In my own classroom, I fight the good fight every day, wrestling with students who want to use copyrighted music or images in their work. I’m writing literally here. I’m not afraid to throw a kid in a headlock for slipping the latest Owl City release into a slide show.
I realize, however, students are not malicious, thieving miscreants who don’t care about fair play or giving credit where credit is due. Actually, teenagers have an acute belief in honor and fairness.
Why, then, despite what I considered engaging, varied lessons on fair use and proper citation, do they continue to use copyrighted images and music without a mention of the sources? There are many explanations, but the simplest one—let me grab Occum’s razor here—is that it’s simple.
The majority of students, when looking for a picture, complete a Google Image search and then use the first few shots they…
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