Creative Content Copyright:
Laws that Protect
Unit 2: “By Rule of Law”
In this unit, students explore creative content copyright and learn about the laws that protect the creative process. Intellectual property has tangible real world value, and thus, creators of this content are protected by laws in the United States and around the world. The unit’s activities encourage students to form opinions about what’s right, what’s wrong, and how the laws affect them as creators, consumers, and good digital citizens.
This unit is centered on a case study involving a homemade video game, “Stick Bombs on the Sly.” In this scenario, a student creates his own video game and gives a copy to his friend. The friend starts making copies of the game and selling the counterfeit software to others. The friend claims this is no big deal because the creator did not copyright his game. The case study causes students to think: What does the game creator do? What are his rights?
Included in the unit are six activities with instructions for each detailing the amount of time required, materials needed, learning objectives, related subject areas, and background information. Detailed steps and recommendations for each are provided. Extensions and modifications as well as additional resources for each activity are also provided.
Each activity takes from two to three 60-minute class periods. Some activities require the student to complete it on their own while others are designed for groups or pairs. These build to a culminating activity that incorporates everything the students have learned about creative content copyright throughout the unit. In this activity, students are split into groups, each representing a country. They are expected to research their country’s laws to protect creative content and present their findings at a fictional international summit designed to develop a worldwide standardization on the topic.
The activities are designed to complement one another. While a student can have a meaningful learning experience participating in any single activity, the coursework is designed for optimal benefit if all activities are utilized.
The unit provides a baseline assessment for educators to gauge students’ prior knowledge and perceptions of creative content and copyright laws. This is supplemented with a post-unit assessment to measure changes in knowledge and perception.
Student Learning Objectives
Recognize the consequences for illegal downloading and copying and why these consequences exist, and apply understanding from a real downloading court case and outcome to create their own consequence and/or law.
Recognize the components and key characteristics of an effective user agreement; synthesize learning and apply it to a real-world problem – i.e., the challenge of creating a user agreement; and evaluate work based on a set of established criteria.
Recognize the potential risks of using counterfeit software and other forms of intellectual property, evaluate and explain the relative risks associated with both original and counterfeit goods, and translate understanding of risks to others who may be less familiar with them.
Connect the creative process behind gaming software with creative content and present the game creation process visually for the benefit of others.
Summarize knowledge of creative content, how it can be used, and how it can be protected; distinguish between instances of fair use of creative content and violations of copyright law; understand the socio-cultural factors contributing to behaviors, policies, and systems; and suggest policies that will help avoid copyright violations.
Recognize similarities and differences among copyright laws in different countries; collaborate with other students to create a plan for standardizing copyright laws around the globe; and recognize the value of developing a consensus for solving problems.
Over the course of this unit, students will explore these guiding questions related to how creative content copyright laws apply to creative content: What current laws protect creative content? What are the advantages of adhering to these laws? What are the penalties for infringing these laws? How are laws different in other countries?