IB Art and Creative Commons

I had an interesting conversation with our IB Art teacher after school today. We were initially talking about Photoshop and the best way for her students to learn new techniques. Very quickly, however, the conversation turned towards copyright, fair use and creative commons.

We came up with some very interesting discussion points and I wonder what you think about any or all of them. (My thoughts are in parentheses.) I also wonder what the IBO and the examiners think on these matters:

  • If a student is creating digital artwork (in Photoshop for example), under what circumstances would you – as the Art teacher – allow him/her to use CC-licensed photos? (Personally, I would allow it. But it better be good!)
  • How does one attribute CC media when it is used to create a piece of art? (No clue!)
  • Is it a violation of copyright to use images from a magazine in student work? (Yes, definite violation.)
  • What if he/she is taking the images, cutting them into unrecognizable pieces and creating a mosaic with those images? (Less certain… does this make it transformative?)
  • What if he/she is only taking a small portion of the image so as to make it unrecognizable? (My feeling is this is a violation.)

I am certainly no expert on copyright, fair use or creative commons. But as Shepard Fairey and others before him have shown, not very many people can agree on boundaries of these terms. Do your boundaries as an artist and as a teacher of art differ?

Note: Just for fun we sat down and watched A Fair(y) Use Tale. I always enjoy watching that!