Synthesis

Before I began this class I had a very limited knowledge of the copyright law, what I knew most were stories in which people have found themselves in legal trouble because of copyright infringement. One of the most vivid stories was one that hit home for me in which a teacher found herself in trouble because she reused recorded shows for her class each year. After hearing that story, almost three years ago, I was fearful to use any material not from creative commons. Now having the chance to learn about copyright and fair use (which I did not know about at all) from some of the leading voices on the matter, due to our course readings, I have a much better understanding of my rights and limitations.

While I found that the course readings took me through a roller coaster of opinions on the matter of copyright, in the end I came out with greater amount of knowledge on copyright and fair use. With that gained understanding, I can see the limitations copyright holds on creativity but I also see that fair use actually makes my previous ideas of those limitations more open then I have perceived. Most importantly I see that there does need to be a change in copyright, like Lessig states “changed, not abolished” (Lessig, p.253). The change needs to be one that strikes a balance, one that allows for creators to profit from their work as well as the room to create with passion and not apprehension.

Aufderheide and Jaszi’s book Reclaiming Fair Use was the one book that I connected with and learned from the most. They’re description on how to bring balance back to copyright really opened my eyes on how to make copyright work for everyone, and that’s with the use of Fair Use. Prior to the readings this term I had not known much about fair use, and it wasn’t until reading Aufderheirde and Jaszi’s book that I really gained a good understanding of the doctrine. I learned from my readings that while fair use was created to protect our first amendment right of free speech, media companies have tried hard and been quite successful in scaring people away from using the fair use doctrine. The fair use doctrine is broad and can be interpreted in different ways, but as Aufderheide and Jaszi pointed out in their book, codes of best practices have been significant help in bringing balance back to copyright. One of the problems though is that these codes of best practices are not yet well known, at least not in elementary schools. I agree with Aufderheide and Jaszi that an important aspect of reclaiming fair use is the development of codes of best practices created by those creating in their industry and spreading those codes of best practices out for others to use (p.127).

While fair use is a great and practical way to bring balance back in copyright, it too is limited. Therefore I agree with Lessig, although I am not sure when or if this will happen, that our copyright law needs to change in order to leave room for “amateur creativity, have a maintenance obligation for creators to have to renew their copyright protection after a certain amount of time, and simply to make the law much more simple so that creators of all ages can create and do so legally (p. 253-266).

Week 9 – Wealth of Networks

This week’s reading was by far the hardest book for me to get in to. Unlike reading, Aufderheide and Jaszi’s book Free Ride, in which I connected to because it related to me and teaching, The Wealth of Networks, by Yochai Benkler was very difficult for me to relate to. Part One of the book was the most difficult to get through because it had very technological language that was hard for me to understand. Also, though it should interest me, reading about how the global economy has been affected by the Internet, was often tiresome to get through in the first part of the book.

What I found interesting while reading The Wealth of Networks was “commons-based peer production” and the discussion of how technology has improved some people’s lives and for others has been a great disadvantage (Benkler, p. 60).

One of the areas in the book that I found interesting to read was about “common-based peer production;” one of the most popular examples of this is Wikipedia. I can still remember in middle school my friend, in a hushed voice, telling me to use Wikipedia to find information for my history report because the site was brand new and not many people knew about it. About three years later our teachers began to tell us that Wikipedia was not a creditable source and we could not use. From reading Benkler’s book I was surprised to find out how many people are actively invested and dedicated to feeding information into sites like Wikipedia, and search for and correct inaccuracies. I think that common-based peer production is so popular because it allows people who are knowledgeable about their hobbies or career to have a place to share that information with other. Benkler also links this activity to people’s desire to inform and contribute by stating that “we act for material gain, but also for psychological well-being and gratification, and for social connectedness” (p.6).

I think that I often take for granted growing up in an age where I learned how to use a computer in elementary school and had a computer at home. I forget that many people do not have this access. Benkler’s book required me to think about how the internet and computers, for that matter, have influenced people’s lives throughout the globe in different ways.

