conversation about creative commons

Two 8th grade boys stopped by my office and asked how to import a YouTube video of a rotating Earth into their iMovie. I pretty much heard a record scratch in my head, stopped what I was doing, and engaged in a Just In Time conversation about fair use and licensing. I asked, “What video and for what purpose,” and they showed me some clip they found on YouTube posted by Rafidaq2.

At this point, I asked them if they knew Rafidaq2 or how Rafidaq2 gained access to the video. To their blank stares, I mentioned that NASA probably had tons of videos they were willing to share and brought up Creative Commons licensing. I also reminded the kids we had a subscription to Discovery Education with a vast repository of streaming videos available for our use.

We went to the Creative Commons website, and clicked on the “Find” link on the bottom left.


This took us to a search page which clearly states: 

Please note that is not a search engine, but rather offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations. CC has no control over the results that are returned. Do not assume that the results displayed in this search portal are under a CC license. You should always verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link. Since there is no registration to use a CC license, CC has no way to determine what has and hasn’t been placed under the terms of a CC license. If you are in doubt you should contact the copyright holder directly, or try to contact the site where you found the content.

We searched for video using the keywords “Earth rotate,” I was pretty psyched that the first result was from Hubblecast (through I linked to Hubblecast’s website,, full of information, images, and video about and from ESA/Hubble.

At the bottom of the page was a link to view the Image/Video Use Policy, and we went through their copyright information point by point.


I hope that by the end of this 10 minute experience, the kids understood that there is plenty of awesome, shared, free, open information out there straight from the source (!) so there is no need to pirate, borrow, steal and a quick copy/paste ensures proper source citations. Fingers crossed.

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