Teaching students about copyright – the YouTube way

Students (and educators alike) are sometimes guilty of using copyrighted material without permission.

In fact, many believe – falsely I might add – that when used for an educational purpose, you can throw copyright laws out the window.

This entertaining five minute video might be good to show your students to spark a discussion about what is and isn’t fair use. While this video discusses only YouTube videos, it applies to blog posts, school assignments, projects, and more.

YouTube will start requiring all copyright offenders to watch this video and then answer a short quiz about what they learned. Seems to me like an excellent way to enforce the law and educate the users!

What do you think?

How do you discuss copyright with your students?

See this post for more on teaching students about Creative Commons and appropriate use of images.

8 thoughts on “Teaching students about copyright – the YouTube way

  1. Sadly the Youtube TOS don’t let you publicly display this to your students…you can however link to it and they can watch it on their computer – individually.

  2. Copyright laws are great subject to teach students. Businesses today work mostly in the online world so proper digital writing (aka not using lol-speak) and use of images/videos is a skill that students will definitely take with them into the work force.

    The video is great too! Though, the characters in the video are from a cartoon series called Happy Tree Friends, and it is NOT for children. Just in case any teachers wanted to use more of their cartoons in the classroom.

    1. Great points, Shana!

      I have to admit to seeing a few Happy Tree Friends videos several years ago and definitely not for students – and now that you mention it, I knew that theme song sounded familiar from somewhere!

  3. HI Ronnie,

    What a terrific video! I like how it’s not too long as well as bright and colourful – perfect for engaging kids as opposed to dry pages of text – my personal favourite! 😉

    I have to confess, I’ve only just begun thinking about this issue, and how to teach it recently. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of copyright – I was a professional writer before teaching, but I guess, as an early-ish career teacher there were always so many other things to keep on top of.

    Since starting my own blog and site, and talking with other educators who are using technology more actively in their classrooms, I’m really excited about trying new units that specifically teach the skills relating to our digital world. And that includes doing so with respect for the original composer. I’ll be watching this discussion with interest to see how others are teaching this to their students.



    1. Carla,

      I particularly liked that it seemed watchable by all ages – including adults.

      I think this topic is definitely one we need to keep looking at closer and hopefully some good ideas will be shared here too. 🙂


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