Harry Potter amd Google searches

A Google search on almost any topic leads to links with visual materials — photos, video, graphics.

Can I download and use those materials? That’s a good discussion to have with your students. Because a photo or video can be downloaded doesn’t mean that it is legal to do so. But many students think that if it’s possible to download a file, that means that it’s OK to do so — perhaps giving a credit like “Courtesy of Warner Bros.,” when, in fact, Warner Bros. hasn’t granted consent.

A useful activity would be to have students do a Google search on a topic and then to examine the Web sites they visit to determine what use policies exist. For example, a Google search of Harry Potter leads to the official Warner Bros. site with movie trailers and photos. In the small print at the bottom of some of the site pages is a link to the Terms of Use.

Have the class read those terms to the group and then discuss what those terms mean. Could a photo be downloaded to use as the computer wallpaper? Could a photo be downloaded and used in a high school or college newspaper to be included in a review about “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”?

One place to go for online advice for appropriate use of Internet images is the Student Press Law Center — splc.org

This activity can help students realize some of the legal factors involved in use of materials posted on the Internet. Whereas, most students understand that taking what is written on the Internet and using as their own is considered plagiarism, fewer understand what is appropriate use of images (videos, photos, graphics) from the Internet.

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