Mary Ziller's Reflection

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User:Redcamarocruiser December 19, 2009 (update)

The essential freedoms

Everybody should be able to learn. It is our inalienable right to learn in order to master our environment, develop our intelligence and humanity, and in order to sustain our livelihood. Knowledge should be free. I really liked the analogy what if the man who invented the wheel had charged for it.

The development of technologies depends on knowledge. We should be able to study, use, and make derivative works from knowledge. It should be freely available, and we should be able to work with it, copy it, perform it make it our own, and apply the information. These are our essential freedoms.

For a work to be free there should not be technological restrictions like on some CDs, Privacy restrictions, or other restrictions, and the source data for digital works should accompany the work. An open source version should be made available such as google docs or open office documents.

Open education resources such as wikipedia, wikimedia, wikinews, wikitravel, wikiversity, can be peer reviewed for quality control.

The advantage of using something like the Open Educational Resource materials (OERs)provided in wiki communities is that you can dispense with copyright worries. They are all made to be freely redistributed and you can legally create derivative works from them.

In regard to creating OERs I have been thinking about copyright. It varies from country to country. In the U.S. copyright laws can be found at the Library of Congress.

When creating an online course at an accredited university there are two main considerations that stand out.

1) The copyrighted material you use cannot be distributed in a public forum. You must limit the sharing of the materials to students who are enrolled in the course, and it must be password protected.
2) The digitized (scanned) copyrighted material that you use in the course cannot be saved on the server after the course is finished. You have to remove it from the server when your course finishes.
3) In addition, the amount of the material you may legally use under fair use (sorry it has another name in th UK which escapes me at the moment, maybe fair dealing?) should be comparable to the amount that you would use in a face to face classroom.

One outcome of my reflections regarding copyright is I coined the word copyfright and published the definition at The Urban Dictionary.

n. 1. Copyfright is a brand of copyright that strips the author of all of his rights. It is so airtight that the author cannot even publish his own work to another journal or post it on his home page without giving credit to the publisher ;
n. 2. The state of shock induced by restrictive copyright compliance regulations.
adj. pertaining to practices of restrictive copyright applications such as coprfright police, copyfright nazi, copyfright conglomerates, copyfright industry giants.

Example: OERs (Open Educational Resources) are one way around the copyfright restrictions. Prime examples of OERs are Wikipedia, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikiquote, Wikitionary, and Wiki books. They operate under free licensing like creative commons and GNU.


Q: Why does Dave look dazed?
A: He just read the contract he has to sign to get his research published and is suffering from copyfright.


The contract that the best and most prestigious publishers require researchers to sign before agreeing to publish articles is blatant copyfright.


Don't let copyfright intimidate you from freely sharing your knowledge. Choose free licensing to disseminate your work online, and bypass all the copyfright legal traps.


In academia in order to become well known and get tenure, you have to sell your soul to the copyfright monolith.

See also copyleft

And copyright (Reflection Nov. 29, 2009)


There is still apparently a lot of confusion regarding copyright among educators who think they are complying with copyright. I thought I was being so careful by not using pictures from google image searches and only choosing Microsoft clip art and free clip art from other sites which offer their artwork for non-profit uses. It turns out that Microsoft only allows students to create school projects with their clip art in face to face instructional situations, but forbids the redistribution and publication of the materials online.

Fortunately my wikineighbor, Patricia Schlicht, alerted me to my misconception of copyright law in time for me to revamp my contributions using pictures from wikimedia. Thanks Patricia! This was a very time consuming undertaking, but I am glad that I had to do it because it forced me to recheck my assumptions and research Microsoft copyright policy and afforded me the opportunity to explore wikimedia.

The editable Kaltura movie that I had to remake because it contained Microsoft clipart, turned out better than the original one because I found some really interesting images that caused me to add new slides and inspired me to add another exercise to my presentation. I am so appreciative of this community, which enabled me to grow professionally.

Many thanks to Rob Kruhlak, Gladys Gahona, Patricia Schicht, Sanjay Kumar Pandagale, Phil Bartle, Sandy Causer, Nisha Singh, Nellie Deutsch, Joyce McKnight, Wayne Mackintosh, Barbara Dieu, Steve Forester, Jaap Bosman, Aprasad, Savithri Singh, and everyone who shared their expertise with me.

Dec. 6, 2009 --redcamarocruiser 17:47, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

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