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Posts Tagged ‘law

There are many practices that those of us in schooling and education can learn from the rest of the world. But I wish we would not adopt military and corporate terms (e.g., SOP, ROI) without considering their contexts.

And then there are things that the rest of the world can learn from higher education. Take this tweeted news report, for example.

Unfortunately, giving credit where credit is due is not yet under Singapore’s Copyright Act. According to this news piece, we will have to wait till November and only if the changes are passed in parliament. The same article stated:

…the changes are not meant to go after the man in the street, but rather to prevent businesses from getting away with not crediting creators when profiting from their works. 

…if a person does not credit the creator of a work that he uses publicly, the creator can ask to be identified.

And if the person refuses to do so, the creator can take legal action to get credited or have the work taken down, as well as seek financial compensation from the person if there is potential income loss that can be shown.

One one hand, I am glad that the amendments require clear attribution. I know of far too many people who think that anything they find online is free to use. Worse still, they take credit when they use it wholesale or make modifications to it.

On the other, I am disappointed that the law needs to spell this out. This means that our schooling has not done enough to help make attribution a mindset. If students make their way to higher education, they almost invariably learn how to cite sources. But if their workplaces do not reinforce this practice, they unlearn it.

An interviewee in the article highlighted what he considered a potential problem:

…social media users, such as influencers who make money from their accounts, repost content such as videos and images, they could be infringing the copyrights for the content unless they can prove that they used the videos and images fairly.

This is not a problem, it is an opportunity to operate ethically and fairly. We are not asking social media creators to be academics using APA or MLA to cite and list their sources. We are merely requiring them to give credit where it is due.

This is also an opportunity for all to learn about Creative Commons (CC). Some problems with ownership and licensing are figuring out who to credit, whether you can use their creations, and how you can use them. CC addresses all three.

The news article says that the changes to our laws will happen soon. November cannot come soon enough. In the meantime, all of us can learn more about and use CC licensing.

There is obeying the law and keeping to the spirit of the law. Then there is changing the law because it does not make sense.

Singapore used to have signs like these in the 70s to shape societal behaviour.

Long hair on males is no longer socially frowned upon (outside of military service) and our government would rather we have more kids now.

Now consider this story about schoolgirls who shaved their heads (with permission from their school authorities) to raise money for a cancer charity.

The school principal was not happy when the girls showed up in school sans their locks. She argued that this was not becoming of young ladies and that they had promised to don wigs.

The school rules did not allow  “punk, unfeminine or sloppy hairstyles”. The principal added:  “Can you imagine if I were to say yes, I’d have everybody coming to school with a bald head. Sometimes it’s a fad, so they would take advantage of the situation.”

First, there is a difference between making a choice for your ego and making one for a worthy cause.

Second, it is not logical to generalize that a few girls going bald will start a wildfire of baldness. In the context of creating cancer-awareness, calling this a fad is uncalled for.

Third, being bald is the point. It draws attention to the cause by creating conversation.  Forcing the girls to wear wigs negates the point of shaving one’s head.

Fourth, we should pay more than just lip service to values-based education. If we want our kids to take their noses out from between their books and cast their eyes and open their hearts to the real world, then they should be encouraged to solve real-world problems and learn from them.

Keeping to the letter of the law and even the spirit of the law in this case does not make sense. The law does not make sense. There is a new normal and the law must change.

In the larger scheme of things, the cancer cause has even more publicity. That is a good thing. But I can only hope that the spotlight also shines on mindsets that need changing for the better.


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