Middle School Curriculum

The following lessons and videos are designed to help you teach essential digital citizenship concepts of copyright and creativity, and to get students thinking and talking about how these concepts relate to their own online activities as both consumers and creators of creative work. The lessons have been scripted in detail to help presenters feel confident as they communicate copyright concepts, including fair use and other copyright limits.

Here is a video introduction to the curriculum with longtime Internet policy expert Jerry Berman:

LESSON 1—Creativity in the Online World: Our Roles as Creators and Consumers

Lesson 1 covers our roles as consumers and creators and the basic protections of copyright. It also provides a high level view of copyright’s limitations—the things it doesn’t cover, like facts and ideas, fair uses, and works in the public

LESSON 2—Acquiring Content Legally and Ethically

Lesson 2 shows students what to do when they want new music, movies, images, even software. Students learn how to do this in ways that are legal and ethical and how to recognize the good players who provide content legally vs. those who encourage illegal filesharing.

LESSON 3—Sharing Content—How Much is OK?

When we find new music or movies that we love, our natural inclination might be to share those with our friends. That’s a good thing, and good citizens know how to do it! Lesson 3 teaches how to draw the line between sharing that is legal and ethical and sharing that violates copyright law.

LESSON 4—Creating New Content Using Others’ Work

In our role as creators, we often want to use others’ creative work in our own work. For example: Maybe we want to make a collage of images or a movie mashup. Lesson 4 teaches about fair use, which allows us to use copyright protected work in certain situations without permission, and also shows us where to find creative works that we are free to use with little or no restrictions.