I recently visited our local mountains with my 6th grade class for outdoor science school and decided that I wanted to communicate some of the activities to our parents and families. So, I decided to produce a nightly, video enhanced podcast/movie that parents could view from my school website. Myself and another teacher shared the task of capturing still images and video throughout the day and I would create the podcast so it would be available to the parents. I really enjoyed producing the files and we had great interaction and feedback from the parents. About midweek I received and e-mail from my school district that asked if I knew what “copyright” was and that I needed to change or remove the music that I had used in conjunction with my images and video. Of course I knew what copyright was and is! I would like to think I am above the curve in techie-ness. I would agree in a heartbeat that I cannot recite verbatim the music copyright and fair use laws. My main focus was to create an experience that the parents could enjoy and obtain a glimpse into their kid’s lives at science school. I did not think I was supposed to be following a rubric and that my product was somehow, some grand assault on the music industry and that I was going to cause a major lawsuit against our district!
But in the end folks, I was speeding and I was wrong. Have you ever been driving along and did not notice that you were speeding? You were breaking the law, but you slowly apply the breaks and continue about your day. You knew that you were not supposed to be driving faster than the posted speed limit, you know the law, so you self-corrected and all was well. I too, knew that there was a copyright law but I was distracted and did not focus on this aspect. I just wanted to get a video out and to our parents, so they might enjoy part of the experience. Again, this is not an excuse, I was speeding and I was wrong. I learned a valuable lesson and I will utilize this as a teachable moment. So, when the students walk into my classroom on Monday morning, I will explain to them how I had made a mistake and utilized popular music that was copyrighted in my project. Note, not a single student of mine has ever utilized copyrighted music in their projects but somehow that law did not pertain to me at outdoor science school. It is obvious that I need to teach by example and I believe I am. Here are is an example of a website that offers Royalty Free Music (Creative Commons Music).I was going to bore you with copyright music law, but instead I want to share this amusing video: