Monday, February 8, 2010

Credit where credit's due

I try to be careful about using other people's material in my presentations and blogs. I often use my own photos and if I use something from the net I go to sites with stock photos with CC licenses and try to link to and acknowledge the source. I may have failed to do this properly sometimes but I try. The trouble is that it's seldom clear exactly what should be written under a photo or a film so that it is correctly used. I'd love to find a ready line to paste in that gives due credit and links to the original. I've spent a long time on various sites trying to find the right way to credit and in the end was forced to guess. Maybe it's blindingly obvious to many of you but I'm afraid I haven't found the magic formula.

I read with great interest two good blog posts on the confusing area of using digital material in education; one by James Clay entitled Are you stealing stuff? and the other by Simon Finch entitled Proper tea is theft. Both posts of course resulted in lengthy discussions. The main point for me from these excellent posts is that since we're all putting so much material on the net we should simply show a bit more respect for each other when we borrow. If you use someone else's material just say so and give credit. Some might argue that it's a battle between us poor ordinary people in the street and the faceless might of big business and its protectionist laws. However, in the world of the social web most of the creative work is coming from just those ordinary people in the street - us! As Simon Finch writes:

"Web 2.0, and the rest, is making us a world of creators and publishers. We’re uploading pictures, music, videos, Flash activities, personal writing, presentations, teaching resources and more – and so are our learners. That image that you’ve found, is just the thing to add value and impact to the learning activity for that needy class of yours. But that image doesn’t belong to an international image company – no, it belongs to someone like you.."

So the moral is to give credit where credit is due, not terribly difficult really. Isn't embedding a photo similar to quoting from a book or article? There are established formulae for text references that we teach carefully to all students so why not photo or film references? A standard format for media references would be very handy. On Creative Commons sites I would like the attribution to automatically follow when I embed a photo or a film. Make it easy and most people will follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment