Copyright Laws and Digital Citizenship

This week’s study of copyright law has broadened my understanding of how it is a part of being a responsible digital citizen. Two of the key elements of being a good digital citizen is to be responsible and ethical in posting information online. Liken to being a citizen of a country, we must be aware of our rights and other’s rights understanding the basic copyright protection provided by the laws of the US for literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and intellectual work whether they be published or unpublished. I also learned what is not protected is the following: works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (notated, written, or recorded by video or audio); titles, names, short, phrases, and slogans, familiar symbols, variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring, listing of ingredients or content; ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices from a description, explanation, or illustration; works consisting of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (calendar charts of height and weight, tape measures and rulers, and list taken from public documents (U.S. Copyright Office, 2012).

The origination of copyright protection was under the Copyright Act of 1909 and was based on a work being published. In 1976 the Copyright Act said any work copyrighted did not require registration with the agency but to be considered copyrighted it had to have a copyright symbol, the first year of the publication, and the name of the owner. Publication also was defined by the work being sold or leased for distribution (US Copyright Office, 2012).  The protection of a copyright included, after 1978, immediate protection upon creation and last the authors lifetime plus 70 years. Even though copyright registration has also stopped being required, it suggested that it be done and it because it gives the author the benefit of making it public record, satisfies the requirement for an infringement protection, and protects against international infringement issues (U.S. Copyright Office, 2012). This is the best way to safe guard your work and it will give you peace of mind.

Another important area of concern especially for educators is fair use. This week I examined the Code of Best Practices of Fair Use and was glad to learn that provisions were made for the use of copyrighted resources to be used in education without the concern of violating copyright laws when the compliance’s were in line with it (Center for Social Media, n.d.). It is essential that a variety of resources be available to educate students in all subject areas. In addition, studying the TEACH Act help me understand why education has been able to be available to students in a digital format and is growing, expanding the availability of education to students who were not able to get it before (Piculell, 2013)

This week’s material has help me see the importance of educating myself and about media use and literacy and how the government has laws to protect the literature published in the U. S. This system is in place for to preserve the integrity of the published works and helps us to make ethical decisions when using resources within education.


Center for Social Media. (n.d.). Code of best practices in fair use for media literacy      education. Retrieved from

Piculell, A. (2013). TEACH act-dmf [YouTube]. Retrieved from

U.S. Copyright Office. (2012). Copyright basics. Retrieved from

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