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Teaching Kids About Copyright and Piracy

How Do We Teach Our Kids About Piracy?

Teaching our kids about copyright law is more complicated in this digital age. It’s so easy to share music, take pictures from the internet, and copy resources for research papers . Honoring copyright (whether we’re talking about curriculum or music) begins with a proper outlook on rights and ownership. I used a very simple explanation with my kids:

Copyright means that the owner has the right to make copies of their product, and I can’t make copies unless they give me permission.

The second thing we need to understand in this digital age is what counts as a copyIt’s easy to understand that taking a workbook to a copy machine and duplicating it is making copies. It’s harder to grasp that putting a CD on your mp 3 player is making a digital copy because now you have the album located in two places or that sending a song to your friend counts as copying because you both now have the song. The same is true with ebooks, images, and any other digital item.

Of course making a back-up copy for yourself, or putting your CD on your mp 3 player is perfectly legal. It’s only a problem when you share the materials with someone else. But this example does show how we need to study the rules of copyright.

Tips to Teach Your Kids:

  • When searching for images for a project of any kind, it’s wise to search for public domain or creative commons images that you can lawfully use.
  • Remember that sharing any digital or disc item you purchased (movie, song, ebook, CD, etc) is almost always wrong.
  • Remember that a copy doesn’t have to be a physical copy to count.
  • Learn to check the terms of use on anything you buy for permission to make copies for yourself, immediate family or others.
  • Remember: You can always ask! Sometimes the owner will give you permission to use or copy an item. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

We haven’t discussed all the ins and outs of copyright, fair use, and piracy. Here are some resources to help you and your kids  learn more about copyright and digital piracy:

And while we’re at it, plagiarism:

Don’t forget! There is a Google Form on Monday’s post where you can submit any specific questions you might have. We would like to address and answer them in Thursday’s Hangout. For more information, to find the weekly schedule, or sign the pledge, visit the main #honorcopyright campaign page.

Arrr, Matey. A Pirate Themed Photo Meme

Want a fun way to get the kids involved as you teach them about digital piracy? We want to challenge you to talk about these hard issues with your kids (at whatever level is age appropriate for them,) and start teaching your kids how to honor copyright. We also want to see how many clever quips you and your kids can come up with, so we have a fun, pirate-themed, photo meme linkup.

How to play along:

  1. Take a pic of your kids(s) dressed in pirate costume, holding a sign with a clever “no piracy” quip. Be creative! (Example: I steal hugs and kisses, but I don’t steal curriculum.)
  2. Post the photo to a social media account (Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest or Instagram) — making sure it’s public so we can see it.
  3. Link up a permalink for the photo in the linky below.



So far we've talked about the basics of copyright law, how to share freebies, and how to teach our kids about piracy. Tomorrow we'll take a look at how copyright violation affects the creators of the pirated items. Join us!

About amber

Amber is an eclectic homeschooling mother of three tweens and teens, who is also a wife, writer, artist, pastor's wife, singer, chef, maid, and chauffeur. Don't think she's got it all together, though--some days she's barely just a mom.

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