Tag Archives: teaching

Fair Use: Misconceptions and Examples

I gave another talk on fair use last week, this time at the University of Chicago Library. The theme was “misconceptions and examples,” so after giving brief overviews of copyright and fair use, I talked through examples from several important cases. Then, I asked the participants to work through a few fair use scenarios, in pairs. We got back together as a group to discuss the scenarios at the end of the hour.

Here are the materials I used: PPT slides, PDF slides, and PDF handout. The handout, in particular, is very similar to what I used in my Teaching Fair Use talk at Loyola. All are licensed under CC-BY 4.0. Please reuse and remix them!

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Fair use quiz

In spring 2013, I created a basic quiz on fair use for the students in my section of CopyrightX. When I entered the quiz into a Google Form for use by this year’s students, I saw it would be easy to make a public copy, so I thought I would do that and post it here.

Here is my quiz on fair use.

It is a simple multiple choice quiz designed to help students review their understanding of fair use. It asks them how each of the subfactors “tilts” in the fair use analysis. After each question, the quiz displays the right answer and indicates whether the student answered correctly.

I’ll say again that this is only a superficial assessment of someone’s fair use knowledge — it’s a starting point, rather than an ending point, for studying the subject. However, I think this basic understanding is very important, which is why I’m sharing the quiz here. I’m also releasing the quiz under a CC-BY 4.0 license (though I think there’s very little there that is subject to copyright protection).

If you spot an error in this quiz, I would like to know about it. Please comment here or send me an email. I’d also love to hear if there are subfactors you think I should add to the quiz.

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The Fair Use Factors: Their History and Application

As part of my observance of Fair Use Week (a big holiday around these parts), I gave an online webinar today for ACRL. The topic was “The Fair Use Factors: Their History and Application.” The slides from this presentation are licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 International license, and I’m posting them here in PDF and PowerPoint format. Feel free to take advantage of the license, and if you participated — thanks for coming!

Update: Here’s the recording of the talk on YouTube.

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Teaching Fair Use

I gave a workshop this morning for the Loyola University Chicago Libraries. The subject was “Teaching Fair Use,” and it was in celebration of Fair Use Week. The participants included librarians and faculty, and I focused on tips and tricks for teaching fair use. (Of course, we also talked a lot about fair use doctrine.)

I’m posting my slide presentation here in PDF and PowerPoint format. It is licensed under CC-BY 4.0. I’m also posting the handout for a role-playing exercise we did in the second half of the workshop, also CC-BY 4.0.

During the question and answer period, I recommended a few other resources that I find useful when addressing copyright and fair use issues in the academic context. I’m listing them below in case folks are looking for them.

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Reviewing copyright law

I’ve been wanting for a while to put together a list of copyright law review materials. This might be useful to someone reviewing for an exam, but I’m particularly thinking of a professional who wants to solidify her overall knowledge of the subject before diving more deeply into a particular part of it. I have two teaching gigs coming up that will focus on fair use, so that’s the nudge I needed to prepare this list.

The fifteen-minute review:

For someone who’s very limited in terms of time, I would recommend using an “attack outline,” the very short summary law students sometimes prepare when studying for finals. Attack outlines are essentially a checklist of items to address in an exam. I developed a copyright attack outline during my first year as a CopyrightX teaching fellow. Here is the latest version as a slide deck and as a one-page PDF.

This outline is helpful for remembering how the different pieces of copyright doctrine fit together, which is about what can be done in fifteen minutes.

The one-hour review:

With a bit more time, I would recommend reading through an attack outline or copyright syllabus and then taking those questions to one of the many good free online summaries of copyright. These are essentially more detailed outlines of the same material. I particularly recommend the following:

Two non-free alternatives to these sites would be the major treatises, Nimmer on Copyright and Patry on Copyright. They are probably too lengthy to be useful during a quick review, unless you’re really comfortable with treatises.

Another option for answering questions left by the attack outline is Terry Fisher’s Copyright Law Map. I relied on it when creating the attack outline provided above, but it is far more detailed. It is organized as a “mind map” — some people really appreciate this as an alternative to more traditional formats.

The fourteen-hour review:

If you have time for it, a great way to review copyright law is to watch Terry Fisher’s CopyrightX lectures. In theory, this can be done in about fourteen hours — there are twelve 90-minute lectures, but someone seeking only to review the substantive law of copyright could skip the second, fourth, and tenth lectures, which are devoted to the theories underlying copyright law. If you are truly reviewing copyright, and certainly if you have seen the videos before, you may wish to speed up playback to save more time. Instructions for doing so are available at the bottom of the page linked above.

