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Copyright and Digital Learning [Updated]

August 11, 2006

Courtesy of Boing Boing I’ve found an interesting and thought-provoking study on the impact that copyright has on the digital classroom. There’s a lot of reading in it, so I’m just posting a link to the study at the moment. I’ll comment further once I’ve had more time to read the full report.


Not surprisingly, given its origin, the report is primarily concerned with American copyright law, however, there is a brief discussion of how other countries approach the problem on pages 62-65. That said, it soon becomes apparent that the problem of what constitutes “fair use” in education is often no more than a tacit approval of copyright breaches (Think: Media Studies and the showing of DVDs in class/lectures – this is condoned, but in many cases, still illegal. Don’t think: end of term, show the kids a video!)

One thing the document does throw up is the large grey areas between the law and the reality. The conclusions/suggestions/next steps range from rewriting the copyright laws to take account of the internet (and all the ‘tubes‘ that go to make it up), to coming up with new licensing agreements for schools. My gut reaction is that, no matter what does end up happening (and I don’t honestly expect any resolution of this in my lifetime!), by the time this issue is resolved, the technology will have moved on again and the issue will have to be renegotiated again…

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