I was reading “Brain of the Blogger” and while I enjoyed the article immensely, a thought occurred to me: blogging could potentially be a way to reach out to reluctant readers, especially with a classroom blog or library blog. Here is what I am wondering, would it be possible to set up a “What we’re reading now” blog for a classroom or library and include sections of text from books? Would something like that fall under the “Fair Use” category?
Section 107 of the copyright law states four factors for consideration if something is fair. I would think that a blog intended for a classroom or a grade in a library would be considered “Fair use” according to numbers 1, 3, and 4.
1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
Say a teacher or librarian used the blog to post the first 10 pages of a novel to “hook” students (especially reluctant readers), wouldn’t number 1 apply? I would think so. Especially considering the length of the section (number 2). It is not reasonable to post half of a work but say the first 10 pages or maybe even the first chapter of a very long novel could be considered fair. And finally, posting a section of the book wouldn’t have any negative effect on the market or value of a book. If anything, getting more students interested in reading said book would only increase the book’s market value, i.e. increase in students checking out said book from library and purchasing the book.
This is something I would want to look into further, obviously, before actually posting sections of a book online. However, I think a blog like this would have a great impact especially on students who are not “into reading” or only read every now and then. Knowing one’s students and the kinds of books they like can be a powerful tool. Plus, students would have the added bonus of being able to research books (and read some of them!) in the comfort of their own home. They would also be exposed to many different types of books, perhaps learning how to branch out to different genres and authors.
An overall positive thing? Absolutely.