Another dot in the blogosphere?

Copywrong mindset

Posted on: March 28, 2013

Let us say that you would like to offer video-based courses online. You propose this to someone at the highest level of management or to someone who is in charge of technology infrastructure. You are likely to be asked this question: How will you protect our copyright or intellectual property?

That question is built on at least two old premises. First, copyright is the golden standard of practice. Second, that sharing something online somehow puts us at a disadvantage.

There are other standards of practice that have already started challenging the notion of copyright. For example, there are the open resources movement and Creative Commons licensing.

Sharing resources can actually give an institute the upper hand.

If a resource is good, it helps build reputational capital. Putting a resource online time-stamps it so you can claim “who’s-on-first” ownership.

Time-stamping is not the only protection. If you create a video and share it on YouTube for example, that system will detect similarities between your video and those belong to other parties.

CeL has experienced this in two ways. After e-Fiesta 2013, we uploaded our videos to YouTube a keynote presentation by a speaker from Google. The YouTube system informed us it was similar to another video. Of course it was! The speaker had been recorded in other videos using similar slides and words.

When we put our own videos online, we often include soundtracks from stock music that we have purchased. We get the same notification from YouTube and we simply ask the company we purchased the music from to create an exception.

In both cases, we have not infringed on copyright. The videos were ours, the content can be linked or attributed to others if needed, and there was a policing system in place. Where there is an apparent copyright violation, it can be quickly contested, clarified, or resolved.

Long story short: Attempts to copy or modify work and pass these off as your own can be easier to detect when you put them online. The standards are changing and so must the practice.

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