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NFHS Learning Center Launches Free Copyright and Compliance Course

By Cody Porter on April 24, 2018 nfhs news Print

Photo courtesy of South Dakota Public Broadcasting

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has added to its growing list of online education courses with the launch of “Understanding Copyright and Compliance,” a free course geared toward music teachers, spirit coaches and school administrators.

“Understanding Copyright and Compliance,” available through the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com, explores copyright laws and how those laws impact the interscholastic community. The course, which expands on topics such as fair use, public domain, copyright infringement penalties and much more, was produced with the assistance of NAfME (National Association for Music Education) and USA Cheer.

“Everybody wants to be compliant, but the problem is that copyright law is so complex that it’s hard to follow,” said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports. “What we did with this course was break it down so that it’s easy to understand, and provide a process that when copyrighted materials are used, they’re properly used in a manner that credits the creator of that content.”

Weaver added that in recent years state associations and its member schools have been met with copyright infringement claims. As a result, he said there was an awareness that schools, administrators and coaches are not equipped with enough knowledge regarding copyright.

“Whenever we deal with music education and copyrighted materials in the classroom, there’s always that false sense of believing that as a music educator you can use copyrighted material however you want, and that’s simply not true,” Weaver said. “With this course, we are showing them what they can do and what they need permission to do. It’s all black and white, and it’s all cited back to the copyright law.”

The release of “Understanding Copyright and Compliance” brings the total number of courses on the NFHS Learning Center to 55, joining “Introduction to Music Adjudication” and “Introduction to Interscholastic Music” in the music category. This much-anticipated course was released as the NFHS Learning Center closed in on delivering its six millionth online education course. This was the third consecutive year that the NFHS Learning Center delivered more than one million courses in a calendar year.

“NFHS Learn is pleased that people have seen the courses as a way to create awareness of a very important topic. We think that this is the best platform to educate the masses on copyright law,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “It is going to create awareness of copyright law and it is going to change how we look at music in our schools. You cannot just use copyrighted material. If there is copyrighted material, you must get the proper permissions to play it, perform it, sell it and stream it.”

In the wake of hitting six million courses delivered since the launch of the Learning Center in 2007, Schuster said he wants NFHS Learn to continue to directly impact students. As the courses become more diverse, it’s affording the administrators, coaches and officials the opportunity to learn about the issues that states are facing throughout the nation.

The Learning Center’s most popular course is “Concussion in Sports” – one of many courses, including “Understanding Copyright and Compliance,” that are valuable to nearly all members of the interscholastic community. Schuster noted that information found on those courses should be considered “pertinent, relevant and valuable” due to their daily influence on students.

“The future is to continue to confront issues that our state associations are seeing from member schools. This copyright and compliance course, much like the concussion course, is a great example,” Schuster said. “We got out ahead of an issue with “Concussion in Sports,” created the education, and it quickly met the needs of our state associations. We need information on concussions and we needed to educate people on the signs and symptoms. We’re able to do that effectively and efficiently to many people. We now have this copyright and compliance issue that our schools are facing, and we’ve created this piece that’s going to make sure they’re aware of it. It will protect them. We must be able to adapt to the changing environments of our schools.”