Even as opulence increases in the wealthier economies – as information and innovation offer longer and healthier lives that are enriched by better access to information, knowledge, and culture – in many places, life expectancy is decreasing, morbidity is increasing, and illiteracy remain rampant. –Benkler, p. 14

Like all things in life there is the good side to things and the bad, and while the internet has opened up many opportunities for people to gain knowledge, start a business, or connect with others throughout the world, there are still those who do not have access to the internet and to these opportunities and therefore are left out of the loop. Peer production and other communication tools allow those connected to collaborate and solve problems that could greatly affect other’s lives including those not connected to the web. It is important that the opportunities available to us do not go to waste, but instead are use in meaningful ways in order to better not only our own lives but the lives of others.

 

Reference:

Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks: how social production transforms markets and freedoms. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Week 7 – Fair Use

Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright

By: Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi (2011)

In my first term in the Education Program at Western Oregon University, I distinctly remember sitting in one of my classes and the professor telling us a story about a teacher that she worked with who got in a lot of trouble because of reusing recorded television episodes in her class. That was two years ago and I still remember it very well because I had no idea that using recorded episodes in class was illegal and would result in a teacher getting in trouble and even losing their job for. Ever since that story I have been very cautious about using media in anything I do. Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi’s book Reclaiming Fair Use helped me gain a better understanding of what fair use is and how it can empower teachers and other creators to use materials that help get their point across. Aufderheide and Jaszi do a great job of describing and defining what fair use is, why it is important to know what fair use is as well as how to use it, and how to deal with copyright with examples of Codes of Best Practices.

One of the most important things that I learned from reading this book is what fair use really is. From reading Reclaiming Fair Use I learned that fair use is “the right to use unlicensed material” (p.xi). Fair use is further explained in that is comes in two types (p.18):

  1. Your right to do with copyrighted material what you will for personal purposes
  2. When you reuse copyrighted material in the process of making something else

Understanding fair use is important to me because as an educator I want to be a model for my students for how to use media responsibly. I also do not want to find myself in trouble for using materials because I did not understand the law.

“Fair use is like a muscle; unused it atrophies, while exercise makes it grow. Its future is open; vigorous exercise will not break fair use” (p.14).

I really like this quote because it gives a positive view for the future use of fair use. One of the important points that the authors argue in Reclaiming Fair Use is that people should not be afraid of fair use but should be educated on it and use it because it is our right to do so. One of the best ways for people to do this is to create Codes of Best Practices (p.127). Filmmakers and teachers have been successful in creating these Codes of Best Practices to help encourage creators to employ fair use. Prior to reading this book I had no idea that there was a Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education, I wish that I had and I think that this set of best practices would be very helpful for all teachers to have.

Another issue that the authors raised in the book, which applies to teachers, is the sharing of mixed-media projects or lesson plans with other (p. 116). I think that teachers’ sharing their ideas and lessons plans is a wonderful thing but because it is no longer for personal use, from the way the law is written, this sharing of lesson plans that may have copyright protected media could be illegal. I believe that teachers should be able to share and even profit from their created lesson plans and units. I think that when materials are used to create something new and not used in the same purpose of the original remixed media was intended for, then the “remixed” creation should be looked at as something new and therefore used and distributed however the creator wants to.

 

References

Auderheide, P., & Jaszi, P. (2011). Reclaiming fair use: how to put balance back in copyright. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Free Ride – Week 5

Free Ride: How digital parasites are destroying the culture business, and how the culture business can fight back

Robert Levine (2011)

Robert Levine’s book Free Ride was an interesting read that challenged my thinking and opened up a new understanding of how the Internet has effect many business that are in the culture business. Those in the culture business supply music, newspapers, television, and books. Levine’s book aims to show how the internet has greatly affected the culture business and will continue to if things are not changed, he also suggest ways that we can make the internet more valuable. This book has changed my way of thinking, while I like getting things for free if this is hurting the economy than I would rather pay for them. But along those same lines the price can’t be too high because than I am not likely to pay for it at all. I believe there needs to be a balance between free and charging for content.

Levine identifies the biggest problem with our current copyright law is that the protection it promises is only theoretical (p.81).  In the previous books I have read for class this really never came up but when I read it in Levine’s book it completely made sense to me. The protection that the law promises really can’t be enforced especially now with the Internet.  With file sharing you can get any content you desire for free, and that is the way most people want to get it. While many record companies and publishers might get a bad name for being greedy with their content, Levine points out that they make a huge difference for artists and do a lot to move them along in their career, because they have the money for advancing money to creators, they help shape the projects, find an audience, and much more (p. 170). If these companies are no longer in business then new and upcoming artists will struggle significantly and most likely not make a living.

