Cross-posted from The Impetuous Geek

By Alix E. Peshette

Technology has expanded many of the traditional ideas of how students can show evidence of learning. So, it’s no surprise that many students elect to create multimedia presentations. Images, video, narration and sound tracks are combined to produce an engaging product. Naturally enough, students often share these creations online.
Stop the music! The minute the multimedia leaves the classroom and is published on the web, ownership and copyright issues arise. Where did those images, video clips and sound tracks come from? Are they copyrighted?

What about Copyright?
Take sound tracks; inevitably, students want to incorporate music clips from their favorite artists into their projects. While a lot of music is now available under Creative Commons license, often what’s hot is not. So, how can students find music they like and use it legally?

To borrow from the Creative Commons tag line, “share, remix, reuse.” Remixing has become a huge movement in creating online content. Social networking has spawned sites where music loops are shared, remixed and shared again. The Center for Social Media makes the case for remix and reuse of copyright-protected media in their publication “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video.”

“Mashups, remixes, subs, and online parodies are new and refreshing online phenomena, but they partake of an ancient tradition: the recycling of old culture to make new. In spite of our romantic cliches about the anguished lone creator, the entire history of cultural production from Aeschylus through Shakespeare to Clueless has shown that all creators stand, as Isaac Newton (and so many others) put it, “on the shoulders of giants.”

Remixing music is often based on music loops – audio tracks that are composed to allow seamless looping or repeating. Music loops can provide ambient music, rousing introductions or dramatic finales to podcasts, videos and other multimedia presentations.

Loops in the Classroom
Teachers and students can find great, innovative collections of loops on many remix sites. Obviously one wants to avoid vocal loops that may contain inappropriate words and phrases. Some sites cater solely to non-vocal loops, such as the Freesound Project; a database of sounds, not songs, licensed for use under Creative Commons. Loops are free to be remixed and reused with an attribution to the artist. The Freesound project makes this easy by automatically compiling a citation list as one downloads various loops.

For younger students, loops can be used in their original form in multimedia projects. Older students are more than ready to learn how to edit sounds and combine tracks to compose new creations using a variety of free software such as Audacity, Garage Band and even online editing sites such as Jamglue. Be aware that most online sites have some mature content available.

So, explore some of the sites below to hear copyright-free resources that are available and waiting for a twist of remix and reuse.


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Tags: Audactiy, Creative_Commons, Garage_Band, audio, audio_editing, copyright, loops, multimedia, music, student_tools, More…teacher_tools

Comment by Karen Fasimpaur on September 8, 2008 at 6:11pm
Hi, Alix. Glad to see you posting about this important topic. If you haven't seen it, here is our site on the use of open resources in k-12 education: We've also started a new open dictionary that has a various options to output custom glossaries, including one as a PowerPoint. I'll be doing a workshop in the Bay area next month to use this with open-licensed images to create quick, easy multimedia vocabulary presentations.
Comment by Alix E. Peshette on September 8, 2008 at 7:03pm
Hi Karen,
Thanks for the reminder about the wonderful resources on your site. I saw your presentation at CUE and learned a lot!



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