Overly strict copyright laws are detrimental to creativity. Clearly it is important to prohibit people from claiming to be the originator of a material in which they did not create, and accepting money for it would be even more reprehensible. However if the material is used as an inspiration or is altered in such a way that is dissimilar to the original, I do not see any problem with someone putting their name alongside the originator’s. Though they might have used someone else's work, the idea to do so, as well as all of the alterations made, are original. It would be a disservice to the person who modified it if they were forced to give most or all of the credit to the originator because their work was only a building block that would be transformed into something new.
One could argue that much of the work created today is not entirely original. We are inspired by the world around us every day. We take are inspired by others, even if we are not aware of it. For example, on multiple occasions, musicians have been accused of copying a song in such a way that violates copyright laws but they did not recognize that they were doing so (Goodman). All that to say that stricter copyright laws would cause people to hold back their creativity because they are afraid of the repercussions that would come along with accidentally making something that is too similar to another work.
Another large issue with overly strict copyright laws is that it is hard to regulate. Companies have tried using software to help cut down on the number of infringements but it was ultimately unsuccessful. “Provisions were dubbed ‘censorship machines,’ due to concerns that the software would regularly block legitimate content” (Geist). This was a big problem for those who work in the social media industry because having their content wrongfully blocked was affecting the amount of views they obtained. Being that the amount of views is a component that goes into an algorithm that determines how much they get paid, flaws in this software were hurting legitimate creators rather than those who were unlawfully releasing content.
Unfortunately, if laws regarding copyright were made to be more firm, school would also be affected. Teachers would have to be even more conscientious of instructional materials and their boundaries. Educational videos would have to tighten up and eliminate the unlawful use of copyrighted songs that are used to help students remember the material.
As for the concern of creative commons, it would be harsh to restrict the power of the originator for the sake of others who would like to build off of their work. However, in a perfect world, originators would be willing to let others put their own spin on it. On the other hand, the doctrine of fair use closely aligns with my take on the copyright debate. It is good to have resources that are free and do not require permission from the copyright holder, especially in a school setting. Though there are still restrictions as to how the work can be used, it can be used without having to go through as many steps as the creative commons.
Geist, Michael. “Reforming Copyright? Don't Mess with Free Speech or Net Neutrality.” Globe and Mail, 17 July 2018. Sirsissuesresearcher,
explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2266254528?accountid=3676. Accessed 17 Jan. 2020.
Goodman, Fred. "Creative Reality Versus Copyright Law." Los Angeles Times, 16 Jun 2016. Sirsissuesresearcher,
explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2266156613?accountid=3676. Accessed 17 Jan. 2020
Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors
The term “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” refers to literature that helps us to knock down barriers that have been put up due to diversity. Each aspect of the term is symbolic of the ways that we can overcome diversity. The mirrors refer to literature that helps us to reflect on our own lives. We are able to analyze the presented literature and compare it to our individual experiences. The windows refer to the ability to see into someone else’s life. We can witness what other people experience. The sliding glass doors refer to the ability to step into someone else’s life. We are able to experience what another person is experiencing.
In being aware of Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors in literature, we are able to understand the lives of others. I think we will find that everyone has something in common with someone else. While we have our differences, we can all see at least a small portion of ourselves in someone else. This type of literature is needed in society because we are all very quick to judge other people (sometimes falsely). Over time, this will hopefully eliminate some tension.
Recent Movements Towards Diversification in Literature
The We Need Diverse Books movement is important because it urges people to look at the literature around them. They might notice the underrepresentation of some groups of people. When I was growing up, it was hard to find movies, plays, and television shows for kids with people of color playing big roles. People of color were even harder to find in fantasy picture books. It is good to see that the next generation will be able to see themselves represented beginning at a young age.
The #OwnVoices movement was focused on letting minorities tell their own story. While it is forward-looking just to have diversity in literature, it is important that experiences come directly from the minority that the story is about. I am impacted by this movement because there is a growing amount of diversity in literature today, however, the experiences can be discredited due to a lack of knowledge. If the writer has not lived a life of a minority, their understanding as someone looking in will not be the same as that minority’s understanding.
The Reading Woke Movement encouraged students to look into other people’s lives. This was an effective way to allow kids to be exposed to diversity from a young age. Resources were provided for the students to eliminate the issue of inaccessibility to books. This movement is important in my life because it tears down the preconceived notions we gain in childhood and carry with us throughout adulthood. Kids will learn that diversity is not a bad thing. Therefore, less conflict arises later on because there were no prejudices learned as a child.
Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors in Picture Books
Alexie, Sherman, and Yuyi Morales. Thunder Boy Jr. Little, Brown, 2016.
Blog, Guest. “30 Days of Social Justice: Why the #OwnVoices Movement Is Crucial for Young Readers.” YALSA Blog, Young Adult Library Services
Association, 19 Dec. 2016, http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2016/12/19/30-days-of-social-justice-why-the-ownvoices-movement-is-crucial-for-young
Copeland, Misty, and Christopher Myers. Firebird. Putnam, 2014.
Krull, Kathleen, and David Diaz. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the Worlds Fastest Woman. Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1996.
Mignardi, Donna, and Jennifer Sturge. “Reading Woke: Creating a Diverse Books Program for Students.” Programming Librarian, American Library
Association, 31 Oct. 2019, http://programminglibrarian.org/blog/reading-woke-creating-diverse-books-program-students.
Reading Rockets. “Mirrors, windows and sliding doors.” YouTube, 30 Jan. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AAu58SNSyc
“Why We Need Diverse Books.” Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Defamation League, 2019, https://www.adl.org/education/resources/tools-and
While some might agree with the idea of restricting access to certain books, I believe that it not only violates the reader’s fundamental human right to learn, but it also violates the first amendment right of the author. We as readers should be allowed to gain knowledge at our own will. As for the author, they have the right to freedom of speech in the United States. When their writing is suddenly not accessible to their audience, it is the same as telling the author that they are not allowed to speak about certain topics, thus contradicting the first amendment.
The banning of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was brought to light when headlines showed that a Texan school district violated policies regarding the process of banning a book and proceeded to remove it from the shelves. The “Top Ten Most Challenged Books Lists” alleges that The Hate U Give was generally withdrawn because “it was deemed ‘anti-cop,’ and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references”. However, in the case of the Katy Independent School District in Texas, Lance Hindt, the District Supervisor says that the book was to be reassessed due to its “pervasive vulgarity and racially-insensitive language…not its substantive content or the viewpoint expressed” (Gomez, 2018).
Regardless of the justifications, such limitations can stifle one’s understanding of the world, especially that of an impressionable child. Jamison states that The Hate U Give “acclimates children to a much larger social issue” (2017). Whether or not the reader agrees with Angie Thomas’ view on the severity of this social issue, it is crucial that people are given as many resources as possible to be able to formulate their own ideas and opinions. After reading The Hate U Give, one person might find that they have a direct and personal connection to the book, while a different person might find that Angie Thomas’ major themes are a dramatized and distorted account of reality. It is not important that everyone agrees with or is changed by the book. What is important, is that everyone has the freedom to read it and form their own opinion based off of what they read.
As for the issue of language, “you will find that instances of profanity in teen books have become widespread and socially tolerated, as the language and content of these books often mirror real-world behaviors” (Jamison 2017). People often times learn about diction in their English classes but, outside of the classroom setting, it is rare that they are on the lookout for it. Thomas is very deliberate with her words. In the instances where she uses mature language, it is because she wants to evoke a feeling in the reader. This can include slang terms and vernacular to show more about the character or it can be used to emphasize a point, which many people do every day. Each word serves a purpose.
There will always be people who want to ban books for an array of reasons. It is the job of libraries and librarians to do everything in their power to protect readers’ right to read. The American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read Statement” says, “we trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe...we believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression” (2006). It is better to run the risk of having a few misled people rather than to risk an abundance of people being stripped of their rights. “Whether or not a single district or a group of parents agree with it, everyone’s right to choose should never be revoked” (Jamison 2017).
Cartwright, Debra. “The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.” The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, 18 Dec. 2017, https://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=11958. (Accessed September 26, 2019)
“The Freedom to Read Statement.” American Library Association, 26 July 2006, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/freedomreadstatement. (Accessed September 26, 2019)
Gomez, Betsy. “Banned Spotlight: The Hate U Give.” Banned Books Week, 6 Sept. 2018,
https://bannedbooksweek.org/banned-spotlight-the-hate-u-give/. (Accessed September 26, 2019)
Jamison, Andrea. “The Hate She Received: Why the Banning of Angie Thomas' Book Was an Insult to the Black Lives Matter Movement.” Intellectual
Freedom Blog, 18 Dec. 2017, https://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=11958. (Accessed September 26, 2019)
“Top Ten Most Challenged Books Lists.” American Library Association, 30 July 2019,
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10#2018. (Accessed September 26, 2019)
I am a junior at Durham School of the Arts and I thoroughly enjoy writing. This blog entails the knowledge I have gained in being a Library Media Center Assistant.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Durham School of the Arts or Durham Public Schools.