Debating the Philosophy Behind Copyright and Fair Use (CTE)


Students will analyze the current state of copyright/fair use and engage in a debate regarding whether or these laws are too strict or do not go far enough to protect intellectual property.


We have already studied copyright and fair use laws, how to effectively search for content and how to ask for permission. After viewing several examples and analyzing the information some people think, "Wow, these rules are far too strict. People shouldn't be able to have this much power to claim content as their own!" Others may say, "It seems like anybody can just steal someone else's ideas, change them a little and make a profit off of them!" Perhaps they are both right! Or maybe not! Here is where students get the opportunity to debate the very basis or philosophy behind having copyright and fair use laws!

Note: This lesson is a component of the Video Production section of the project: Intellectual Property: Copyright or Copywrong?

Video Production Lessons:

Lesson 1: Understanding Copyright and Fair Use Laws

Lesson 2: Getting Permission: The Proper Method of Procuring Outside Images, Music and Video

Lesson 3: Debating the Philosophy Behind Copyright and Fair Use

Lesson 4: Copyright Mash-Up: Shooting and Gathering Video Footage that Displays both the Proper and "gray area" use of Copyright/Fair Use Laws

Lesson Times

Grouping and Research (50-60 minutes or assign for homework)
1 Class Period
Debate (50-60 minutes)
1 Class Period

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment Arts, Media, and Entertainment
  • Information and Communication Technologies Information and Communication Technologies
K-12 Subjects
  • English-Language Arts
Grade Levels
  • 7
  • 11

Standards and Objectives


California English Common Core Standards (3)
California's 2013 CTE Standards (1)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • Students will analyze the different perspectives on the need for current copyright and fair use laws
  • Students will formulate and defend their opinion on whether or not copyright and fair use laws are adequate/need strengthening or should be weakened/abolished

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