Meera Nair

145 excuses

In Posts on October 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

For those of you who read my blog, my thanks and apologies for the long silence. I have a 145 little ones to shepherd this semester (at the time of my contract agreement, the course had only 101…)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to Siva Vaidhyanathan of the University of Virginia speak about his upcoming book The Googlization of Everything. One theme he used was that of public failure. What happens when public institutions fail to respond to a challenge?

“Challenge” is a mixture of opportunity and necessity.

The consultation period for copyright has closed; around 8,000 submissions were sent in. That is remarkable and inspiring; Canadians have an interest in the subject, and recognize the necessity of involving themselves in the political process. But, to what extent have our educational institutions taken that step?

Outside of the general body of Canadians, the largest constituency group in Canada that benefits by fair dealing is the academic community. Students, teachers, librarians, and administrators all explicitly or implicitly benefit by this measure of unauthorized reproduction. I know that many individuals from academia made submissions to the Federal Government. But how many institutions made a contribution in their own name?

Using the search tool from the consultation website, I did a quick test. Searching on “University of British Columbia” I found four submission documents — two from individuals who have a current or past association to the university, one from a national student’s association, and one concerning a research repository project. Two other hits on the search, were in reference to the Vancouver roundtable discussion (Prof. Mira Sundara Rajan, of the Faculty of Law, participated.) It appears that there was no submission from the university as a whole. Although, perhaps not all submission documents have been processed … I could yet be pleasantly surprised.

This is now a project; surveying from west to east, to find out which universities involved themselves in the consultation process. If anyone has specific information, and would like to share, please drop me a note… I have much searching and reading ahead…

  1. Thanks!


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