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The Release of The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy

On September 25 2007, we released our initial report on copyright and fair use for media literacy education, The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy Education, at American University in Washinton, D.C.

In addition to the Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy, we also released an accompanying video that illustrates key ideas from the report.  It is based on scores of longform interviews with teachers and shows that the fundamental goals of media literacy education -- to cultivate critical thinking and expression about media and its social role -- are compromised by unnecessary copyright restrictions.

As a result of poor guidance, counterproductive guidelines, and fear, teachers use less effective teaching techniques, teach and transmit erroneous copyright information, fail to share innovative instructional approaches, and do not take advantage of new digital platforms.

This is not only unfortunate but unnecessary, since copyright law permits a wide range of uses of copyrighted material without permission or payment. However, educators today have no consensus around what constitutes acceptable fair use practices. The report concludes with a call for educators to develop a consensus around their interpretation of their most valuable copyright tool: fair use.