Every now and again, I stumble across a school website, blog and sometimes a published document, that contains part or all of my PDF ebooks. Usually, Neil writes the webmaster or blog owner a nice email and asks if the product can be removed from their public space. And most always, the person complies. Sometimes we get a sincere apology and things are well again but most often we get that yucky feeling that we tattled on someone and made them feel stupid or even worse, caught.

I don’t like enforcing my copyright wishes. It takes away from the positive energy I need to teach children and create a blog worth visiting. But, it’s a fact of blogging life and I have to deal with it.

Having said that, I’m not a wallow-in-the-mud type of gal. I’m an action girl so I think it best to help people comply with my copyright wishes by creating a bullet list of the most common problems I see.  Hopefully, this will help not only me, but the other art bloggers and entrepreneurs out there who experience the same problems.

Before I get started, I want everyone to know that my number one goal for DSS has always been to share art resources. It has from day one and this mission hasn’t changed one bit. The sale of my ebooks feed the endless resources and free art lessons that I make available to everyone.

The Most Common Copyright Violations in order of Not-So-Bad to Really Bad:

  • Seeing art lessons recreated on other blogs without a link or even a mention about who or what inspired the lesson. This is the most common problem and the most contentious. I worry about this problem the least because when I see my art lessons recreated, I know that children all over the world are experiencing some fun art. Some art bloggers can argue (and correctly) that art lessons can’t be narrowed down to a single original source. In most cases, they are right. But in my case, I come up with some pretty unique lessons so I know the ones that are created by me. The solution? Just take a few minutes to acknowledge that the lesson was inspired by DSS or whomever. It goes a long way in making someone feel good and willing to put more lessons out there.
  • My PDF Art Lesson Plans (the paid ones) are dissected and placed in published documents. Don’t ask how I find these because I’m always surprised when I do. I know those who make these mistakes are not doing so with bad intentions but still, it’s not fair when part of my lessons are given out for free when others have to pay. The Solution? Generally, copying any part of my ebooks into another published document is against my copyright rules. You could however, write to me and ask permission to include a part of a lesson in a document you are creating for school, etc. It really depends how much you can take without it becoming a problem. Sometimes, the nicest thing is to just reference DSS or provide a link to my art lesson.
  • My PDF Art Lesson Plans (again, the paid for ones, not the free ones) are made available on School and District websites for other art teachers in their school districts to use. There is nothing to say about this other than you can’t do this. My ebooks are meant for single use and although I know teachers might share, obvious abuse just makes me scratch my head and wonder what these art teachers are thinking. The Solution: My Teachers Pay Teachers store provides the opportunity to buy multiple licences of my PDF at half the price. I think this is a terrific solution. The new DSS will also offer this service in the near future. This way, school districts, PTA boards and other organizations have a system in place to do the right thing.

What CAN you do with DSS Art Lessons?

Please don’t feel like anyone is being scolded. Sometimes it’s the fault of the business owner for not providing adequate solutions to fend off copyright abuse. There are many solutions to these problems and Neil and I are working on them. Meanwhile, what can you do with my art lessons?

  • Recreate all my lessons (free or paid, PDF or e-Course) with your students. If you post on a blog, published PDF, etc. just cite my website. That’s it. Easy!
  • If you bought a PDF, you can publish the results of your student’s efforts on your blog, but don’t include handouts or any of my instructions/text/dialogue. Like your English teacher used to say, use your own words.
  • You can use my photos from my blog, but you should ask first. Most of the time, you only have to ask once.
  • You can make a powerpoint or video of your interpretation of my lesson (but you can’t use my photos, handouts or text)
  • You can tell your colleagues about my PDF’s so they can choose their own and perhaps you can share. One or two teachers sharing is absolutely fine. A dozen teachers? You know the answer.
  • Use my art lessons or special technique to create your own lesson…no attributions necessary. I’m inspired all the time by a subject, technique or artists and I create my own lessons based on these things. If the inspiration directly comes from a source, I try to always site it. I say “try” because in my early years of blogging, I didn’t always know to do this.
  • If you are a studio owner or teach classes to children for profit, you can still use my lesson plans (free and paid). You just can’t repackage them and sell them.

Does this help? Remember, if you are ever in doubt about copyright violation, write to me or the person who owns the blog. In this growing industry of free resources, you have to remember that someone made the first effort to create something worth sharing. If you want them to continue to share, just ask when in doubt.

If you are wondering how to link back, check out this post


About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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