Levine often criticizes Lessig’s beliefs, which was very interesting to read since reading and enjoying Lessig’s book Remix. Levine suggests that those like Lessig believe that to encourage the remix culture we have to tolerate piracy. Levine disagrees and argues that piracy can actually damage the remix culture since many of these works infuse professional works, if piracy damages future professional works then the remix culture will not have as much content to use (p. 93). I think that this is an interesting perspective and definitely could happen, but the music and movie business still seem to be doing well although.

Newspapers have been most effected by the internet, Levine predicts that “in the coming years, the way publishing companies make money will determine the kind of journalism they do” (p.133). This means that they will have to produce stories that interest the people, reaching the broadest audience possible, and they will have to embrace citizen journalism (p.134). I think that this is already the case; many people get their news online and many from social networking sites. For me, I like the convenience of choosing what I am going to read, but this may not be a good thing. What I fear is that news providers will be more concerned about what people want to read and listen to and stop reporting about what they need to read.

Levine proposes a Blanket License System as a way to solve the music problem, and could work for other media forms. With this system Internet service providers would be licensed for music downloads and then could set up their own music streaming service. These providers would determine what their users are listening to and distribute royalties accordingly (p. 224). This sounds like a simple and straight forward way to deal with the music problem as well as other media forms, but I can also see some major faults in it as well. The major one is that people are used to getting things for free, I am not sure how technology companies will be able to convince the majority to pay a fee. Levine also brings up this problem and also identifies another hindering issue which is that labels and publishers have a hard time agreeing on how to divide the money (p. 224). These issues will have to be cleared up and that could take a very long time to occur.

I think the hardest part about making the Internet more profitable is that people are used to getting content for free, and once you know that you can have that same content that they are charging for for free it’s hard to pay the price. If the Blanket License System is to work, I think that the internet service providers will have to add the fee to the total of the customer’s monthly bill so that they don’t have a choice but to pay for it, this way since it being paid for each month then the customer will be discouraged to illegally download music. But this would have its share of problems because service providers will have to compete for customers and this will drive down the cost for music and other media. I can see semi-closed platforms like Xbox live, and the Apple App store being more and more prevalent since the prices are reasonable and they are on devises that people like and use often (p. 238). Since reading this book I have been even more confused about how the Internet and copyright problems can be solved, I think that there are good ideas like the Blanket License System, but at this time I don’t see the problems being solved any time soon.

Week 2

Public Domain: Enclosing the Common of the Mind

James Boyle (2008)

Similar to Lessig’s book, James Boyle also outlines the problems and complexity of our copyright law is his book, The Public Domain. While Lessig focused on how copyright laws have influenced and at times stifled creativity, Boyle takes a closer look at intellectual property and how the lines of copyright have been blurred with the integration of the Internet into the everyday life. Boyle describes how we have under gone two types of enclosure movements, the first being the enclosure of property commons and the second the intellectual commons (p.47-48).  Boyle argues that when the Internet age came about certain intellectual property views were carried over. These views were that “intellectual property is just like other property,” and “rights are presumptively absolute” (p.55).

Boyle includes in his book and refers back to it often, Jefferson’s warning of intellectual property rights. Thomas Jefferson had an interesting view of what the rights of intellectual property should be. Jefferson stated that intellectual property rights should be a claim that is temporary, and emphasized that intellectual property rights should not be permanent and have a limited time (p.21). While Jefferson wrote this well before the internet was created, I feel that it has just as much merit now than it did then. While I believe that it is important to protect the rights of the creator so that they may profit, I do not believe that those rights should extend past the originator. I also agree with Boyle’s argument that the restrictions of copyright should only be in place “…for as long as necessary to provide an incentive” after that point the work should be available to the public “…where all of us can use it, transform it, adapt it, build on it, republish it as we wish” (p.11).  I think that this is important because with current copyright laws creativity can often be constricted because one is afraid of breaking the law. For instance, when a teacher is putting together a presentation for a lesson, they have to be careful with the media that they integrate into the presentation and therefore have limited resources that they can use, in addition to the extra time it takes to find those resources. Jefferson’s warning also warned how intellectual property rights can “actually hinder rather than encourage innovation” (p.21).

