Monday, October 13, 2008

Who's in Charge?

So, your district has put a copyright policy in place. Great! But, who is going to enforce it? Is it going to be the teachers? Well, probably not. As we already talked about, teachers usually overlook copyright in favor of educational value. They may honestly feel that they are not breaking copyright laws because the content is being used for an educational purpose. The school media specialist is the person in the school who should know the most about copyright. He or she should educate the school community on how to uphold copyright standards because the media specialist is going to be the person who is providing the information to the members of the school. However, is it fair to ask the media specialist to enforce the copyright policy? Not really. This can cause hostility towards the media specialist from the other teachers and members of the community. According to Simpson, the principal should be the person enforcing the policy within the school. The media specialist should let the principal know if violations are occurring. The principal can then work on correcting these violations so the school will remain protected from the law. This is a tricky situation because the media specialist may wish to remain neutral. The media specialist at my school told me that she just ignores copyright situations because she doesn't want to know and she feels there is nothing she can do about it. But, if the school falls under questioning for copyright violations, she may be in some hot water. I am going to be talking about who is responsible for copyright violations within a school and what the consequences are of violation in an upcoming posting. Who, if anyone, enforces copyright in your district? Who do you think should be responsible? Do you think the media specialist should report violations to the principal, or do you think they should ignore the situation? These are important questions to think about when working as a media specialist.

Simpson, C. (2005). Copyright for schools, A practical guide. Worthington, OH: Linworth Publishing.


Cyndy said...

I think the school media specialist is caught in the middle. On the one hand I don't think I would feel comfortable having to report copyright violations but on the other hand I don't feel I could just ignore them. I think the middle ground would be informing or reminding someone about copyright laws. Of course the situation gets sticky if the person decides to ignore the copyright law after being told about it.

Carla Brown said...

I believe the media specialist role is to inform, not to follow-up. If there is an obvious case of copyright infringement, the media specialist should report such findings to a school administrator. Afterall, the principle is in charge of all school operations. If the school is in violation. The principle will be first held accountable.

Brandy said...

I agree this is a very sticky situation. You do not as a SLMS want to do anything to create a hostile work environment. Especially if you are new to the district!! I would first start by trying to make sure the staff is aware of what constitutes copyright infringement. Then work with the administration to see how they are going to handle violations.

Aimee said...

Another option could be to offer copyright/plagiarism workshops or sessions at faculty meetings to your staff with the focus being STUDENT compliance with copyright...thus the media specialist could model fair use policies and could apply it to classroom settings without stepping on the toes of individual teachers who may or may not have had instances of copyright infringement in the past. Just a thought...but definitely a sticky situation.