I found much of the information discussed by Dr. Kenneth Crews during the morning session of the symposium to be quite informative and applicable to daily life, more so than I had expected. I was also surprised by the complexity of copyright issues; how much protection should be granted an original work, what constitutes fair use, the transfer of copyright to museums, buyers, etc. I also had no idea that so many items, such as personal photos and notes, could be eligible for copyright, or that copyright is granted instantly to any original work of authorship, and lasts well beyond the extent of the creator’s lifetime. The symposium made it very clear that copyright was a sticky, often indefinite subject. As Dr. Crews said again and again during the lecture, “it depends” on circumstance what constitutes copyright infringement, and sometimes a conclusive decision is extremely difficult to reach.
Many of the the subtopics Dr. Crews discussed were especially applicable to academia and the use of copyrighted information for learning purposes. I found it interesting that in issues of copyright infringement, Courts were more likely to protect more creative works such as poetry as opposed to more fact-based works such as textbooks, as facts and hard data are not protected by copyright laws. As I have had many teachers and professors draw from outside sources for educational purposes in high school and college, I am now curious as to how many of these instances may have actually constituted copyright infringement. I was glad that Dr. Crews also drew from a variety of recent court cases, some of which he had personally been involved in, to illustrate some of the copyright infringement concepts discussed. Perhaps my biggest take away from Dr. Crews’ lecture was that we often are unaware of whether or not our use of sources is actually a violation of copyright laws. Because of this, having a better understanding and knowledge of copyright issues is a very useful life skill, especially in an academic environment such as St. Mary’s.
I think I will find much of what Dr. Crews discussed applicable to the work I do as a college student, both in academic and artistic forums. While I think I’ve done a good job of including citations in papers and other major assignments in the past, for small assignments in which citations are not necessary, this is not the case. I think Dr. Crews’ talk has convinced me to be more cognizant of citing the sources I use, even for minor assignments. Remaining aware of my use of sources in artistic works, especially in cases where I may draw from reference photos or works by established artists, is also an issue in my work as a college student that Dr. Crew’s discussion of copyright shed light on. Dr. Crew’s ending point, that we should try to be responsible and reasonable in our use and citation of copyrighted sources, is one I hope I can now more adequately abide by.