Thursday, October 11, 2007


The NYT ran a story on how schools are using iPods filled with popular music and books like Harry Potter to assist in bilingual education. Much of this conduct may be allowed by the face-to-face teaching provisions. However, filling iPods with content for out-of-class practice, while obviously smart pedagogically, seems to fall outside both of the face-to-face provisions and the TEACH Act, which (like so many technologically-specific fixes) did not anticipate new forms of digital learning and is geared towards transmissions. Moreover, the teacher who transcribes lyrics and removes the nouns, verbs, or adjectives may be creating a derivative work, though the purpose is definitely transformative.

Good teaching shouldn’t be unlawful. This is why initiatives like AU’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, documenting the effects of restrictive copyright interpretations on media literacy teaching, are so important, and why we need more education and best practices for teachers doing great work like that described in the story (which doesn’t have a mention of copyright).

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