Every piece of original authorship is granted copyright ownership, affording exclusive rights to the owner for reproduction, distribution, derivative works, public performance or display. Though the requirements of original authorship may be contested, it is clear that students produce thousands of original creative works every school year– be they essays and art projects or tweets and Instagram photos. So, what should students and parents know about copyright?

It is important to understand to what extent you have control over your creative content, and to what extent you may wish to reign in or loosen that control– particularly in the digital world. Often, we are not aware of and may not care about these rights until they are taken advantage of. Instagram users protested against a clause in their 2012 terms of service claiming functional ownership to all posted photos and allowing their commercial sale, without consent or notification. Quite a few misled campaigns have swept Facebook, causing chains of users to frantically claim protection of their original content from infringement or breaches of privacy, regardless of the fact that your copyrights are granted automatically upon publishing and you may have signed over various ownership rights in the service’s terms of use.watch full movie The Shack 2017 online

In light of these concerns, students and parents can take the following steps to avoid conflict through better understanding the digital content arena and their own creative rights:

  1. Take time to scan social media sites’ terms of use and privacy policies. Search for keywords like intellectual property/IP, share/ing, content, or copyright.
  2. Note the differences in reblogging, repinning, or retweeting something (within the normal parameters of the social media platform) versus re-posting others’ content without permission and attribution.
  3. Pay attention to the ways in which people protect their copyrights but enable sharing via licenses (such as those by Creative Commons), and consider utilizing these tools. Many platforms, such as Flickr and Soundcloud, have integrated CC.
  4. Understand that not all copying is infringement: fair use protects otherwise infringing uses for the purposes of criticism/parody, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Many creative uses of digital media are covered under fair use.

In order to foster a healthy, collaborative, and creative environment on social media and beyond, we must take steps to understand how to respectfully create and share content.

Image credit: opensource.com via Flikr creative commons.