Is the Law Strangling Our Children’s Creativity?

There is a video here with Larry Lessig discussing creative freedom and children today using culture to express themselves.  In a world today where you can’t try to use most things from culture without running into copyright issues it is hard to use what you’ve grown up around in a expressive piece. Mr. Lessig made a point that the technology to edit pieces has been around for 50 years, but a child with a $1500 computer can accomplish the same task.  If you have ever done a search for a music video on the internet you may have come across the song you wanted to listen to, but incorporated in a different visual presentation, like anime or cartoons.  This is a remix and it is the creator’s vision on what they want to create with the song.  They are not trying to market and distribute this song to millions of people for a profit.  Their only goal is to make a video they are satisfied with and proud of showing it to the world.  The day the world turns into robots and can no longer express ourselves is the day the world dies.

That is something we do not want to see happen to our students.  That is why we encourage them to be as creative as possible in all of their work.  Creativity leads to discovery that leads to change for the future to solve the problems in the future.


4 Responses to “Is the Law Strangling Our Children’s Creativity?”

  1. I see what you’re saying, I’m just not sure how exactly I feel about the issue. I think that students ‘borrowing’ from other sources can be harmless, or it can be a slippery slope to other forms of infringement. However, do your really think that it is that limiting to use copyright free or original music?

  2. Well, where would you obtain copyright free music from? The example I can think of would midis, but they are not of a high quality. As for original music, I certain welcome the idea of students creating their own music to use in an assignment, but how many actually do?

  3. There are quite a few sites that have music available under the Creative Commons license, which allows one to use the music for non-commercial purposes. A great starting point is and the search engine at the top of their home page.

    Other sites my students use include: (scroll to the bottom of the page for info on using the music for student projects)

    Then there are the “raps” they create themselves, for Math, Social Studies, Science and even English. Recording the raps for uploading to TeacherTube gives the kids an authentic purpose and audience, and I’m always surprised at how much effort they put into the production.

    Of course we always run into the problem of sites being blocked from school, but I’ve found that if I give the Tech Dept a copy of my lesson plan well in advance, and ask that specific sites be unblocked on specific days, they usually are happy to help me. (*usually* being the operative word here!)

  4. Wow, I never knew about any of this stuff. Using this music will not have you worried about the RIAA suing you for all you’re worth. Thanks!

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