3. Intellectual Property

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Group of giraffes drinking around sunset at Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha, Namibia. Axel Tschentscher CC BY-SA

Intellectual Property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. Intellectual property encompasses two types of rights: industrial property rights (trademarks, patents, designations of origin, industrial designs and models) and copyright.

Intellectual Property rights - what they are, who has them, and what can be protected. With computers and particularly with web technology, there has been a significant increase in attention to intellectual property. Because of the ease of access to information and the ability to duplicate and store vast amounts of data, more people have concerns about their rights to it.

Instructors are very concerned about students doing original research and writing for the assignments they submit. Of course you want to get a good grade, but learning something will be more important to you in the long term.

Learning outcomes

  • understand concepts of plagiarism
  • develop an understanding of the issues through discussion participation
  • support discussion points based on reading and research
  • use the wiki formatting and editing functions


  • copyright, DMCA, Fair Use, sharing, piracy, open source, free, Creative Commons, intellectual philanthropy

Study notes

  • What is intellectual property? Do you have any? What about your solutions to homework assignments? Essays for other courses?
  • Do you respect other people's copyrights? Have you copied music or videos? Software? Is that ok?
  • Do you understand the "fair-use" doctrine and when it applies?
  • How big a problem is software piracy? In the US? Elsewhere in the world? Is piracy a disincentive for software developers? What can be done about piracy?
  • Is Open Source the way of the future? Can this software development model survive? Or will people spoil the idea of sharing for their personal gain?


  1. Before you start the reading and the assignments, take a few minutes to think about what you already know about the topic - Intellectual Property. Write a sentence or two about this in the I know... discussion.

  2. Academic Integrity, Copyright, Fair Use and Plagiarism - Many of the assignment activities in this course require finding and discussing current web articles related to the module topics. You will be researching, quoting, summarizing and providing links to a lot of web sites. You must provide information about your sources as research citations. Where did you get your information? Did you make it up or did you get it from a reliable source?
    Review the Academic Integrity and Research resources in the Media section below.

  3. Read the Study notes for an overview for the topics that will be covered.

  4. Read, view, listen to several of the selections in the Media list.

  5. Read about the Creative Commons - the organization that develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation. Review the Creative Commons licenses to understand your rights to access and use resources. This applies to all resources especially images and video. This Attibute infographic is a nice visual summary.

  6. Play the Remix Game. Test your knowledge of the remix compatibility of different license types using interactive questions with detailed feedback for correct and incorrect answers.
    If you need more help, find a resource that provides more information about copyright, Creative Commons and share the link.

    How did you do? Do you have a better understanding of the Creative Commons licensing structure and your options for using resources? Post a note about one new thing you learned about using and sharing online resources to the Copyright and Remix discussion.

  7. Choose 2 words from the Keywords list. Find a resource that provides information about each the words you select and how they relate to the course. Post the words, links to your selected resources, and a brief description about your selection for each, to the discussion Intellectual Property keywords. Follow links provided by 3 other students, review their resources, and write a brief reply for each.

  8. The Imagining the Internet Predictions Database examines the potential future of the Internet while simultaneously providing a peek back into its history. http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/early90s/search.xhtml
    Read the responses of survey participants to the most recent survey of more than 1,000 technology stakeholders who shared their visions for the next decade of development.
    Choose a topic that interests you. Each topic is a link to participant responses. Follow the link and review the survey summary for that topic.
    Write a discussion question for this topic of the survey to the Internet Predictions Database discussion topic. Include the topic and a link, as well as a 1-2 sentence summary of the comments in the topic. Read the questions already posted, and do not repeat a question asked by another student. Your question should relate directly to an issue discussed in the text, and should require a thoughtful response. Don't ask a question which can be answered by looking the answer up. Attitude, opinion, and application questions usually get thoughtful responses.

  9. Art and computers - Many artists are finding that computers and the internet can help their art and their income, as well as create problems. Consider "art" in any form. Search for a site that talks about these issues for artists. What are ways that artists are generating revenue without having to rely on "protecting" their work? Post your site and a description of the social impact for the artist in the discussion Art and Computers. Respond to 2-3 discussions.

  10. Use it - Learning Literacies address all the demands of being a lifelong learner in a world were so much of what we do makes use of technologies. We will be looking at six topics that cover a wide range of technologies and their application to education and personal growth. Use it - thinking about how technologies are woven into daily living. Review one of the articles in the Use it - media selections or something similar you find online. What are your thoughts about the general topic. Would these suggestions work for you? Why? Post a link and a brief summary of the article you selected to the Learning Literacies - Use it discussion. Review 2 others.

  11. Study notes and course work - Are you making use of the Study Notes in each course Module? Do these questions help you while you are reading the text? Is there other information that would help you?

  12. Project Groups Discussions - You have been assigned to a group that you will work with for the entire semester. There is a short activities to get started. Meet the others in the I’m a... activity. List 3 things about yourself. One food you really don’t like. Something you really enjoyed doing as a kid. What is your “dream job”. Post your introduction as a reply to your Project Groups Discussions. Reply to 2 others. Note: Points are given for participation throughout the course. Your score will increase as additional topics are discussed.

  13. Reflection 3-2-1 - To become a self-directed lifelong learner, you need to think beyond what is provided in the course. Think about the information presented and list 3 new ideas presented, 2 examples or uses of the idea/or how information can be found/used in your world, and ONE question about the topics beyond what was addressed. Submit to I wonder... assignment.

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Intellectual Property, COPYRIGHT

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