Jennifer Caleshu of the Bay Area Discovery Museum send this “copyright caution” (interesting that it’s not a “warning”) from a course reader in her Haas MBA program:

COPYRIGHT CAUTION: As you know, copyright protection of original intellectual property is a big deal, particularly to the content authors and publishers. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that unauthorized copying or sharing of files, passwords, or access is prohibited. Bluntly, this activity is illegal. As with most things in life, it’s best to just do the right thing.

14 Responses to “Emotionally intelligent copyright notice”

  1. I would add, “Also, if you steal my stuff you’re stealing the food out of the mouths of my babies. And if you do that, I’ll send the Copyright Police to beat you up.”

  2. Barry Goodz says:

    That’s great. Can we copy it??

  3. Dan Pink says:

    @dennis — LOL.

    @barry — LOL again. But why not give it a try? I doubt Dennis’s Copyright Police will track you down and do you harm.

  4. Fred Mindlin says:

    Not sure what your point is here, Dan. Of note would be a fair use encouragement notice, or a Creative Commons license, but this doesn’t “feel” to me like it’s got an emotional valence that’s any different from the standard scare-tactic warning.

    What about a call for a return to the Founder’s 7-year copyright limit? What about a paean to glories of the commons and the obligation of creators properly to acknowledge their heritage?

    Cheers, Fred

    Fred Mindlin
    Associate Director for Technology Integration
    Central California Writing Project
    “Intelligence is knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.” — John Holt

  5. Copy away — all I ask is that you throw an occasional link my way!

  6. Alan Wolf says:

    @Fred – Original (Founders’) copyright in the United Stated was 14 years with the option to renew for an additional 14 years. I agree that copyright term extension is a big problem, but please take time to look up the correct information.

  7. Brian Smith says:

    Use my work but be sure to give me credit. I’ve had people reproduce my material without asking – but to their credit they gave me mine

  8. Mamie Clark says:

    I always stick my name, or my library’s name in any descriptive info on my library webpage. I love seeing my stuff appear on someone else’s library page, including the tag line, “And if you need help, ask Mrs. Clark!” Geez, if you’re going to cut and paste my hard work, at least read it throughly and change it to YOUR name, and YOUR library!

  9. Tom Daccord says:

    This caution plays into common misconceptions of copyright law and represents little more than a scare tactic. Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 not only allows but encourages “fair use” of copyright work and lists various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair — such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. So, on the surface this professor has little basis for declaring that any copying or sharing of files by students is illegal.

    The crux of the issue is how the students use the material:
    Do they “transform” the copyright material by using it for a different purpose than that of the original? Is the material taken “appropriate” in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use? If the students repurpose the work for an unintended outcome (such as selling the work) then the professor might have some basis for declaring their actions “illegal.” Or if the students take a portion that clearly devalues the original work (such as lifting the thesis from a dissertation) then the professor might have some basis for litigation. But if the students use the work for its intended purpose of instruction and learning, and credit the work appropriately, then this professor’s “caution” is for naught.

    The reality is that there is little case law to help educators and students definitively determine copyright and certain individuals and organizations have successfully persuaded educators that certain practices are prohibited (ex.: “Copy no more than 10% of a book.”). Nowadays content is disseminated quickly, widely, and effortlessly on the Web so content owners have more aggressively sought to defend copyright ownership. (As one whose Web content has been “borrowed” without credit on numerous occasions I understand the defensiveness.) As in this case, those appeals are sometimes more emotional than intellectual. But the proliferation of these type of warnings is unsettling and creates the false impression that copyright law is somehow less of a catalyst for sharing and dissemination of academic content than intended.

  10. I always liked the way Zig Ziglar ended his audio tapes:

    “Illegal copying or redistribution of this material is prohibited by law and prevented by your honesty and integrity.”

  11. Roy says:

    Try teaching a 7th or 8th grade student about plagiarism. They’ve grown up in a free information society where anything and everything they need/want to know is available by searching the internet. They assume that because the information is freely available, it is open for their use (copy and pasting into a research paper or other assignment). When we try to explain to them that someone else “created” those thoughts, ideas, concepts, explanations, words they look at us as if we’ve just told them that the sky is actually pink (couldn’t resist Dan). It just doesn’t make sense to them.

    I don’t know that people are intentionally reprinting other peoples’ ideas and works without permission or, at the very least, credit. I believe they just don’t think about it because of the ease of access they have to the material.

    If Thomas Friedman is correct in “The World is Flat”, this flattened world we live in only encourages people to use whatever they find on the web with no thought of giving credit. My own 10 year old son has discovered open-source software. I’m sure that using it, and not giving credit when he creates something, will only further confuse the issue for him later on. I wonder, as well, if he’ll want people to credit him if he posts something on the web and they copy it. Will it matter to him and his generation as much as it does to mine/ours?

  12. Jane says:

    Thanks Dave. I’ve never seen or heard Zig’s closing.
    Expect the best and more often than not, we will get it.

  13. Casey says:

    I like Dennis’ response. Just bring some emotional aspect to it like harming babies or kicking puppies. I mean, who kicks puppies?

  14. Now THAT is taking something boring and making it funny/memorable. Two things that more marketers should aim to do.

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