Middle and High School Approaches
The lessons in this section are geared to grades 7-12. Using your judgment as a teacher, you can tailor the lessons to fit the needs of your students. Among the factors to consider are your students’ backgrounds and previous experiences; whether you come to them as a specialist teacher in music or the other arts, in English or language arts, in government or civics, in history, in economics, or in technology; the amount of time you have available, and the amount of similar instruction you and your colleagues already impart as a part of the curriculum.
The lesson plans provided here are designed to fit with activities that are likely part of your ongoing curriculum. (Note that some are complex enough that they will be most useful in the context of specialized curricula; for example, the economics lessons may be most appropriate for International Baccalaureate programs). In addition to those lessons, if your school has a code of conduct, set of student rights and responsibilities, or other similar document that is introduced to the students during the year, consider presenting the ideas of creative work, intellectual property, and also plagiarism in the context of that document. For example, if your school’s code for students includes a line such as, “All our students respect the property of others,” you have an opportunity to make the points that this respect should show up with regard to ideas as well as to backpacks and calculators. The code of conduct document in this section is one example of a simple document that you can use for this purpose.
You will also find a draft letter to parents that you may wish to send home with students, informing parents of the way that their children’s school experience contains rich, creative activity and the way the children are being taught about ethical practices. Finally, you will find answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions regarding copyright and a set of links to other Web-based copyright resources.
The essential thing that you need to do as a teacher is to take three simple steps with your students:
- Help them understand that they do valuable, creative work in school and in their lives.
- Encourage them to take pride in ownership of their creative work by putting the “c-in-a-circle,” the date, and their name on the work.
- Let them know that, as members of a creative community – one that exists within and beyond the school community — they need to behave according to the ethics of that community by respecting the intellectual property rights of others.
If you do that, you’ll be doing the students, the school, and society a great service.
Secondary School Code of Conduct
Click here for a PDF of the Secondary School Code of Conduct.
If you experience problems viewing the PDF files, or a blank screen comes up, try right-clicking on the link and select “Save Target As…” to save the file to your hard drive before opening it. You may need to upgrade to the latest version of Acrobat.
Letter to Parents [sample]
During the school year, your son or daughter will experience a curriculum that will help him or her grow in many ways. In addition to developing basic skills and knowledge in areas including reading and math, we will be doing schoolwork that includes creative work. This is an essential part of your child’s education because success in our society depends increasingly on the ability to think clearly and creatively – and our school plays an essential role in preparing children for that society.
As your child completes this exciting act of creating work in school, we will be asking him or her to mark the work with the copyright symbol, name, and date. We hope that this simple act will help all our students take pride in their productivity and to understand that they and their friends and colleagues are members of a creative community that takes in our school, our nation, and the world beyond. To reinforce this idea of a creative community and the ethical issues that go with respecting each others’ work, we will also be working with students to understand the basics of our nation’s system for protecting intellectual property.
If you have any questions about this, please give us a call or visit the web site of the “Creativity in the Classroom” program at https://nafme.org/. This program has been developed by MENC: The National Association for Music Education with funds provided by the ASCAP foundation, working with input from the National School Boards Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the American Bar Association, and the United States Copyright Office.
Music, Art, and Other Arts Specialists
Secondary Lesson Module 1—What is the “creative community” and what does it mean to be part of it?
- Students will identify and describe the roles of people in the creative community and explain what it means to be a part of this community.
Previous Knowledge and Experiences
- Students have been working on a unit on careers in music or other arts.
- Have students brainstorm about the various creative roles of people in the arts. Ask one student to list the ideas on the chalkboard. Encourage students to focus on particular roles, rather than individuals. It may be helpful for students to think of particular artists and identify the creative roles those individuals play.
- Ask students to draw relationships between various roles in the creative community, for example, choreographer-composer-painter-playwright and actor-singer-dancer. Have students identify ways in which a performer demonstrates creativity, for example, through interpretation or improvisation.
- Lead students to identify other roles in the creative community that are important in presenting or disseminating artistic works, for example, conductors, arrangers, publishers, makeup artists, and costume designers. Point out that people in various roles in the creative community are involved in either the creation of new works, interpretation of those works, or presentation and dissemination of new and existing works to new audiences.
