13 August 2009

Beating the No U-Turn Syndrome

Doug Johnson gave this presentation, Beating the No U-Turn Syndrome: New Approaches to Copyright Compliance at NECC 2009. Yep, I'm still working my way through NECC's schedule viewing/listening/learning.

Mr. Johnson says that we will end up being confused at a higher level. What he really did was get me to think about copyright, fair use and becoming more consumer oriented. The statement below from his presentation wiki summarizes his purpose better than I can.
Too long librarians have been seen as “copyright cops,” impeding the use of copyrighted materials by students and staff. This presentation suggests we redefine our roles, helping those we serve take maximum advantage of fair use provisions, finding authorities with a “user-centric” view of copyright enforcement, and teaching others to consider not just the legal, but moral side of intellectual property acquisition, use and re-use.
Our focus should be turned around to what can be done, not what can't be done. Don't be afraid to use fair use. He reminds us that guidelines are only "safe-harbor" limits. You don't infringe by using copyrighted materials in teaching, researching, criticizing, or news reporting. The transformative nature of parody, commentary, quoting to trigger discussion, illustrate, or provide examples are not infringement. Making use of multimedia for personal portfolios, class work, or conference presentations are not infringement.

We should push the limits and question authority. Make use of the u-turn assumption that it can be done unless otherwise posted. And think about the "blue laws" of copyright. Blue laws are those laws still on the books, however, they are not enforced because they are so old and obsolete, or they are so violated that they should be taken off the books. Mr. Johnson gives a great list in his presentation and asks us whether or not these uses are something that we want to fight for?

An educator's job is to create thinkers. Let the administrators enforce the laws. Educators should become copyright counselors. "You can't give morals and ethics to others, you can only get others to talk which allows them to clarify their own ethics." And don't become a format bigot.

We should encourage the use of:
  • public domain, copyright friendly, and royalty-free resources.
  • creative commons as a consumer and as a producer so that we can emphathize with creators.
  • discussion to reach an ethical level of comfort when using, creating, and re-mixing content.

The presentation is worth an hour of your time with practical tips to make your job easier. You might want to have the wiki open at the same time you are viewing and listening to the presentation. I found some of the presentation slides on the wiki and was able to read them more easily than those seen on the ISTEVision video presentation.

Turbo Tagger

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