No! You Can’t Just Take It!

No! You can’t just take it!

No! You can’t take it, because you found it on Google!

No! You can’t just right click>save>use, just because you can!

No! You can’t just pretend that you created it!

No! You can’t make money off my work that I shared FREELY under certain conditions!

No! You can’t just take it…even in the name of education!

No! You can’t just take it… even if AND ESPECIALLY BECAUSE you are a teacher!


By “it”, I mean my work, which includes images, visuals, infographics, infoflyers, blog posts, how to guides, text, jpgs, videos, pdfs, etc.  Just because I love my work, spend HOURS writing, designing and creating does not mean I want someone else to take credit for it. Just because I share my work for free online DOES NOT mean that I give away ALL my rights. I have chose a special kind of copyright license to encourage others to (hopefully) learn from my work.

My work is licensed under Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons License
On every page on Langwitches (in the footer), you will see the above icon stating

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This means, I support collaboration, remixing, building upon and sharing my work AS LONG AS the following restrictions

    give attribution to me as the original creator (and if I used and credited other work licensed under CC, please give these creators credit to)
    do not use my work in any shape or form to make money, include in a website, book or other form where you receive monetary contributions/reimbursements/etc.
    if you use my work, you agree to also share your work under the same Creative Commons license terms. In other words… if you choose to include any work or part of my work in your work, do not slap a copyright symbol on your site/book/app/etc. preventing others from continuing to build upon it.

As an educator you NEED to know and understand copyright and Creative Commons licenses! It is our responsibility to not only teach copyright as part of digital citizenship to our students, but also to MODEL it anytime AND everytime to our students.

I often wonder WHY educators (among many others) just take it, simply because they can.

Is it:

  • Ignorance?… “I did not know”
  • Laziness?… “I don’t have time to deal with that” …to learn about Copyright law and to take the the extra time to find out who this image originally came from…
  • On purpose? … ex. taking the time to crop out the attribution included on an infographic or image
  • Anonymity?… What are the chances that someone will actually find out that I used their work… and then bother to take the time to take action against me?
  • Truly believe they are doing the right and ethical thing?

I have chosen various paths to deal with DAILY violations of the CC copyright license that I have chosen for my work:

  • Ignore it
    It is turning into a full time job to find violations, contact information, write an email, follow up, etc. I am a one woman operation, who does NOT charge for anything on my blog, nor supplement with ads and commercials…
  • Contact the author of the violation
    by writing a canned response letter such as:

    In your recent blog post you used one of my images without giving proper credit.
    [insert URL of violation]
    My work is licensed under Creative Commons , attribution, share alike, non commercial.
    As an educator, I believe in sharing freely under these conditions to build collaboration and encourage added value, remixing and creation.
    I see a copyright symbol on your own blog, which violates the “share alike” part of my license.
    I am asking you to please add attribution to the image, remove your own copyright of your work or remove my image.
    Please make yourself familiar with copyright and Creative Commons licenses if you use material beyond the ones you have created yourself.
    Thank you in advance


  • I make contact to only
    • receive no response
    • Receive a rude response
    • Receive a one liner such as: “Sorry, I did not know…”, “Will take it off my site” or “I am in my right to do what I want under Fair Use”
  • Share my frustration on Twitter, Facebook page and now on my blog
    I have received comments such as the one below on my Facebook Page

“I agree in principle but Langwitches has to make a decision to share the free content with and without attributions…or remove the resources and charge membership to get access. The choice is always yours (Langwitches) …just stop whining and complaining.

Darrell Garrison takes it a step further by asking the question  “Who is to Blame for Wrongful Attributions for Educational Blogs and How Do We Fix it?

I was frustrated yesterday as I was reading an article from one of the educational sites that I enjoy called Edudemic. I usually read what they’ve posted once a day and I almost always read articles involving ideas of how to create PLNs or guides for social media and educators no matter what the source. Yesterday I got to the bottom of the article and saw a graphic by  Silvia Tolisano that I have shared many times and itself is based on an original graphic by Alex Couros as Silvia points out on her Flickr page.

What can we do to raise awareness of Copyright law and the ethical importance for teachers to be knowledgeable and models in adhering to licenses and ethical behavior when it comes to digital citizenship?

What have you done, when you realized that other educators take your own work or someone you know and “pretend” they created it?