Copyright awareness

Working through the unpublished draft student blogs in Whiteknights biodiversity with Jonathan Mitchley this morning we found that 75% of the students used images that were either other people’s copyright, did not have sufficient associated labelling to know whether use was permitted, or did not acknowledge the source following the requirments of the supplier. Even images from wikimedia images were not generally cited following the instructions on the source web page.

When introducing the blogging session the students were warned clearly that the blogs were intended for publication and that images must be used with appropriate permissions. Even for a group at MSc level it seems that understanding of copyright and acknowledgment of other people’s work is not embedded in their thinking. Digital media make copying very easy and this widespread gap in digital literacy among a group of students with diverse backgrounds shows this has not been addressed at undergraduate level among a range of UK universities.

It is now very easy to publish on the web and just as easy to breach copyright. Perhaps we need a student version of the ‘Know your rights: a guide to using images and multimedia’ course?

About Alastair Culham

A professional botanist and biologist with an interest in promoting biological knowledge and awareness to all.
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