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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

« The Induce Act - the View From Across the Pond | Main | Copyright Terms Must Have Limits »

September 23, 2004

Permission Culture v. Education

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Posted by

I find it extremely sad that educators are forced to "plea bargain" with copyright holders over how students can use the Internet to learn. This CBC piece on the battle in Canada over proposed changes to Canada's Copyright Act shows just how the desperate the situation has become. It lays out The Rules for what we in the US might call "fair use" for educational purposes -- rules that strike me as profoundly anti-education:


[Students and teachers could use] online material, but [there are] limits:

  • It only applies to students in a program under the authority of an educational institution.
  • Students and teachers would have to cite the source of the web materials used.
  • It excludes online content that has limited access, such as those requiring a password.
  • Institutions would still have to pay for CD-ROMS, licensed software and web courses.


That's right, kids. No unauthorized learning allowed in this precinct. You're not registered to learn at an accredited school, you ain't gonna learn. Keep it on the straight and narrow. And please, guys, document every step you take, and have your parole officer -- I mean, your authorized teacher -- sign at the bottom.

The sad thing is, these are the rules that the educators themselves proposed, in a desperate attempt to carve out some way for students to learn without having access to knowledge metered and sold in chunks, to the highest bidder (or more accurately, wealthiest school district). [Note: it turns out the situation is even more complicated than it appears; see Michael Geist's recent column for details.)

One of the most extraordinary things about the Internet is that it helps bring more people more tools for education more cheaply than ever before. It's just astounding to me that our culture is so concerned with putting the wine back in the bottle that we would rob our own children of access to true -- that is, unfettered, self-guided -- learning.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. Seth Finkelstein on September 23, 2004 4:53 PM writes...

Hmm ... it seems to me I've seen something that looks very similar, structurally, to The Rules:

1201(g)

o (3) Factors in determining exemption. - In determining whether a person qualifies for the exemption under paragraph (2), the factors to be considered shall include -


+ (A) whether the information derived from the encryption research was
disseminated, and if so, whether it was disseminated in a manner reasonably calculated to advance the state of knowledge or development of encryption technology, versus whether it was disseminated in a manner that facilitates infringement under this title or a violation of applicable law other than this section, including a violation of privacy or breach of security;

+ (B) whether the person is engaged in a legitimate course of study, is employed, or is appropriately trained or experienced, in the field of encryption technology; and

(C) whether the person provides the copyright owner of the work to which the technological measure is applied with notice of the findings and documentation of the research, and the time when such notice is provided.


Amazing "family resemblance"

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