All Rights Reserved! ― Students Learn the Ins and Outs of Copyright
by Liz Windisch
At Linder Elementary, a group of twelve sixth graders in one of ABC’s many writing workshops covered the ins and outs of copyright this past week. Their volunteer instructor, Jerri, has been working on ekphrastic poems with them ― poems inspired by art. Magical artworks depicting luminescent roses and sparkling mushrooms, as well as simple black and white stills brought forth amazing poems written by these creative young minds! To publish the poems alongside the artwork, the artists’ permission will be needed ― and Jerri decided to seize the opportunity to teach her students something new.
To begin, Jerri passed around a book so her students could see the copyright symbol in the first few pages. She asked how an author might feel if she is not given credit for her work. “They would feel sad, mad, and disrespected!” her students responded.
As they scattered to their seats, they were given instructions for their next task: writing a letter to the artist to ask for their permission. “My name is ___and I am a student at Linder Elementary School….” the letters began. The students complimented the author’s work, described the poem they wrote, and politely asked for permission to use the artwork. On some occasions, an artist was deceased, as in the case of one student who discovered that her artist, Salvador Dali, is no longer with us. In this case, the students wrote “to whomever it may concern” instead.
Some of the letters were long and others were short and sweet. Whether it is the artist who receives the letter or his/her foundation, the readers of these letters will certainly be charmed by the students’ requests!