Lesson Plan

Copyright and Fair Use

What is copyright law, how does it affect you, and is there any way around it.
Kim R.
Specialist Sr., Entrepreneurship Education
Arizona State University, E+I
Scottsdale, United States
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to...describe what a copyright is and correctly identify what types of products it covers.

SWBAT explain how copyright applies to downloading, uploading, and P2P (peer2peer) file sharing.

SWBAT define and give examples of fair use.

SWBAT identify proper use of fair use.

SWBAT create new culture using fair use laws.

Social Studies
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

How many of you have downloaded music or games from the internet?  Allow students to respond, then ask the question "Is what you have down legal?" 

Visit AsktheJudge to see what Judge Tom says.


2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Presenting

Use the powerpoint available for download at http://www.cmsimpact.org/fair-use/related-materials/teaching-materials/f... on Fair Use in Online Videos.

Discuss as a class why copyright exist and what it means to the creators and the consumers. Share current news articles about piracy casses that have been prosecuted. Have students discuss the outcomes. Was it fair? Why or why not? What about the person who created the material? Re-state what copyright and piracy laws. 

Review powerpoint and associated videos with class. 


3 Guided Practice

Activity: Debating

Pre-select and show a variety of videos from YouTube that are and are not violations of copyright law. (start with obvious violations/non violations and build to "gray" area videos)

As a class or in small groups, have students decide if the material does or does not violate copyright.

Have students defend their decision, giving proof that it does or does not violate copyright. 

If students claim fair use, have them tell how fair use law applies to this video.

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Creating

Have students break into groups of 2-4.

Have students use existing culture to create new culture. Student can use art, music, movie, commericial, news, etc. for their basis. Students must apply one of the basic concepts of Fair Use to create new culture.

Examples: parody a song, take the soundtrack from little mermaid and put it over a video recording of the Halo video game (in a way that makes sense), combine to unrelated elements to create a new video (Buffy/Edward).

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Assessing

Have students share their new culture with the class and explain why they believe it meets the Fair Use rules.

Each student will individually and privately assess the new culture and decide of it violated copyright or not. If not, what fair use requirement does it meet.

Revisit the videos presented in the guided practice and re-do the excercise with further discussion about why opinions about copyright violation/non-violation have changed.