- Guide students in describing how copyright of a creative work benefits both the creative community and the public. For example, it enables artists to make a living, promotes the development of new works, and contributes to the economy.
Indicators of Success
- Students identify roles in the creative community and describe similarities in those roles
- Students describe the value of copyright to the creative community and the public
- Assign students the task of discussing roles in the creative community with their families. Ask each student to write a paragraph based on his or her family’s views of the contributions that such artists make to the community and the public and to report his or her own evaluation of that contribution.
Secondary Lesson Module 2—What is “new matter” and why does it matter?
- Students will identify what material can be copyrighted in a creative work
- Arrangements or adaptations of copyrighted works (see Previous Knowledge and Experiences)
Previous Knowledge and Experiences
- Students have been rehearsing an arrangement
or other adaptation of a copyrighted work, such as a choral arrangement of a popular song, an instrumental work based on folk songs, an adaptation of a screenplay; or they have been studying an adaptation with preexisting artwork, such as a compilation.
- Ask students to locate the copyright notice on the arrangement or adaptation that they have been rehearsing or studying.
- Ask the following questions: Who owns the copyright on the original work? Who owns the copyright on the arrangement or adaptation? Note that for a song or choral work, the lyricist may be different from the composer of the music; or for a visual artwork, the writer of the text (for example, the calligrapher for a Chinese or Japanese screen painting) may be different from the painter or other such artist.
- Discuss with students how the arrangement or adaptation is different from the original. For example, was new material added, were different instruments or voices used, was a map altered, was text added, or is the style different? Explain that the arranger or other adaptor needed permission from the copyright holder(s) of the original work to create and to sell the arrangement or other adaptation. If that copyright holder is a publisher, explain that this signifies that the composer or other creator of the original work granted the publisher the right to copyright that particular work in the publisher’s name. Note that sometimes the composer or other creator of a work retains copyright of the work and grants the publisher only publication rights.
- Ask students how they think the copyright law benefits everyone involved. For example, the composer and original publisher receive both credit and income from dissemination of their work, as well as from any arrangement or adaptation for which permission is granted; the composer or other artist’s copyright is protected against infringement; the arranger and the publisher get credit and income by adding new work to preexisting material; more artists have access to the preexisting works; the general public has the benefit of enjoying the adaptations.
Indicators of Success
- Students describe the “new matter” in an arrangement that they have performed or in another artwork that they have studied
- Students describe the importance of permission to use preexisting work before creating an arrangement or adaptation
- Have students ask parents or other older family member to help them identify a contemporary arrangement of a song that was popular during their youth. Tell students to ask how the contemporary arrangement has changed from the original or earlier version. Examples might be contemporary arrangements of holiday tunes or folk songs. Ask students to write a paragraph identifying the arrangement and describing how it is different from the original.
Secondary Lesson Module 3—How does one register copyright, and how is that copyright protected?
- Students will describe the process for copyright registration and how it protects a creative work
- For each student, a copy of the form for copyrighting a work of the performing arts (Form PA) or of the visual arts (Form VA), downloaded from http://www.copyright.gov/forms
- For teachers’ reference, copy of instructions for this form from the same web document Note: Depending on the students’ level, the teacher may wish to give each student a copy of the instructions.
- Students have completed an original musical composition of any length, a story, or another artistic work, and have included a copyright notice (for example, © 2004 by Mary Student)
- Review with students the meaning of the copyright notice on their creative works. Remind students that copyright is secured automatically when the work is created. Note that including a copyright notice on the work, though not required, is important for protecting their rights as creators of the work. Explain that there are also advantages to registering copyright with the US Copyright Office, including the following: registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim, and if the work is of US origin, the author may file a suit for any infringement of copyright only if the copyright has been registered.
- Explain that US law provides for severe penalties for copyright infringements such as making illegal copies. The penalties may include hefty fines or imprisonment or both.
- Discuss the ways in which US laws protect a copyrighted work, including the fact that copyright gives the copyright holder the exclusive right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to perform or display the work publicly. Note: According to Circular 1, Copyright Basics (available from the US Copyright Office), “Minors may claim copyright, but state laws may regulate the business dealings involving copyrights owned by minors.”
