Sunday, July 1, 2012

Inaugural #ioe12 post - Open Licensing at a glance

Last January David Wiley launched a course on the topic to Introduction to Open Education (how did I miss it?) I can't really say that this course is a MOOC, because it seems like it wasn't "massive", so I just it's just an OOC ;-) In any case, it seemed like a good point to start this course (better late than never!) and slowly take my time at completing the various tasks required to complete the course (for which you get various levels of badges)

This first week (actually, from a glance, I see that all weeks are structured more or less like this), there is a video and some readings. I had a crack at the video, which was a TEDxNYED video with the famous Lawrence Lessig. I have several of Lessig's books on my "to read" list on Goodreads, but I haven't had much time to get to them just yet, so a quick bite sized (20 minute) TED video was just what the doctor ordered.

It was an interesting video, definitely worth watching, but it didn't really sit well with me - not from the open licensing part, I agree with that, but with the politics involved. Lessig seemed to indicate that conservatives have been PRO-open, while democrats/liberals have been more for the closed, pro-cracy-copyright side of things. While historically Walt Disney (a conservative) may have been on the side of open and remix (after all he did exploit public domain works for his own benefit), and Michael Eisner (a democrat) promoted the Sunny Bono Copyright extension act (BOOOO to all of you in politics who allowed this to happen); and while democracts voted for ACTA and other fair use freedoms, I think that we can't claim that conservatives = good, democrats = bad for fair use; and this video may come off as something like this. Politics aside, I think that this video was interesting, definitely something to watch and discuss with others!

In addition to the video, there was a flash game (which didn't work on my iPad), and several readings. I have to admit that the article with the mathematical proofs was a bit beyond me (or rather, I wasn't as interested in reading it as in-depth as I did the others to understand the mathematical proofs). The other articles, and th comic book, were quite interesting and entertaining. There are too many things to write about the articles (and a few thins I've come across in the past), so I will summarize what really stood out.

The main thing of interest, and what seems to get buried in discussions about copyright and th "rights" of creators, is that having an exclusive monopoly on the works you create is not a right you have, but it is a privilege that is granted to you by the government in order to foster progress in the arts and sciences and for th benefit of all. Somewhere along the line, and with the "personhood" of corporations, we have lost sight of th fact that copyright is there for th benefit of all, not the benefit of th author. The creator gets a token of appreciation for contributing their knowledge out in public for everyone to use; and for an initial period of time they have exclusive rights to profit from it. The problem is that initial period keeps getting extended, and (as one of the articles pointed out) the works in public domain at out there to be used, while row still under copyright are held back, not sold and rot away. What a shame!

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