Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Radio Broadcasting and Copyright

Photo Credit: bricolage.108 via Compfight cc

Copyright is a difficult issue for today's youth.  As a teacher, I taught Media Studies, with a Radio production course.  Students would come to me with their plan for the program, showing me "their" content, and "their" playlist.  They would often look at me, shocked, when I asked them where the music came from.  And when they couldn't answer with what I wanted, I sent them back for more planning.  

Post by RoxFM.  Above, one of my former students broadcasting with members of the local community.

My students would take their plan, and go to the local radio station, RoxFM, next door to our school.  This would be all done, Live - on - Air, with a bunch of fantastic teenagers at the microphones and mixer at the Radio station.  When they signed up for the course, they thought that they could just play some random music off their iPod, and ramble on about whatever came to their heads.  But I was concerned about Copyright and Slander.

 The Radio Station, RoxFM, is a Community radio station, not for profit.  Members of this station would broadcast, volunteer their time, and work at events for the station.  Students at the school were Youth Members, that paid a fee to take the course, and gain a qualification in Media Studies.  Our school was accredited through Radio Adelaide, which helped us with our program, and certifications.  This is a rich experience that I wish I had as a teenager.

 In my course, the students needed to show understanding of items they discuss, the music they played, the news they reported, were all part of someone's livelihood.  The students also needed to do so, legally.

They all knew about record companies making money, and the band makes money.  But they didn't know that all Radio stations, in Australia, pay money for playing music.  A portion goes to the Record label, The artist, the composer, the songwriter, the producer, .... the list goes on.  They didn't know the reason why in movies or television, you didn't often hear "Happy Birthday" being sung in the way you know it.  Its because of copyright.  The TV show or movie did not have the right to the song, and did not want to pay for it.

My students had to learn about the Community Broadcasting codes of Practice.  It gave them guidelines as to what they can say, and what they cannot.  This was a vital part of the program.  If you would like to know more, visit the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia website, here.

I often steered my students towards Creative Commons licensed media, so that students could create new things by remixing content.  Students often recorded interviews, mixed audio, to create something that sounded better.

Another reason I wanted the source for the content, was when they were discussing issues in the news, and opinion.  These ideas were formulated by someone else.  A writer, a newspaper, a journalist.  When the student 'went to Air' they needed to site on Air, where the idea originated, at some point during the discussion of that topic.  This helps the student, the producer, and the radio station, to protect themselves (partially) from slander.  But, it is mainly to show where the idea for what they were talking about came from.

With today's technology, anyone can create a podcast, youtube clip... etc.  You do not need a broadcasting license.  Grab some music, read someone else's ideas.  But understanding and higher order thinking is better shown through analysis of ideas, and creativity.  Kids discussing a topic they read about in a magazine article or online, shows better thinking than just reading the article alone.
Crafting a message, that people want to tune into, is even harder.

 Copyright is important, because anyone can copy and paste.  But did it require thought?

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Why post it, if you don't want someone to read it, watch it, look at it, or hear it?  Do you know who your Audience is... when you post?

Facebook and other social media platforms, are worrisome. I worry about the implications that could come about from what I post. I have accounts on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, ...and the list goes on. I look at my former colleagues Facebook posts, and I wonder, will their post be what keeps them out of an interview for a competitive job?
Spacebook Facebook, Storm Trooper moaning about boss Darth Vader by artist unknown
  Image credit

I use Facebook for posting photos of my family to my parents back in the USA, and my wife's family in Australia. It helps me keep connected. But, I don't use social media to show off all of the content I create. I don't post photos of myself, or colleagues from social gatherings, mainly to protect their privacy. I might post something relaxing from a holiday, but I tend to post them to my inner circles, and not to all of Facebook. Jacquelyn Smith of Forbes.com states in her article,
"A third (34%) of employers who scan social media profiles said they have found content that has caused them not to hire the candidate. About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos and information posted on his or her profile; while 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles. Other reasons they decided not to offer the job: the candidate’s profile displayed poor communication skills, he or she bad mouthed previous employers, made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion, or lied about qualifications."
What you post matters.  It could be the difference between you winning your next job, or not. But, there are tools like Simplewa.sh that help to remove your social media 'mistakes'.  It may be a good idea, when you look for that next teaching position, to have a look at your profiles and see what may be questionable.

This is Cross-blogged from my COETAIL blog.


Above image used with Creative Commons License.  Original Image hosted here.
Most students love Social Media.  They post pictures, chat with their friends, and think they are all doing the right thing.  Unfortunately, most people are breaking the law when they post other people's media to their profiles.  They all leave footprints in these social media accounts, but it is important to learn how to not have their past come back to haunt them.


User Agreements.  You know, the thing that everyone clicks past as they sign up for something, the 75+ page document that is only really readable by someone with a law degree.  Social Media like Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr all have language written in their user agreements that passes legal and financial blame to the users.  So, if a person posts something that belongs to someone else, and it goes to court, the user is already hung out to dry. Here is an example of such language, from Pinterest.com Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 8.21.29 AMThis has been posted and reported on before, Here is a link to another blog, that explains this issue in more detail. Schools can be a fantastic place for kids to learn to be better at leaving a better digital foot print.



 Schools now have resources that they never had before.  Learning Management Systems, like Schoology and Edmodo and Wikispaces Classroom, are a place where students have a ‘Facebook-like’ interface for interacting with other members of class.  These are a great way to have a conversation with their teachers about choices made with media ‘borrowed’ from other people for assignments. The nice part of Learning Management Systems, are that they are private, not public.  That means that students have a space where they can make mistakes, get messy, and have conversations about how to do it better. These systems are not fool proof, and schools need to adjust to using them.  Grading, posting assignments, and great features are built in to these systems, but they still need a good teacher and time to facilitate them in the classroom.  Teachers get notifications when their students add items to their class, and parents can see their child's activity.


Searching for Creative Commons Media, to include in Assignments.  Showing students to CREATE, BUILD, and IMPROVE, rather than steal others work.  Although “Fair Use” covers most students work in Education, discussing doing things properly is important.  If the student and teacher decide the work done is amazing, posting the work publicly means the work would need to be fixed. Creative Commons is a search engine that helps its user to search for media that the creator will allow you to use, build upon, and adapt.  Music, Photos, and other items can be found, downloaded, and used.

  Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 8.50.58 AM

Students need to know about how to ask for permission to use the items they post.  Some Artists want their items shared, some do not.  Understanding where to look is to find these things will help them to protect themselves.  Teachers and students can have conversations about the origin of images, video, music, in Private Forums, rather that in Public Domains.  Give kids a safety net.