Meera Nair

Please, not now – I’m marking

In Posts on November 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

The misrepresentation of fair dealing continues – an op/ed here and a brief here. I’ll spare my readers the rebuttal that they have read so often from me (here, here, here and here). Instead, I will send everyone to Michael Geist – yesterday he posted a detailed response to the brief, Copyright Fear Mongering Hits a New High.

Right now – I have papers to mark.

The assignment I gave to my 146 students was to write an op/ed on any copyright related issue. There were a few requirements, including the need to provide some explanation of what copyright is. I implored my students to give their work some “life”! Many obliged; I particularly like the work of a student who clearly states his disinterest in documentary films and then gives a nice explanation of the copyright-induced headaches endured by documentary filmmakers.

This assignment is a regular feature of my teaching; students practice the art of prose and become further acquainted with the topic of copyright. Over the past year, some trends are showing in the writings of these twenty-somethings:
– File sharing is not the most popular topic.
– The topic of Creative Commons is rising in popularity.
– Copyright is an ethical issue; so-called solutions grounded on fixed contracts and punishment will not work.
– Digital technology presents challenges and opportunities, just like every past development in media technologies.
– Moral rights infringement is a greater concern than changing a business model for income stream.
– Students recognize that their own futures may lie in the development of intellectual property.

Granted, these students are pursuing the study of communication — the discipline is a staging ground for working in cultural industries. However, many students relate copyright and moral rights to their current life experiences — they reside in the world of the amateur musician, photographer, and writer. In a very insightful paper, a student spoke of her resentment that her generation was targeted not only by the music industry as the problem, but also by copyright-collectives as the cash-cow solution.

Back to the marking…

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