Protecting Creative Content
Unit 4: “Protect Your Work, Respect Your Work”
This unit explores the theme of protecting creative content through a series of experimental activities. Students learn how to protect their own creative works, how to share their works legally, and how to use other people’s creative works in a fair and legal manner. They encounter issues related to originality and plagiarism, and have a chance to become agents of change in the culminating activity by developing a public service announcement.
The unit is centered on a case study, “A Similar Story”, involving a dispute over the definition of original content. In this scenario, students submit their entries for a short story contest. The winner’s story idea was borrowed from another published book and an outcry results among the students. The focus of this case study is the value of originality. Students will consider: Why protect creative content? How much does existing content have to be changed in order to be considered unique? What is the value of originality?
Included in the unit are five activities, each designed with different learning objectives ranging from the importance of seeking permission to use or reproduce another person’s creative content to defining intentional to accidental plagiarism and compare the consequences. Each activity contains instructions detailing the amount of time required, materials needed, learning objectives, related subject areas, and background information. Detailed steps and suggestions are provided for each. Extensions and modifications as well as additional resources are also provided.
Each activity requires from one to four 60-minute class periods and some also require that additional work be done outside of class. These build to a culminating activity incorporating everything the students have learned about protecting creative content. In this exercise, students create a public service announcement to inform their peers about creative rights and how students can become active participants and agents of change in the creative rights debate.
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 use to gauge students’ prior knowledge and perceptions of digital citizenship in schools. This is supplemented with a post-unit assessment to measure changes in knowledge and perception.
Student Learning Objectives
Define intellectual property; distinguish among different forms of creative content, and distinguish between the creator and the intellectual property owner; complete the copyright filing process or Creative Commons licensing in order to better understand the legal rights associated with both; and understand what constitutes original work.
Understand that they should seek permission to use someone else’s creative content, unless permission has already been given, an exception like fair use applies, or a Creative Commons license permits the use; compose a letter to obtain permission to use someone else’s creative work on a personal Web page; and compare and contrast their letter of request with a legally binding template to ensure that their request is thorough.
Determine the qualities that characterize an advertisement as being original, inspired by other works, or plagiarizing other works; create an advertising campaign that is original, inspired, or plagiarized, depending on assignment; and evaluate one another’s work to determine whether the work is original, inspired, or plagiarized.
Define intentional and accidental plagiarism, and compare the consequences of accidental plagiarism and intentional plagiarism.
Critique public service announcements, state their opinions about creative rights, and develop a public service announcement to support their opinions and influence their peers.
Over the course of the unit, students are asked to explore key questions related to protecting creative content: How does creative content impact my life? How can I protect my original work? How can students be the drivers of change? What is my vision for creative content and creative rights in the future?