Lesson 1.4: Copyright & Fair Use

Subjects: Journalism, Language Arts, Social Studies

Estimated Time: One 25-minute class period

Grade Level: Middle and High School

Overview: In developing video packages for the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program, your students may want to incorporate copyrighted materials, including photographs, music, film or video clips.

To help them decide when and how to use copyrighted materials as part of creative work for Student Reporting Labs, it’s important to have a good understanding of copyright and fair use.

Materials: Printouts of Worksheet 1.4, poster board or paper and markers

Teachers, for your own background information, this Common Sense/ Teaching Channel video shows a teacher teaching a lesson on Fair Use. You may choose to show it to your students as a way to foster conversation.

Warm-Up Activity
Downloading Dangers

Ask students to put their heads down on their desks and close their eyes. With their eyes still closed ask students to raise their hands if they have ever downloaded a book, music, pictures or music illegally. Make sure to tell them that they are only using this information for the purpose of today’s lesson and the results will not leave the classroom.  Have students put their hands down and report the results back to the class (probably everybody).

Main Activity
Copyright and Fair Use

  • Together or in small groups have students read through Worksheet 1.4.
  • In partners, have the students generate questions they have after reading the definition of Fair Use and Transformativeness.  Write these words on the board and have the class come up with their own definitions.
  • Make posters of these definitions and post around the class or near computers that the students will use when editing their stories.

ISTE: Electronic Media Production, 9.0 
Students will demonstrate ethics in the industry.

Common Core Standards:

Reading for Informational Text
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7-12.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 7-12 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7-12 .3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using an effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

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