doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

I got a zero once

True story.

If memory serves me correctly, it was when I was in Grade 5 or 6.  We had to write a short story and so I wrote one about vampires.  I doubt that it was a topic in class so I can only guess that I was influenced by other media like the local library or television – Edgar Allen Poe, the Hilarious House of Frightenstein, or anything with Bela Legosi in it.

The story had something to do with a grave yard, mushrooms, vampires, and who knows what else.  I’ll swear on this cup of coffee that is was original work.  But, somehow my teacher didn’t think so and claimed that I had copied it from somewhere.  (probably because it was so good?)  Anyway, this was back in the days when you didn’t hire a lawyer and demand proof.  It went straight to my parents and I was guilty.

It was my first blush seriously with copyright and I remember it well.  All this walk along memory lane comes from thinking about Helen DeWaard’s post about copyright.  It’s worth reading and considering.  The big message for me from that post was her advice to copyright everything.  Maybe I should have copyrighted that assignment I handed in!

Yesterday, I mused about some of the reasons why you and students should put a form of copyright on everything that you do.  I supposed that it could apply to any work but I think that the obvious place would be to put it on anything that you do on the web.  If nothing else, and it’s done seriously, it’s a badge to the world that your words are indeed original.

It brought to mind a few topics around this.

First, if you follow Alec Couros, you know that he has a huge concern about people using his image for other reasons than to point back to him.  His stories about finding it in various places is downright scary.  It led me to an interview on this blog with a friend of his.  An Interview with Zuck Markyburg.

Those of you who attended the Bring IT, Together Conference a few years ago will undoubtedly remember keynote speaker Richard Byrne.  Richard and I had found ourselves in strange places together and my conversations with him convinced me that he would be a good keynote speaker.  He was and you should follow his blog Free Technology for Teachers.  But, “free” doesn’t mean take it and abuse it.  Richard actively goes after people that reuse his works.  He’s written many times about copyright.

If you think purple and Google at the same time, chances are, you think Alice Keeler.  Her site is all about Google and she shares all that she knows on posts there.  With all of the work (and screen captures) that goes into her efforts, she wants to protect her intellectual property as well.  She uses a service Digiprove to guard things.

I could continue but I think you get the point.  It’s not just a silly academic thing.  It’s serious stuff and these leaders are serious about protecting their works.

Shouldn’t you?

Shouldn’t your students?


5 responses to “I got a zero once”

  1. I’m happy that the blog post created an open conversation about copyright. When I think of creative commons licensing I think of it more as a ‘copy-left’ process – thinking open, shared, re-usable, remixable – but acknowledge the author and/or creator. These are critical decisions everyone in this digital world should be making. In the world of CC licensing, a ZERO is the ultimate prize, not a penalty. Alan Levine has blogged about transitioning his full Flickr portfolio to CC0. The decision to give yourself a 0 when licensing your work is like giving a gift of your creative services to the world. It comes down to individual but informed choices for what we create. Thanks for exploring this topic with me, Doug!
    Helen DW CC-BY 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thak you for starting the ball rolling, Helen.


  3. Thanks, Doug, and thanks Helen for jumping in. I am a huge fan of creative commons licensing, and need to dive into it more completely with my students. We use it for accreditation of images purposes, but haven’t used it enough to license our own stuff. Really thinking about some of this in light of Twitter’s new terms of use. When I post the beautiful photography my students have created, and use Twitter to share it with the world, I’m nervous now, because Twitter can use that content, by virtue of us posting it. Lots to learn, in our every changing world.


  4. Hi Doug
    I like the post’s intent, but, everything you create is copyright (at least in Canada) what Helen was talking about was explicitly licensing your copyright productions. You don’t have to license them to have them copyright to you, but doing so, makes users see the REAL copyright owner- YOU!!
    Good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] some conversation in Ontario education spaces thanks to Doug Peterson who took some time to blog (I Got a Zero Once) and respond to the ideas presented here. He also talked about the copyright and creative commons […]


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