Archivio per ottobre, 2007

OpenEd: week 6

Dear friends, this course is definitely astonishing! Within few weeks we turned from pedagogists to educational technologists and now to lawyers and economists! Wow!

I admit: I don’t feel very comfortable and I’m still struggling with those very articulated legal definitions. 🙂

However, I learnt a lot. Formerly I was not aware of most implications of copyright but I’m now able to look at that small © symbol with a different view. The same goes for public domain (PD).

However, when referring these issues to OER, I feel somewhat confusing.. This was my first thought:
a) the main reason of existence of OER is maximizing openness and wide possibility of reuse in a free (in every sense, including economics) way
b) public domain guarantees at maximum level these requirements, by removing any obstacles to copying and remix
and §
c) if it is true, according to Pollock, that new works generate an increasing “welfare” for the society
d) it is a reverse function of the strenghtof copyright;
why OER are not simply placed in the public domain from their origin?

I suppose that one reason is …that it is almost impossible! If I’ve right understood, every work is natively copyrighted. Yes, we can alternatively copyleft our works, but, as explained by David, copyleft is not the opposite of copyright!!

Another reason is control: works in the PD can be remixed and re-published without restrictions, included commercial editions. But it sounds as a contradiction if anyone was able to make a commercial book from Wikipedia or OCW content, isn’t it? Are these folks and institutions be publishing those valuable free contents for seeing them fall prey to private commercial, editors? I guess some sort of control is necessary.

So, answering to the first question, it seems to me that, at present, CCs and other Open licenses are yet far from PD: too many limitations are applied. But are these limitations useful and/or necessary? How to deal with risks of “commercial appropriation” of originally free resources? This can be the reason of the SA clause, very often used for OER licenses.

Therefore I’m afraid my original (and naive) reasoning is not so correct… Maybe we need some limitations to ensure OER remain free and open..

Finally, I want to dedicate a note on absurdity I read about “forever” (and “forever minus a day”) duration of copyright. If applied, it would be really a foolery, an incredibile damage for our society. However, I feel worried about it: I see as our world is increasingly dominated by financial interests of big corporations whose boards, everybody know it, are usually not very “socially responsible”…. We have to beware (also) on this matter… 🙂

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