If you’re a teacher, you need to understand the basics of copyright and fair use. Actually, that’s probably true of any adult in the US but especially teachers since we are responsible for helping our students understand the concepts, the law, and their rights under it. Or at least we should be responible.

This idea comes to mind because last week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other organizations celebrated Copyright Week with a series of interesting posts about the need for intellectual property policies and laws that promote creativity and innovation. Rather than heavy handed attempts to restrict access to and use of information.

Such as the ongoing attempts by industry associations to use copyright law to “interfere with transparency and open access to the law itself”, by claiming ownership of “laws that began as private standards but are later incorporated into federal and state regulations”. Six of these associations are suing Public Resource, a small non-profit organization that has been posting the regulations online for anyone to use, free of charge.

And even the business of education is involved.

In 2014, three more SDOs [standards development organizations] sued Public Resource over a standard for designing tests. That standard is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s rules for handing out billions of dollars in financial aid for students, yet the groups that published it make it hard to find and buy, in order to boost sales of a new edition. It’s not available online anywhere right now, so finding out what the law is means tracking down an increasingly rare used copy.

Reminds me a little of that classic work of educational obfuscation, Double Secret Probation. :-)