It seems odd that students in Gr. 4 or 5 need to know about copyright laws, but since we’ve begun blogging (see the student blogs here), it became an important topic.
Can you just copy/paste “facts” from Wikipedia? No, not without linking back to the page where the ideas exist, and even then only in moderation.
Should you place just any picture you like on your blog? No, not without making sure the picture has been licensed for anyone to use, and you’ve provided a link back to the owner of that image.
The same applies to text, pictures, video, etc.
Without getting into a Computer Help Desk format, I would like to suggest a few websites where students can easily fulfill the letter of the law. It will require making a couple of bookmarks.
First, I reccommend students and parents visit http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ . Flickr is one of the largest photo-hosting websites, and Flickr/CreativeCommons is where pictures which are available for free non-commercial use are hosted. There are millions and millions of pictures to search amongst. I recommend this site is bookmarked for future use, so students can easily get back to it.
Second, there is a great little bookmarklet here, called ImageCodr, which you add to your bookmark bar. When a student has found a creative commons image on Flickr, a single click on this bookmarklet and code is instantly created in a box. Students click in the box, select all the code and return to their new post on kidblog.org. Normally you write in what is called “Visual” mode, but students can also select HTML mode, where they can paste the HTML code they just copied. When that is viewed, the picture will appear on the child’s blog with a link to the owner of the image, and the creative commons logo, all neatly compiled for the student’s use on their blog.
Here’s an example of a picture with the proper attribution.