The innovative Brooklyn Law School Incubator & Policy (BLIP) clinic, which provides legal support to technology start-ups, has developed a groundbreaking curriculum called CREATE (Creative Rights Empowerment Through Education). CREATE is a copyright education curriculum for New York City high school students that will empower them to participate in online-culture effectively and legally. The curriculum was developed by Charles Ernest Stanley ’13 alongside fellow BLIP students, and funded by a fellowship award from the New York State Bar Foundation.
CREATE responds to a need that has arisen from a new generation of young people with immediate access to the Internet and advanced digital technology. This generation has easy access to the creative work of others and the ability to invent collaborative works like remixes and mashups. CREATE’s goal is to lessen the fear that youngsters might have about copyright infringement by providing them with a proper understanding of their creative rights. CREATE will enable a younger generation to produce art with modern digital tools without running afoul of increasingly complex copyright law.
The curriculum provides a functional understanding of the basics of copyright law in the context of the Information Age. The lessons teach the basics of copyright law, the intricacies of the fair use defense and the public domain, as well as offers students an overview of several licensing schemes. CREATE will enable law students to provide an interactive lesson plan and train high school art teachers to best teach their students about how they can use copyrighted material and other preexisting material in their own artwork without breaking copyright laws.
CREATE will help students not only avoid infringement but develop skills and perspectives that support creative analysis, reflection, and research. The project’s initial focus is on teaching copyright to arts-focused high schools, but aims to include other schools as well. “Transformative art has been essential to the development of the rich culture that we have today,” said Stanley. “Unfortunately confusion and fear over copyright laws is quickly eroding the ability of artists to explore their creativity. I look forward to developing a curriculum that empowers teachers and students to explore their creative impulses without fear of industry reprisal."
“Copyright doesn’t mean that you can’t use other people’s material. Every artist relies on the genius that preceded it,” said BLIP’s Founding Director, Professor Jonathan Askin. “There’s a fear among teachers and students that if they use anyone else’s material they are somehow violating copyright. Transformative art, mash-ups, and remixes mean that you should be allowed to use other people’s material but in transformative, novel ways. That’s the lesson we are hoping to instill in the next generation of artists.”