Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Warning: What's posted below is WAY FALSE

I am amazed by how incredibly confident ignorant people can be in their own "knowledge." We've all seen it parodied before in comedy, but seriously, in real life, I'm always amazed when someone passes off their opinion, or a rumor, as a fact.

I am not a lawyer, let me make that clear. But I did have to study Copyright Law when I was in Journalism school. It was a law class, taught by a law professor, using real law books in the law library at BU.

And the biggest thing I learned from this class is that most people have no fucking idea about copyright, though many think that they do. Remember when rap sampling got mainstream, and everyone said that you could legally use up to eight seconds of a work without infringing copyright? Not true. You also can't... you know what? It's complicated. Use the links above if you actually want to educate yourself. If those are too heavy, and you want a pretty good summary, check this out.

But whatever you do, please do not believe a word of what follows below, which was posted to a knitting list I subscribe to.
Copyright works this way:

* If the book is over 25 years old and/or out of print it can be xeroxed
* Books from the library are exempt because the Library is an educational institution. All educational uses of material are usually exempt. There are some exceptions to this.
* I only copy to use in a class...I teach. Perfectly legal.
Please note the authoritative tone. As I said, I am constantly amazed at how ignorant some people can be of their own ignorance.

2 comments:

Who am I? said...

I now realize that have been breaking copyright laws on a routine basis for my job at Panic Hire U. Exactly the same false advice given out regarding copyright is pretty routinely repeated around the copier at Panic. Ignorance about copyright is willful in places where you NEED materials to teach classes and no one seems to care. Which means I am going to have to use Harper's the creat a custom reader for my students. Damn.

Maggie said...

Honestly, Reader, were one to give a careful reading to Copyright law, I'm infringing right here. The person who posted the content which I quoted owns the copyright to it, and I am posting it on my blog without permission.

However, this is a fine example of the Fair Use doctrine. I'm posting a sample of the whole work for the purposes of education, and also humor/parody.

I've been wondering about the Panic U classes -- did you ever get ANY materials? Like, when they asked you to teach a second class using *the same materials*, did they give you any?