The Results of Hyper Academia

This is me learning how to be a video journalist.

This is me learning how to be a video journalist.

This past week I participated in what I like to now call “hyper academia.”  I was lucky enough to earn a fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for teaching journalism to secondary students and I was more concerned with what I would pack to wear than with the actual academic merit of the course.  I may or may not have hung the acceptance letter on my fridge next to pictures of my grandmother bass fishing and my boyfriend’s duck face.  In reality, I was taking a graduate school class in a week.

This is my favorite spot on UNC campus. And my favorite War letter on a sidewalk.

This is my favorite spot on UNC campus. And my favorite War letter on a sidewalk.

The girl I semi-roomed with (we shared a bathroom and she peed with the room doors open which made us immediate friends) said she “knew all along what was coming and felt prepared.” BAH. WHAT. Prepared to take class from 9-5 with an hour for lunch (some days) and then study the text book and do homework until 1 am every night? Because I’ve never been prepared for that.  I’m a girl who needs the Disney amount of sleep.  Spinning wheel or not, I am neither beautiful, nor filled with niceties if I don’t get sleep.  In fact, my boyfriend calls this, and the times that I don’t eat at regular intervals, “The diva mode.” If it has a name, it must be true.

I’m not here to bash the course, it was awesome.  I learned so much about how to format my class, how to work in an online journalism platform, and how to teach my students that platform.  I made my own video on a street artist in Chapel Hill.  I built and now manage an online literary magazine and online newspaper for my students, thanks to WordPress and two fabulous professors.  I may not have eaten anything healthy, and this may have been the first time that a class caused me to be so tired that I got a sore throat and smushed my face into the text book while the professor was lecturing, but I learned some really valuable things.  AND ONE OF THESE THINGS…pertains to all of us.

This is my Black Eyed Susan tribute. Notice: Pencil necklace.

This is my Black Eyed Susan tribute. Notice: Pencil necklace.

We did a little bit on the ethics of journalism in the course, and fair use laws.  And I’m here to say that I’m just as bad as my students and have been completely abusing fair use laws on this blog.  And I actually think a lot of us do this thinking that in a world of Pinterest, and Tumblr, that fair use laws on the internet don’t actually matter.  If you put your naked body on Tumblr, then everyone and their mother, and crazy Uncle Steve, can go on Tumblr and repost that sucker.  This is just not the case. Fair use laws are serious and we can all be sued for our lack of depth or knowledge in this area.

Everyone knows a post with images is a post people like better.  Look at BuzzFeed, the queens of all image lists. I am sure of one thing, they’re following fair use laws.  Think of all the cat ladies they had to contact to create that post…hoards. BA-DUM-CHA.

I love the use of images, I think most people like a blog that separates the words with cute, intelligent, or interesting images and LOTS of white space.  In fact, according to online column rules, this post is probably already too long.

Copyright License Choice BY Opensourceway @ Flickr (Click for site)

Copyright License Choice BY Opensourceway @ Flickr (Click for site)

I think it’s time that we all educated ourselves on copyright and fair use laws so that we don’t become “those people” who are stealing from the interwebs of the actual creative minds who photographed, created, or distributed these lovely images for the masses to see.  I thought I was doing a good job of using the @ sign to link to where I got the image and that was enough, but it’s not.  Real people took these images.  Real people deserve the credit for these images.

Now I know, we aren’t stealing cars.  But we’re stealing someone else’s creativity and isn’t that almost worse? We might not drive it off a cliff when we’re done with it, nor did we finagle it with hot-wire tactics, but someone brilliant isn’t being noticed behind their images if we’re just distractedly linking from Google.

From now on, I’m going to ONLY use images from Creative Commons, my own Instagram account or baby Nikon, and other images that have attribution licenses.  I’m going to do my best to ask permission from the ORIGINAL owner (no more Tumblr images because I can imagine that unless it’s art, it’s practically impossible to find the Original Gangsta who created some of those images) and I’m going to promote fair use as much as I can.

I would hate if someone stole my writing and publicized it as their own.  I don’t want to be “THAT person” who does that with anyone else’s work.

If you’re a person who thinks as long as you site the website where you got the image and you link back to that site that it’s okay to take the image, then you need to read up on Intellectual Property.   If the goodness of your heart hasn’t swayed you to become a blogger, or continue being a blogger, that follows fair use guidelines, then read Roni Loren’s story and get with the program.  Pardon me while I go through 467 posts and edit out the images where I didn’t follow fair use.


9 responses to “The Results of Hyper Academia

  • Elisa

    I to the next book!!! The Book of Life
    Wasn’t to be released till the 17th!!! Publisher sent out copies ahead for sale at my favorite bookshop!! I’ve had it since Saturday, but have been getting the last of library reading out of my way!

  • Brianna Soloski

    Amen! I only get book covers from Amazon (although I’m not certain that’s fair use). However, fair use extends to words to. Reblogging a post is stealing. It looks like the blogger is trying to pass it off as their own work when it’s not. I’ve been reblogged a couple of times and it makes me angry.

    • Cassie

      Book covers are okay under fair use because you’re commenting on the book. I was like Oh noooooo until I found that out. Reblogging is a very strange feature, I agree.

      • Brianna Soloski

        Whew. Because sometimes I get ARCs from NetGalley and they don’t have covers. I don’t have the motivation to photograph the covers of all the books I read.

  • Geoff W

    I need to give this my two friends who blog with me on another blog. For some reason they just don’t get it. I prefer to use my own images regardless.

    • Cassie

      I wish I had images that went with everything I review. I will just continue to use Creative Commons for times when I don’t have appropriate pictures for the circumstance. Definitely pass this along, because like them, I had no idea either.

  • Bea

    Think of it this way, it gives you another reason to take pictures of random things that may someday be used on your own blog. As for a fellow blogger reblogging your work, I think it is fine as long as they give you the credit. Sometimes a blog is so good, you just have to share it with others. It’s a compliment! I look forward to seeing images created by Cassie.

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