Knowledge vs. Profit

This week one of my other education classes looked at copyright laws and what influence they have in education. After reading some articles and checking further into some actual laws, I found that this is an extremely serious and complicated mater that I had never given much thought to. I reflect on my past blogs and those of my classmates and realize that we have all inserted videos and photographs probably without giving a thought about the copyrights on those videos and images; I know I sure haven’t. The reality is that there are probably copyrights on many on the things we use in projects as students and on lessons we produce as teachers. But these copyright laws are tricky; there seem to be about a million instances on when something enters the public domain and laws change from country to country. So lawfully, I could use an image of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night in a PowerPoint lesson because in accordance with laws in the United States, the painting is out of copyright and free for public use. The painting was created however in France, where copyright law states are much different.  What a headache! If this all wasn’t complicated enough, the internet and technology have helped weave an even more tangled web. If I post a video with this blog the images, background music, and the video itself are all subject to copyright laws. The technology consists of multimedia, each with their own copyrights. The internet also increases accessibility to copyrighted information. It is so easy to just open Google or YouTube and copy and paste as many copies of the information as you want. The internet also makes sharing information across nations much easier which contributes to the dilemma previously stated.

So what does all this mean for education? Copyright laws inhibit sharing knowledge. This is a huge problem for education. These laws turn Education and the spreading of knowledge into a commercial, “for profit” business. To me, education should never be “for profit”. Knowledge and the spreading of information is something that should be available and accessible for everyone. Information should not be available for a sum or only if in accordance with some laws. It should be available for free to anyone who is willing to learn. The public is who ultimately benefits from this sharing of information. After learning about these copyright laws, I will be sure to give much more thought to what incorporate into my teaching and the hypocrisy of depriving information to everyone. I think this is a pretty significant issue in education that is often overlooked. I am interested in finding out more information on these laws and how to be an effective teacher with their impact.

~Marie

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