In order to combat the restrictions of copyright law, which is given to all for even the simplest thing, Creative Commons was developed. Say you take a picture of your dog; that picture is automatically copyrighted and “all rights are reserved” to you the author (p.181). Because it is copyrighted no one can copy it or adapt it, but with Creative Commons, the author can decide to share that work and set the parameters for how it can be used and shared. Creative Commons is a great tool for authors to control how their work is used as well as for finding free materials to use and it is being added to by the minute; but as Boyle points out it is “ a second-best solution created by private agreement because the best solution could not be obtained through public law” (p. 184).  While I agree with Boyle that the right solution requires change in public law, it is hard to see when that will happen. At this time, I think that it is important that Creative Commons continues to be added to so that its resources becomes more vast and therefore a place where people will be more drawn to using.

Works Cited:

Boyle, James. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. Print

Week 1: Remix

Week 1-   REMIX: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Lawrence Lessig (2008)

Lessig’s book, Remix: making art and commerce thrive in the Hybrid Economy was an eye-opening read for me because I have never understood the problem with people remixing other’s work to create something new. I have always thought that this was good thing that there were tools that allowed others to be inspired and create something new; that it should not be seen as piracy but as a compliment. While Lessig advocates for the “amateur” creature he also shows how this can affect that original artist. In his book, Lessig identifies how the innovations of the twentieth century changed our culture, how art is remixed, and how commerce was affected by the changes. He also lays out a plan of how our culture and laws will have to change in order to better solve the copyright problem.

To illustrate how our culture changed in the twentieth century, Lessig begins his book by explaining how the phonograph allowed ordinary citizens access to a wide range of music which before was not possible. While in one sense this innovation was looked at as a good thing that allowed for a spread of culture, composers like John Philip Sousa saw it as a sign of change not for the better but would result in “cultural emptiness” since the machine created a passive audience, only consuming the culture and no longer producers of it (Lessig, p. 24-25).

While this may have been the case for most of the twentieth century, while I read this section of the book I found myself disagreeing with the idea because I don’t believe this to be the case any longer. Lessig distinguishes between two types of cultures the Read Write culture in which creativity is high, while in the Read Only culture creativity is low since the population is only consuming and not producing. The introduction of the phonograph and other innovations that followed resulted in a read only culture. But when computers and the Internet became available to a wider range of consumers, a shift in our culture occurred. Lessig advocates for a ‘hybrid’ approach to the read only and read write culture, which I think we are already there (Lessig, p.33). We are more than consumers take in point Facebook, many use this tool not only to reconnect with their friends and family throughout the world it is also a place where they can express their ideas and thoughts. Social networking is both a place of consumption and creating and therefore a hybrid of the two cultures.

As the technology became better and turned from tapes and CDs to digital copies which do not wear out; it resulted in stricter laws for copyright protection. The record industry set to protect their profitable industry from piracy by suing companies and citizens even “a twelve-year old girl and a dead grandmother,” (Lessig, p.38)but it was Steve Jobs how came up with the right solution (Lessig, p.42).  His solution was simple, sell the content that people want in a digital copy, therefore making it legal for citizens and profitable for companies. Lessig makes a great point about how to protect against piracy in the digital age which is quite simple, if you do not want your content stolen then make is available. Give access to it, which does not mean it has to be free but give access to the content so that people will not look elsewhere (Lessig, p.42).

From my experience I have seen that the Internet has allowed for people to express their selves and be creative in ways that would not always be available. For example, my younger brother loves music, with free software available online he has been able to create his own music by remixing samples from other artists as well as his own that he has created. He doesn’t do it for money but he enjoys doing it in his free time.  Many people have found ways to express their creativity with the use of the Internet, but this can also lead to trouble due to the strict and complex copyright laws, as Lessig points out. Before reading Lessig’s book, I had not realize that music and film had different copyright laws from writing, while you can take a direct quote from text, you must ask permission to use a video or music clip. Lessig argues the need to change copyright laws stating, “we should think why this right to quote – or as I will call it, to remix- is a critical expression of creative freedom that in a broad range of contexts, no free society should restrict” (p.55-56). I agree with Lessig that our copyright laws should allow for ‘amateur creativity” as well as be simplified so that kids, as well as adults, have room to create and create legally (Lessig, p.266). Remixing has other benefits besides self-expression and creativity, it also aids in building linked communities with members from all around the world. In the community individuals are able to learn, show their skills and ideas, and to create (Lessig, p.77). Lessig also shows that remixing is beneficial for education, by creating interest-based learning opportunities, in which “…kids learn more and learn more effectively” (p.79).

