Learning & Fun

Are your kids doing copyright all wrong?

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Copy & Paste – How to start a family conversation on copyright

Copy-and-paste is a way of life for millennial kids. But as they graduate from just mucking around at home to using other people’s content without credit for their own creations or enjoyment, copyright comes into play.

It’s not all downloading pirated movies and music though. Here’s a brilliant summary of the situation – reproduced from copyright.co.nz:

Content creators – authors, musicians and artists (as examples) invest their own time, resources, blood, sweat and tears to get their work published. It’s not that they don’t want us to enjoy it; after all, that is why they created it right? All they ask is that they get the deserved credit for their work and are able to earn a living from it if they wish. Copyright gives them this right.

Check out this helpful video: “WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?”

Four great ways to stay out of copyright court:

From protecting originality, to credit where credit’s due, here are four areas you might want to talk about with your kids. Listen to their ideas and see if you can make some easy rules to keep things copyright cool.

  1. Being original in the first place: Did you know you can’t copyright an idea – but copyright applies automatically as soon as your idea is published in any way? That means as soon as you’ve drawn a new character or written a new story, it’s yours. And something that someone else has drawn is theirs. This protects the effort that goes into originality.
    DISCUSS: See if you can figure out when something is published.
  2. Credit the original author: As well as paying to enjoy or own something that’s been published, there’s another approach to reproducing other people’s work to make a point. It’s called “Fair Dealing”, and it covers copying for the purpose of criticism, review, news reporting, research or private study. And it’s really good manners to credit the owner of the image, music or photo you’re using.
    DISCUSS: Can you describe three situations that are “fair use” – and one that isn’t?
  3. You can’t sell what you don’t own: This includes music that you bought, then copied to iPods and other devices. You own the copies you bought, but you can’t sell your iPod with all that music on it.
    DISCUSS: How many copies of something are you allowed to make? Can you sell these copies?
  4. Claiming your own copyright: In New Zealand, everything that is published is automatically protected by copyright. You don’t have to add © to your work – that’s just a reminder. What you can do, though, is be specific about the kind of sharing you are happy with – through a system called Creative Commons.
    DISCUSS: What level of copyright would you be happy with – on a song you wrote? A video you made? A character you designed?

It’s tough keeping up with a world built on open sharing. But it’s not hard to keep it simple – copyright is mostly common sense. And like anything – if you’re not sure, ask!

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