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Copyright, Intellectual Property, Digital Rights Management


One of the biggest "undefined" areas of elearning relates to copyright/IP/DRM. Physical materials (textbooks, magazines, scripts) have decades, even centuries, of history to draw from in asserting fair use, copyright ownership, etc. Digital resources don't have this history. Programs like Napster and Kazaa reveal the ease of duplicating and sharing resources. For learning, the ability to produce no/low-cost copies of resources and learning materials affords great value. Theoritically, it is possible for less developed countries to have access to high quality materials...because the cost of duplication and distribution of digital resources are minimal.

This environment (ease of duplication and sharing) clashes strongly with existing models of content development and distribution. A model is needed that allows educational materials to be developed under a license that allows (and encourages) reuse. As educators share and build on each others resources, learners, institutions, and educators alike will benefit. Yet consideration and fairness is required for the content creators as well. Essentially, a model built on balance is required, one that preserves the rights of content creators...and appropriate ability of educators to contribute to and extend resources.

The entire education system is built on the value of innovation...and the need for continual learning and development. A closed education market's (where copyright moves beyond preservation of the content creators rights to the preservation of a business model on the part of publishers) first casualty is innovation. Sharing, building on, and exchanging learning materials is a model that works in a digital era.


elearnspace Interview with Lawrence Lessig
"The concern is that, to protect content the way they did in the 20th century, they will have to defeat the Internet that was designed for the 21st."

Why We Should Share Learning Resources
"Simply, educators need to be able to use and modify learning material to ensure personalized, effective learning."

Copy Rights and Wrongs
" This site will help you decide whether or not you need a license to use specific online content, particularly at an educational institution. It contains information, links to relevant websites, and wizards - forms that allow you to input information about your intended use and then return a calculated response tailored to your situation."

Copyright Website
"This portal provides real world, practical and relevant copyright information for anyone navigating the net."

A Guide to Digital Rights Management
"This Guide to Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been developed to provide a source of ideas, information and resources to assist creators, producers and traders with the management of their content in the digital environment."

Copyright Wiki
"This wiki contains information related to file sharing, copyright, the gift economy, cyber liberties, peer to peer research, information tools, and similar topics..."

Intellectual Property Topics
Extensive list of articles/resources

Copyright Overview
Focused on United States

Digital Rights Management Workshop
"This list of resources is by no means exhaustive. However, many of the resources here are gateways to additional resources and to more granular or technical information."

Rip, Burn, Mix
"The paper evaluates the Napster, DeCSS, Felten and Sklyarov litigation in terms of the new social, legal, economic and cultural relations being produced. This involves a deep discussion of law's economic relations, and the implications of this for litigation strategy. The paper concludes with a critique of recent attempts to define copyright law in terms of first amendment rights and communicative freedom."

Copyright 101 for Educators
"Misconceptions abound among educators today about what uses of multimedia are permissible and legal in the classroom under US copyright law, and it is critical to address and correct these ideas."

Copyright Issues
Resource page linking to articles/sites.

"The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. These works – intellectual property – are expanding the bounds of science and technology and enriching the world of the arts. Through its work, WIPO plays an important role in enhancing the quality and enjoyment of life, as well as creating real wealth for nations."

Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal
Excellent collection of articles on copyright concerns in education.

Commission on Intellectual Property Rights
"…to look at the ways that intellectual property rules need to develop in the future in order to take greater account of the interests of developing countries and poor people."


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