- Distribute copies of Form PA (for works of the performing arts) or Form VA (for visual artworks. (Optional: Also distribute the two-page instructions for either form.) Explain that the form can be used to register copyright for either published or unpublished works. Note that if they wish to register a sound recording of their works, instead of or in addition to the underlying musical or dramatic work, creators would use a different form (Form SR). For a non-dramatic literary work, they would use Form TX.
Indicators of Success
- Students describe the protection that copyright law offers to creators of copyrighted works
- Students describe two ways to protect their rights for their creative works; that is, use of the copyright notice; and registering copyright with the US Copyright Office
Guide students in completing Form PA (for performing arts) or Form VA (for visual artworks) for a work that they have created. Although the forms are not complex, students will probably have questions about certain terms or items. Give particular attention, as needed, to explaining the following:
- space 1 (on Form PA): “nature of this work” — for example, music, song lyrics, words and music, drama, musical play, choreography, pantomime, motion picture or audiovisual work, magazine article, photograph, or other work.
- space 2a: “work made for hire” – explain that in certain circumstances, this applies to work that is prepared by an employee or that is ordered or commissioned. (Students would generally check “no”)
- space 2a (for Form PA): “nature of authorship” – for example, words, coauthor of music, arrangement, dramatization, screenplay
- space 2a (for Form VA): “nature of authorship” – for example, 3-dimensional sculpture, 2-dimensional artwork, map, photograph, or other categories listed on the form itself
- spaces 2b and 2c: these spaces are completed only if a particular work is created by more than one person; for example, a composer and lyricist who collaborate on a particular work
- space 5: generally, the students would answer “yes,” unless they have created a compilation of preexisting work or they have created a derivative work such as an arrangement of an earlier work. Remind students that if they wish to base their work on preexisting material and publish or distribute their new creation, they need written permission from the copyright holder, and they may be required to pay that party a fee
- spaces 6a and 6b: these spaces need to be completed only if the work is a compilation or a derivative work
- space 7a: students would leave this blank,
but remind them that if they were actually filing for copyright, along with the form they would send an application fee (currently $30) and a copy (or copies) of the work, as described in the instructions
Have students show Form PA or Form VA to a parent or other family members, asking them whether they have ever used the form themselves or know anyone who has. Ask students to write a paragraph describing circumstances under which they might want to register copyright themselves using one of these forms.
Secondary Lesson Module 4—What kinds of common uses of intellectual property are, and are not, legitimate?
- Students will describe what constitutes both “fair use” and the “public domain.”
- Handout on Fair Use (available online from the U.S. Copyright office at www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.pdf)
Previous Knowledge or Experience
- Students have begun composing a short musical or preparing a multimedia presentation to celebrate a historical or contemporary event.
- Lead students in a discussion of what sources they might draw upon for the project they have begun; for example, songs or literature from, or related to, the event or the particular time in history.
- Distribute the handout on “fair use,” explaining that fair use places some limitations on the exclusive rights of copyright owners. Lead students in a discussion of the four basic factors that, according to the 1976 Copyright Act, should be considered in determining fair use:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
- Distribute the handout on “fair use, public domain, and the duration of copyright.” Explain that, generally, a work is in the public domain if the copyright has expired or if no one has claimed copyright on it. Also, explain the necessity of getting proof of public domain from a legitimate source. Ask students whether they know any songs that are in the public domain. Lead them in a discussion about the duration of copyright and its importance in figuring out whether a work is in the public domain (Explain that, according to information available at www.pdinfo.com, “a legitimate source is a tangible copy of the work with a copyright date old enough to be in the public domain” – 1925 or earlier in the US [for the year 2004].)
Indicators of Success
- Students describe the limits of fair use
- Students describe what constitutes public domain and how it relates to duration of copyright
Lead the class in a discussion of the rules for citing works of others. Also reference the idea of plagiarism, which may even apply to uses of public-domain materials
Have students discuss with parents or other family members the uses that the family makes of creative works on TV and radio, on recordings, and in print material. Ask students to make a brief list of such works that family members enjoy in a typical evening. Have them underline the works that they believe are in the public domain. Tell them to be prepared to explain to the class their reasoning for designating certain works as public domain.