Today and as I was reading chapter 3 of New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Classroom Learning , I came across a great and interesting discussion initiated by the authors( Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel ) about the issue of copyright in this digital age. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has covered this issue in depth in some previous posts but there is always more to it because copyright is a dynamic topic which evolves and changes as technology develops and new forms of communication and knowledge sharing emerge. Before I share with you the important facts Lankshear and Knobel talked about in their book, let me first brief you on the posts we have previously covered dealing with copyright issues.
1- 7 Outstanding Web Resources for Teachers and Students to Learn about Copyright Issues
2- The Full History of Copyright
3- Teach Your Students Copyright Issues
The following excerpt is taken from New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Classroom Learning , Chapter 3 pages 79-80
`` There is a major issue associated with a feature of digitally encoded material available on the internet that introduces something profoundly new. The point in question is made by Lawrence Lessig (2004: 141- 3). It has to do with copyright and a fundamental difference between physical space and ( or what Lessig calls `real space ) and cyberspace.
Lessig shows how copyright law in physical space distinguished three categories of use of copyrighted material: unregulated, regulated, and fair use. For example, there are various uses of a book that are not subject to copyright law and permissions because they do not involve making a copy of the text( unregulated ), or because they involve only copying an amount of the book ( whether by photocopying, reproducing in a citation, or whatever ) or having a purpose ( e.g., scholarly review and critique ) that is deemed to fall within the limits of fair use. So A can lend a book to B to read, and B to C and so on, without falling foul of copyright, since no copy of the text is made. A can even resell the book. These fall within the category of unregulated uses, because to borrow and read a book or to sell it does not involve making a copy.
But the ontology of material available on the internet, a distributed digital network, is different in a fundamental respect from material available in physical space. On the internet every use of a copyrighted work produces a copy (ibid.).Without exception. This single arbitrary feature of digital network carries massive implications :
Uses that before were presumptively unregulated are now presumptively regulated . No longer is there a set of presumptively unregulated uses that define a freedom associated with copyrighted work. Instead each use is now subject to the copyright , because each use also makes a copy, category one ( unregulated ) gets sucked into category two ( regulated ). `` ( pages 79-80 )
We do not have space here to deal with the intricacies of copyright law and permissions. Instead we urge readers who have not done so to read Lessig`s book : Free Culture - How Big Media UsesTechnology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity . It is really an excellent and important book on copyright and literacy. I have got a pdf version of this book which you can download for free HERE.