Because it is stealing… every time.

January 12, 2014

everytime

Sharing. It’s not just something I learned in preschool. It’s something I believe in. I believe we are better, together. Creating. It’s not just something I do because I want something to do. It’s something I do because I need to. The art inside my head, it tugs at my heart and I have to pour it out, into something, or it builds up and makes my head feel like a New York Subway station. Creating isn’t just about making stuff, it’s about sharing a piece of my heart.

This blog? It’s become my space. Our space.  A place to share. A place to give freely. A place where I hope, even one thing I create, will give back to another educator in some small way. Because that’s what sharing is about. Giving your time, your heart, your passion to help others be better. Because others? They help YOU to be better.

So this is personal. I can pretend it’s not, but it is. The posters here? They are not just graphics. They are me.

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Yesterday I stumbled across a share on a teacher sales site. It seemed to look a lot like one of my designs, “Classroom Norms: In Our Classroom” that I have been giving away for free for a couple of years.  It was recreated. It was for sale. Ouch.   There’ve been more, others, the details are not important.

I’m not going to share the name of the store, that’s not why I’m writing this.  I just want people to be aware. To think twice about this.

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 Then another discovery. Time time, a company, the second company this month.  Copying to sell.   Last time,  the company “accidentally” removed my watermark and was using the posters on their website, a paid subscription website.  This time, I got a similar response, “Sorry, we made a mistake.” (Mine is on the right, shared here on my blog, a couple of years ago.)  If you can share this with your students, and it sparks a discussion, please do.  Engage them in a debate. Help them understand.  Creative Commons. Intellectual Property. Share and share alike.  It’s not confusing.  It’s about respecting each other.

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Every second we use digital tools with our students is a chance to educate them. To model. To guide. To facilitate their understanding that copying is stealing. So many times they want to use “Google” as the image source. Help them to see that that image? There is a person behind it. You wouldn’t allow them to copy their neighbor’s diagram on an exam. You wouldn’t let them trace another student’s work of art and display it in the hallway. You wouldn’t even let a kid make a photocopy of your lesson plan and turn it in for an assignment. Those things all sound crazy, right? Well, it’s just as crazy to copy from the internet. Just because copying a digital file is so easy to do, doesn’t make it right.

Let’s let this experience start a bigger discussion.  What can WE do as educators to prepare kids? Please share your best resources.  How can we help kids (and adults) understand “Creative Commons” and copyright?  

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