Monkeying around with copyright

When I first heard about Chris Morrison and Jane Secker’s Copyright the Card Game, I thought it was an awesome idea, and wondered how I might be able to make use of it. I soon noticed a major problem in that the game is based on UK law, and I’m in the US. So I asked if anyone was working on a US version and Chris said, “Not that I know of. Want to have ago at it?” He set up a Slack group so the interested parties could collaborate easily. Laura Pope Robbins from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University provided valuable input in the development of the project.

We went about rebuilding the game from the ground up. We dissected copyright law to identify the important points and categorize them into suits. Due to the complexities of some sections of the law, this proved quite challenging. We’re still working on finding an elegant solution to incorporate fair use and various exemptions. However, we are far enough along to have a prototype and give it a trial run.

One of my goals with this project is to promote Creative Commons as well as advocate for fair use. So in addition to having the CC notice on the cards and having a License card for Creative Commons, I used icons from The Noun Project as part of the card designs. In the copyright scenarios that go with the game, we mention Creative Commons and open educational resources, which are typically CC licensed.

I presented the game as a 50 minute workshop for faculty. I titled the workshop “Monkey Around With Copyright,” and used the monkey selfie image on my promotional material and also used the story behind it as an icebreaker. This worked to bring people to the session and create an informal atmosphere. I talked a little bit about my background with copyright and the Copyright Clause from the US Constitution. Then we looked at the cards and went over the types of works that get copyrighted, the rights that copyright covers, and fair use and the four factor test. We addressed faculty questions along the way.  We also looked at licenses and other legal issues that impact copyright.

At that point, we went into game play. We had several scenarios of copyright issues prepared for the presentation. Attendees worked in small groups to discuss the issues, decide which cards apply to them, and determine a risk factor for each scenario. We had a lively discussion of all the scenarios as a group. The attendees went away confident in what they were doing in class and in Blackboard, and curious to find out more about Creative Commons. We are planning on running the workshop again in the fall, and extending it to 90 minutes so it’ snot quite as rushed. We’re also hoping to present the card game at our regional ACRL conference in June. That should get us some valuable feedback.

You can see the printable cards here, although they still need work.


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