Lessig describes several shift to the copyright law as well as shifts in the society for reform to be successful. I think that Lessig’s ideas for shifts in the law would be effective since they allow for “amateur creativity” free from regulation as well as laws that are simplified for everyday people understand, but they also the artists and companies (p.264-266). By making the changes he suggests, I believe that it will allow for a better balance for a Read Write culture and the “hybrid” economy that Lessig shows is becoming more prevalent, especially online.

Works Cited:

Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. New York: Penguin, 2008. Print.

internet

Futures of Education

Our world is becoming more and more technologically advanced, but one area of our society that seems to remain the same is our education system. In order to prepare our students for the global economy when they leave school we need to match what is going on in our society to how students learn in the classroom. The future of education depends on technology and how it is implemented by teachers. Some schools have taken steps toward becoming more technologically relevant for their students, while many other schools struggle to integrate new technology due to low resources and time constraints. This week’s materials presented options that schools can use to integrate technologies that are more cost effective, allow for more engaging learning, and allow for more personalized learning.

Thin Clients and Blade PCs were presented first this week. These are hardware terminals that do not have software or hard drives. They are connected to one server by a cord and allow the user to access all hardware that is installed on the server. Thin Clients are cost effective because they are low on energy, they are reliable so low cost for maintenance, and they are easy to use. Many universities, including Western Oregon University use Thin Clients. By using Thin Clients, universities allow their students to access hardware and their own personal user profile anywhere on campus. I can see Thin Clients and Blade PCs being used in many schools over the next few years since they take less space and are very cost effective for schools with small budgets.

Virtualization was presented next and was different than what I thought it would be when I read the name. Virtualization was much more complicated to understand but from what I comprehend virtualization allows users the ability to run multiple operating systems without slowing down their computer because the operating systems are operating in a virtual environment and not the user’s hard drive. The benefits to virtualization is that it keeps the user’s hard drive clean, it can save money, has better memory management, and is great for people who need to run multiple operating systems at one time. One way that I can see virtualization being used in schools is for downloading new software, because virtualization allows the software to be downloaded in a virtual environment that won’t potentially damage the main user’s system. Virtualization is a way for schools to protect their investments.

The next thing that was presented was gesture-based learning. This is a very interesting technological idea. I am familiar with most of the gesture-based tools but I was unaware of the ways that some of them, including the Kinect, could be used for education. Gesture-based computing is when the devise receives signals in the form of physical movements like tapping, swipes, or touches that allow the user to control the system. These systems include IPhones, IPads, Nintendo Wii, and Kinect for the Xbox 360. The benefits for gesture-based learning is that it allows students to engage with a virtual environment, take control of their learning, and learn more interactively. This type of learning also has the potential to meet many different learning styles including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. But there are many potential drawbacks, such as the longevity of the technology, training of teachers, and time that schools have to adapt new courses when they have limited time due to exams. I think this technology would be wonderful for elementary and upper grades because it is engaging and meets many learning styles; but for this to be really effective and worth the cost there needs to be useful programs for the classroom so that the technology is not just a novelty item.

Learning Analytics was presented last and was one that I had never heard of but I think everyone in the educational system should know about it. Learning analytics uses a technology that is used on online sites and social networking sites right now to create a personalized experience for the user. This technology is available for education with learning analytics by collecting intelligent data about the learner that makes predictions and can advise on how to best meet the learning needs of each student. This technology allows educators to look at the whole learner, not just based on their test scores, but their family history, learning styles, personality and more. It then allows the educator to personalize learning for each student. I truly believe that this technology could greatly help the United States educational system when it is implemented because it will help educators know their students individually better and therefore allow them to design truly personalized learning for each student.