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Renee Hobbs

Temple's Renee Hobbs developing handbook on copyright fair use

Media-literacy researchers and practioners need to follow the lead of filmmakers and establish a handbook for "fair use" of copyrighted materials, says Temple University researcher Renee Hobbs. Taking a cue from colleagues at American University, Hobbs has started the process. She spoke about it on Friday, March 30, at the Northeast Media Literacy Conference at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. Here are Bill Densmore's unedited notes of her talk:

Intersections between media literacy and fair use. She is beginning to investigate a project.

What does future hold for growht and development of media literacy as a part of K-12 and higher education and as apart of advocacy and how fair use issues would come into that.

In the 1990s began developing a lot of curriculum materials for teachers interested in building media education skills.

Publishers concerned about "fair-use" materials

"One of the problems I ran into was publishers, who were quite anxious about publishing that kind of material." They were concerned about whether the use of copyrighted materials and whether use of it was legally protected. They fair-use protection or privilege is claimed.

1) Articles printed from web / printout websites

2) using clips of music for videos

distinction: classroom instruction vs. youth-media production are two uses.

using it as a reading vs. as an example

comics as a way to talk about media and popular culture.

Tessa Joles, president, Center for Media Literacy.

Hobbs: "There is an enormous climate of fear everwhere I go."

Owners have become more aggressive about asserting their rights.

"Think of fair use as the bridge between copyright and the first amendment.....it is awfully, awfully vague."

The 1979 compromise

1979 compromise -- classroom use is OK. Can't copy a whole work. A chapter may be OK. Some have heard 10% is OK. Has heard 30 seconds if it is media. Tape off the air, keep it for 45 days and then must erase it. Single use only. Can't use over and over again. the 10% rule is going around. Can you convert to another media? "The guidelines whatever they were in 1979, don't map to the participatory culture that we now live in."

She will describe the politics behind her research project, how what it tries to do and then try to enroll us.

"Creative commons responds to the idea of the remix culture."

Her colleague, Patricia Aufderheide and a copyright expert at American Univerisity -- she has adapted it to media literacy. The basic theory: "The owners have been very good at expanding their rights, but the users have been mostly unorganized and fearful." Lawyers are always going to err on the side of conservativeness.

"Trying to education in ways that helps us as users to expand our rights as users."

Art historians have worked out solution

How has this been working: It's happening with art historians. The courts have been unwilling to expand, because each creative community has different needs. Art historians can't reproduce just 10% of a painting. So they have a specific need to use all. "Art historians as a communit have gotten together and said for us to do our work we neeed to use copyright in these sorts fo ways."

Film professors frustrated. "Filmakers chose to expand their rights with very specific rights. How might we do it as media educators?"

Fair use: Legally quoting a work if it benefits the public good more than it hurts the rightsholder.

===Her problem with publishing her own book

Holt Reinhart and Winston wouldn't allow them to publish ads in her book. "How do you do a unit on advertising without being able to reproduce an ad? .... I'm so embarassed to admit this. We had to create a fake ad." "For the growth of media literacy, people have to be able to make money from it." "There has to be some accomodation for the making of those materials."

Phases of her research

Three phases:

1) Interviewing 50 media literacy educators

2) In June at AMLA will release that report. They will say how the medial literacy educators "are confused, and this is what they are afraid to do, that they don't do because they are nervous."

3) Then spend 12 months meeting with people in the media literacy community talking about where we agree and where we disagree. At end of that time will produce a concensus document from the grassroots up that reflects "the places where we do agree that represent fair use."

Have done 25 interviews so far. Library media specialists, non-profit afterschool groups, advocacy groups and man others: "I'll tell you where the non consensus is. There are quite a large number of teachers who say we can use copyrighted materials in the classroom to do an editing exercise." Will do something in teh classroom "but we are not going to put that on the school network. In other words we are not going to have a real audience." There are "muscle-building things" that are not for a real audience. "Now how does that resonate with your experience? ... Is it OK to use copyrighted materials just as an exercise, or should you be able to put it up on YouTube, show it at the library, send it to the local public-access channel."

Copyright attorney James A. Friedan (jfriedan@teachwithmovies.com), of Santa Monica, Calif. (310-917-1940) was in the audience at Hobb's presentation and observed: "My own reaction is it is an absurd distinction . . . if it is Ok for the documentary film producers, why shouldn't it be OK for the media educators?"
http://www.teachwithmovies.com copyright litigator litigating fair-use issues.

Back to Hobbs:

"Realize that for us as users to expand our rights, we've got to want to do it." "If we want our rights to expand that means we have do the work and we have to organize to do the work."

Hobbs contact info

Renee Hobbs, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Director, Media Education Laboratory
School of Communications and Theater
Temple University
320 Annenberg hall / 2020 North 13th St.
Philadelphia PA 19122