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No! You Can’t Just Take It!

June 25, 2013 Copyright, Featured Carousel 12 Comments

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?

Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Cindy says:

    As a gifted education teacher, I’m working very hard to help my elementary studentes understand this concept. Thankfully, most of them, once aware, are very conscientious and trying hard to “follow the rules.” But I think it does take more time, and when time is short, teachers take the shortcuts. Unfortunate, but true. (and I think I noticed the same graphic you mentioned – I had to search for the attribution and it was under about three layers of searching!

  2. [...] RT @langwitches: New blog post: No! You Can’t Just Take it!- langwitches.org/blog/2013/06/2… [...]

  3. Jacq says:

    I feel so strongly about this, and was confounded when I was recently asked by a colleague “aren’t you embarrassed to be telling people that you didn’t think this up yourself?”

    We have to encourage those around us to acknowledge who or what inspired their thinking and actions .. to recognise that creative, individual and innovative work and thinking needs the fuel of inspiration that has been provided by others. For many individuals, and workplaces, this is a fundamental change in culture.

    Just as curation should be acknowledged as an important skill and explicitly taught – attribution should be also.

    Can we re-engineer the dreaded bibliography in APA style in a recognised & easily utilised format that suits communication across social media, learning management systems and shared learning resources – but provide a framework for acknowledgement and attribution for those who find it difficult? Make it look good to include attribution ….

  4. I agree with the frustration, sharing original work for use in education doesn’t mean that people can profit from your work. I regularly upload resources/websites/programs that I create and even add my own copy right permissions under creative commons. I am more than willing to share my resources for non commercial purposes as along as teachers share alike. A few months ago, I found one of my science programs that I had shared online and had added a license was being sold on DocuShare. I contacted them, they took down my resource and then advised that if I wanted to take the issue further I had to go through the courts.

    I educate my students (Year 3)on digital citizenship, what they can/can’t do morally/ethically on the web. Here is the link to a free resources that I created, http://teachingdigitalcitizenship.weebly.com/ lets hope no one out there decides to profit from it!

  5. I think teaching that sort of concept to adults is too late. I started teaching it to my 4/5th graders (youngers, too) and they simply didn’t believe me. A fifteen minute lesson turned in 45 because I kept answering questions–’What if…’ ‘How about…’ I shared several personal stories of people who were sued. At the end of the day, one student dragged her parent in so I could tell them the whole thing all over again.

    We need to start this conversation early, and often.

  6. Hi There!

    Thanks so much for this very informative post. I am part of a team organizing/presenting at a ed tech conference coming up in the next few weeks. I choose digital citizenship as my topic because I have much to learn about it. My question is this: can we link to your site within the presentation as we talk about it? I’m assuming that is acceptable, but, like I said, I have much to learn. Having your permission would be a wonderful addition to the session.


  7. The copy right rules (etiquette ) on the web permit anyone to link and site without permission. The general or perceived rule is that is polite to ask to link a site but it is not expected. However, when bloggers are blogging sites this can be hard to keep track of at times. The majority of web sites are appreciative of the link as it aids in their exposure. I think the real issue is when people copy and paste content from one website onto their own and do not acknowledge their source, then this becomes an issue.

  8. [...] week 6 reflection, I looked into the blog, Langwitches. The post that I looked into was titled, No! You Can’t Just Take It! It really talked about the authors frustrations about people taking her work on the internet and [...]

  9. [...] No! You Can’t Just Take It! | Langwitches Blog A great post by Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches) about her frustration with teachers who are not taking responsibility and modelling good digital citizenship to their students nor playing fair with colleagues who share . We all need to be taking care to live by the creed of good digital citizenship as well as teach it to our students. [...]

  10. […] not the only person to have raised this issue recently. This post on the Langwitches blog highlights the issue of taking ideas without acknowledging the source or […]

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