The lectures are very dense, so first-time viewers may wish to pause, replay a portion, look up a term, etc., any of which would increase the time beyond fourteen hours. I would also advise spreading the lectures out (no binge-watching!).

Videos are often tough for review because they aren’t indexed or searchable. In the case of the CopyrightX videos, transcriptions prepared by the FLAX project make things somewhat easier. Also, the 90-minute lectures are further subdivided by topic, so it’s possible, for instance, to review works for hire without watching the entire authorship video.

If you have additional suggestions for reviewing copyright law, please share them in the comments.

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A joint production

I spoke this evening with a Harvard Extension School class taught by my friend and colleague Andy Sellars. The course, Internet & Society: Technologies and Politics of Control (syllabus here), takes a Berkmanish approach to cyberlaw. That’s to say, the course is wide-ranging and covers more than a strictly “legal” perspective. Justin Reich and I came in to speak about online education.

Even though I spend a lot of my time these days thinking about teaching and education, most of that time is spent on the details of one particular course. I have next to no knowledge (beyond what I’ve read/heard in the last year) of the scientific or theoretical side of education, and with the exception of serving as a teaching fellow for CopyrightX (which is a big exception), I’ve never been taught how to teach. So, talking alongside Justin was humbling/intimidating. Thankfully, I was able to stick to CopyrightX, which I know quite well.

While I was talking and leading discussion, and especially when Justin was talking and during Andy’s brief interventions, I found myself thinking about my parents and about my childhood. Why? Well, my mother is a middle school teacher, and my father is a journalist. For a long time, of course, I didn’t think of them this way. I had the privilege of occasionally riding along when my father went to interview a source or helping my mother correct homework, and I still remember where the candy was located at both workplaces. (At the school, it was in a box in teacher workroom–payment was on the honor system and the best snack was Circus Animals. At the paper,candy was in a vending machine located in a room to the right and in front of my father’s desk.) To me, this was what it meant to be the daughter of a teacher and a journalist. It also meant that, on hot summer days, Dad would come home smelling of woodsmoke from covering a forest fire. It meant Mom knew the kids on the other team at my soccer matches. And I’m beginning to think that it meant I would grow up to write this blog post.

It is only in the last few years that I have learned to think of my parents as people first and parents second. (They say this is part of growing up, right?) Part of that realization has also taught me to think of them as a teacher and a journalist, in a way I didn’t before. And I’m seeing myself, more and more, as the daughter of a teacher and journalist. Being at the Berkman Center has allowed me to engage with both of those professions from my own professional perspective as a lawyer. Especially because there are a couple of joint NeimanBerkman fellows this year, but also because of long-time Berkman projects like the DMLP (another shout-out to Andy) and blogs.law, I’ve gotten to talk about journalism a lot since last fall. On the education side, I’ve benefited from conversations with Justin and others at HarvardX, with Rey Junco and other ed-oriented Berkman fellows, and of course from conversations with the rest of the CopyrightX course team.

This all came together for me in the class today as we were talking about the bigger themes behind online education and tying this week into the other weeks of Andy’s syllabus. These themes included cyberlaw classics: the role of the state and the role of technology; the rights of the individual and the rights of the group; the uniqueness or lack thereof of a particular technology; etc. These themes shine through nicely in cyberlaw’s classic topics: privacy, speech, copyright, telecommunications.

These themes also come together nicely in journalism and teaching, which are quite rightly a big part of the “society” in the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Here’s the part of being a journalist and teacher’s daughter that I didn’t realize until now. In addition to being fed Circus Animals, I was taught to respect authority and to question it. (Be good to your teachers. Don’t let the police search your backpack.) I was taught to champion inclusiveness, but I was also taught about the reality of scarce resources. I was taught to be tolerant, and I was taught to speak my mind. In other words, I’ve been training for this public interest tech lawyer gig a lot longer than I thought.

P.S. I can’t talk about education without mentioning Mrs. Olinski, another foundational influence on my thinking in this area.

P.P.S. Props to the excellent Digitally Connected symposium for getting me thinking about the nature of childhood this morning.

Updated to reflect a copy-edit contributed by said journalist father (benefited from*).

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