Tag Archives: copyright

A Meandering New Year’s Post

Well, it’s taken me nearly the entire month (it gets kinda busy around here at the beginning of the semester, as it turns out) but welcome back everyone and I hope you had a nice relaxing break! Today’s post will reflect my mental state, in that it will be disorganized and touch on only loosely related subjects.

1) Spam email. NOVA’s IT has been working overtime to advise us about the many dud emails showing up in our boxes. This is called “Phishing” and is something I covered in this blog a few months ago. Here is the link to that post: http://blogs.nvcc.edu/fsrc/?p=84. If you’re not feeling up to another post, here’s my helpful checklist for spam emails:

  • If someone asks for personal information via email, do not email it to them. If you think it might be a real request and it’s from a business, call. Even if it’s from your friend, call. Like, on the phone.
  • If there are typos or bad grammar in the email, that is a big red flag indicating it may be a scam email.
  • Just because there’s a company logo in the email or you click on a link that takes you to a website, doesn’t mean it really comes from that company. Just because the email address looks like it comes from a legitimate business doesn’t mean it does. All of these things can be easily faked in an email.
  • Be suspicious of generic greetings like “Dear Customer”.
  • Most businesses will not threaten to close down an account if you don’t provide them with personal information. They WANT you to keep your account!
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
  • If you feel weird about an email, even if you don’t know why, trust your instincts and don’t reply. Better safe than sorry!

2) Copyright. Shirley Nuhn and I did a training on copyright for educators during the Power Up Your Pedagogy conference in early January and hope to offer it in more venues in the near future. The original blog post is here: http://blogs.nvcc.edu/fsrc/?p=41. I also found this cool resource today: http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/patents/menu_patents.asp

3) Lastly, a good article on the top 10 good tech habits everyone should have. Developing these habits can save you from the many pitfalls of computer use and ownership. And yes, the last one is true! http://lifehacker.com/5978861/top-10-good-tech-habits-everyone-should-have

Learning to Live with Copyright

When I was earning my Instructional Technology stripes in the Masters of Library and Information Studies program at UNC Greensboro (we’re unranked! Woo!), I discovered that I had a surprising fascination with copyright law. So when I saw an entire seminar on Copyright and Tech Law Issues at New Horizons this year, you can bet I stuffed my tote with free snacks and grabbed a front-row seat. Because of my job, I create and/or edit a fair bit of web content, so I have to be careful of copyright when selecting pictures and text for websites. Since NOVA is a college, and most website content is not used for marketing and profit, we’re more or less covered by a handy copyright exception known as “Fair Use”. However, Fair Use is not a free-for-all opportunity to use copyrighted materials with impunity, so I like to err on the side of caution.

A few things of note:

  • Copyright can apply to any “original works of authorship” that is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” A “work is fixed…when its embodiment…is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration…” In English? Anything you write OR TYPE can be copyrighted. Even your emails.
  • If you save a copy of a computer file, that is the same, as far as copyright is concerned, as if you took that file and xeroxed it. Copies are copies, no matter how easy it is to make them.
  • If you teach, and the content you share is in Blackboard behind password protection (ie. your students have to log in to get it), you are PROBABLY okay.
  • Just because it’s on the Internet does NOT mean you can use it without permission or attribution.
  • When in doubt, ask if you can use something. And always give credit. If you can’t find the owner, find something else to use.
  • If anyone can benefit materially from what you’re doing in any way, be extra extra careful about copyright.

The woman who taught this seminar, copyright attorney Madelyn Wessel, was kind enough to post her resources and make them available to everyone (with attribution!). Here’s her very useful outline and list of copyright resources:

VCCS 2012 Outline