. (Thanks to Mary Minnow.)

Showing the short film, “A Fairy Use Tale.”  Cute.

Rights of the copyright owner: reproduce, derivatives, distribute copies, perform, display.  Asking audience to come up with an acronym. No one comes up with one.  She suggests PRoDDD.  Someone comes up with 3DPR – nod to Star Wars.


Leave a comment

Filed under Libraries and Librarianship

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s