Posted by: Rachel Baker | November 13, 2014

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…

…It was legalese time.

From page one, Aufderheide and Jaszi (2012) stated that there is great “lack of clarity around copyright and fair use” (p. 1). And no wonder – legalese continually is a struggle for many of us who could never had made it through law school.

For me, this article brought up many questions rather than answering anything. The article also noted that copyright resources make statements such as, “The Legal Department should therefore be consulted…,” “consult an attorney,” and “Don’t use anyone’s stuff without getting permission and giving credit…” (p. 10). Rather than giving concrete, helpful protocol for correctly handling copyright issues, it vaguely directs people to consult lawyers. However, I find that it is true that I trust my colleagues more than professors, books, or my organization and its lawyers.

Yet, these issues we looked at this week – copyright, fair use, defamation, libel and privacy – are serious and important. Misuse of material can lead to the fall of an empire, as seen through the breakup of the Mars Hill churches with the plagiarized writings by Mark Driscoll. The Driscoll controversy has aired on the Washington Post, the Huffington Post and Slate magazine, among many others – leading to the decline and now sudden death of the mega churches.

With this knowledge of the importance of understanding these laws, I would like to learn more specifics on how the fair use policy can be utilized, especially in the area of social media.

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