Digital Law

Digital law is a hugely significant aspect of digital citizenship. There are laws which apply to the digital world, particularly in relation to copyright and illegal downloading.

On the topic of copyright, it is essential students (and teachers) know what is allowed and what is not. One thing all teachers hate is the dreaded copy and paste assignment. A great place to learn about these rules, which can be very complicated is Creative Commons Australia. It is highly accessible, with printable, straightforward fact sheets for students and teachers.

Of course, you’ll inevitably have to explain why copyright is important.The above image sums up the main reasons nicely. Of course, you can always liken a breach of copyright to theft, and most students would object to having something of theirs stolen. Same same.

In terms of illegal downloading, there are some realities we as educators will have a much harder time overcoming. It has been so easy for so long to download a movie or entire discography that few stop to question what they are doing, or more importantly, why. While we should tell students about the consequences of illegal downloading, it may be more useful to direct them to places where they can acquire or stream media (such as iTunes and Netflix) legally.

Do you find students disregard digital law? Have recent events like Pirate Bay’s closure made them reconsider illegal downloading? Or have your students embraced Netflix and other services, and have no problem with paying for their entertainment?

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