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[teacherartexchange] Words of Wisdom about Copyright


From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2007 - 16:47:35 PST

Dear Art Educators,

The topic of copyright comes up on the lists a couple times a year....
The topic just came around again on Art Education list. I won't share
the whole conversation here - but this post from Patty Knott is

From Patty Knott:

I always think about the old saying "when in doubt.......don't."
Yes, I understand the whole thing is very complicated, but just
because of all the complications, why can't we avoid any question of
image use simply by not putting any kid into any kind of compromising
position. Can't we teach them to take from here and there and put it
together as their own instead?

The famous artists who used images unfairly, did so as adults , and
maybe part of their art was "testing" and questioning. Few of us have
students ready to deal with the possible consequences, nor do they
have the maturity and background to test any laws.

Nobody knows what it feels like to have your art "stolen' until it
happens. A million years ago I was a fabric designer. One day I was
walking down a street in NY and saw one of my designs in front of
me--- on a garment that I knew was not a company I had sold my design
to. I was outraged. Stealing in the fashion industry is notorious.
All I learned was that I would never do anything that would make
another artist feel like I did.

We may think it's harmless, because it's only kids using images to
practice. But we may may not know what practices we are validating.
Kids often use other images because they are insecure in their own
expressions. Believe me, I battle every day kids who think because
something shows up on a google image search it's "free." And believe
me, I know how difficult some lesson content is without referring to
published images.

But I think our bigger lesson to teach is how to "take" and
manipulate and alter and appropriate so that it becomes the artist's
own statement. And, I think that can't start early enough.

My high school students have no idea about fair use. They think if
artists make a lot of money on something it's okay for them to take
it free. It's a curious concept.

We can only help to resolve this dilemma if we are firm about what
is acceptable. It's a difficult task that requires investigation
and research on the teacher's part.

Teach your students how to use images for research - not just copy.
I want this post to come up when someone does a search of the archives
for copyright fair use.- or appropriation of images fair use - or
using photographs fair use.

Judy Decker

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