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.