Digital Citizenship

Week 3 Discussion Post- Ask for Permission, Not Forgiveness

Before this week, I had no idea that copyrighting is a government-run program. Based on the white paper written by the Tepp and Odman (2015) of the Hudson Institute, I believe this should be changed and the U.S. Copyright Office should be run by someone else other than those who have not been willing to revolutionize and are potentially influenced for political reasons. One of their main points is that the Library of Congress has other priorities that are hurting the purposes of the U.S Copyright Office (Tepp & Oman, 2015). This is a known problem in many areas of politics which makes me definitely agree with the Hudson Institute. If the needs of the people affected by this office are not being met because of other priorities, a change is needed. I also wonder if it will even be modernized if it stays in control of the Library of Congress. It hasn’t under the previous librarian and who’s to say the new one will definitely have different views? It just seems that an updated U.S. Copyright Office will financially benefit Americans and spark portions of the economy (Tepp & Oman, 2015).

I also never fully understood how many different ways someone can illegally use someone else’s work. Plagiarism is something I am very familiar with as a high school English teacher. We teach students that it is when someone passes off someone else’s information as her own. For example, I’ve had students copy book summaries verbatim from sources such as Wikipedia (which they are never allowed to use anyway!) without quoting or citing anything. This is plagiarism. Copyright infringement on the other hand is when someone reproduces, imitates, distributes, or publicly displays something that is copyrighted (Bailey, 2013). If a teacher were to copy and distribute a piece of work written by someone who is a copyright holder to his students without first receiving permission, this would be an example of copyright infringement. So many educators and others are guilty of this and could be help personally responsible and sued! Attribution is when someone gives credit to the creator by identifying the title, author, source, and license (Creative Commons, 2014). This can be done in a variety of ways as long as these four categories are address with the specific information or links. Finally, transformation is when someone repurposes, modifies, or recontextualizes something for a new audience (Association of Research Libraries, The Program of Information Justice and Intellectual Property, & The Center for Social Media, 2012, p. 11). Even if someone does this, they still must cite the originator or the material to avoid plagiarism.

There are just so many rules and so many guidelines it can be overwhelming. I guess what I need to remember and remind my students about is that it is never ok to take someone else’s work without giving them credit. It is also extremely important to pay attention to whether or not something is copyrighted, and when in doubt, ask for permission. Even in this discussion response itself, I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to correctly apply APA formatting when citing the 4 sources I used. I used Noodle Tools (purchased by our school district) to help me with the formatting, and I’m still not sure if I did it correctly! Technicalities can be so frustrating, but again, the important part is I tried and did not use anyone else’s work as my own.


Association of Research Libraries, The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, & The Center for Social Media. (2012, January). Code of best practices in fair use for academic and research libraries. Retrieved from

Bailey, J. (2013, October). The Difference Between Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism. Retrieved from

Creative Commons. (2014, March 5). Best practices for attribution. Retrieved from

Tepp, S., & Oman, R. (2015, October). A 21st century copyright office: The conservative case for reform [White paper]. Retrieved from Hudson Institute website:


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