Copyright: The card game – U.S. version

When I first heard about Chris Morrison and Jane Secker’s Copyright the Card Game, I thought it was an awesome idea, and wondered how I might be able to make use of it. I soon noticed a major problem in that the game is based on UK law, and I’m in the US. So I asked if anyone was working on a US version and Chris said, “Not that I know of. Want to have ago at it?”

I have a draft prototype of the cards (PDF). They still need work to give a more complete understanding of the exemptions, in particular the TEACH Act. I have used these in a faculty workshop, which was so successful that I have been invited to do an expanded encore.

The cards are licensed under Creative Commons, so anyone can use or adapt them as long as credit is given. They were produced with MS Publisher so that they can be modified with relative ease. Here are links to the editable PUB files and print-ready PDF files:

Copyright cards (PUB)
Copyright cards (PDF)

Scenario cards (PUB)
Scenario cards (PDF)


Jennifer Heise created several K-12 scenario cards for a copyright discussion with pre-service teachers, and generously shared them for the benefit of all:

K-12 scenario cards (PUB)
K-12 scenario cards (PDF)

Workshop presentation

I have been presenting this game as a workshop of 45-60 minutes. More time is preferable, as it would allow for a more detailed discussion of works, rights, and fair use, but it can be managed in an hour.

I start by giving my background with copyright, use the monkey selfie story as an icebreaker, and then ask the audience if they have any particular questions or concerns about copyright. I write these down and address them at appropriate points in the presentation.

I briefly cover the Copyright Clause and the purpose of copyright. Then I run through the suits of cards, covering the types of works covered under copyright, the rights protected by copyright, fair use and other exceptions, and licenses and terms of service as they relate to copyright. I also promote Creative Commons as a way of avoiding copyright issues, noting that the cards and the Noun Project icons used on them are CC licensed.

Then I go on to copyright scenarios. I do the first one with the entire group in order to model the play. We talk about which cards apply to the scenario, and then use Risk cards to evaluate how risky the scenario is. I originally customized this first scenario for the institution where I worked at the time, so it references an undergraduate research exhibition by its local nickname.

Then I have the audience work in small groups with their own decks of cards. I give each group one or two scenario cards and have them discuss the examples among themselves. The workshop finishes with groups sharing the results of their discussions.

There is a great deal of flexibility built into this workshop. With more time, one could bring specific examples of works or rights into the discussion. If time is limited, one could focus on fair use and leave out the exceptions cards, or vice versa. A few cards for the TEACH Act are in the works. They could be used, or pulled from the deck if they don’t apply to a particular audience.

The scenarios I used were adapted from the original game and from one of Ana Enriquez’ copyright presentations. These could be customized for the audience as well.