I cannot remember reading as much as I have in any other ten-week period. My idea to take ED 633 Research and Writing and CSE 619 Big Thinkers in the same term was not very wise. However, I also believe this has proved to be a pretty successful challenge for me and an opportunity to both learn about intellectual property and strengthen my writing skills.
The authors we have read provided with different approaches to the topic at hand, and they all share the necessity to revise the actual terms of the copyright law. The special nature of intellectual creations has not been taken fully into consideration and, for what it matters, the limits have been established as if they were physical property. As a result, the control copyright holders can have over their creations step into the medium and creates a tax on creativity. Even Robert Levine (2011), the author who defended the rights of the content industry over those on the general population to access to information and culture, agreed in the need of some reforms.
In my opinion, each author has made an effort to provide alternatives to solve or at least palliate the undesired consequences that intellectual property and the Internet era have brought. An oversimplification of their proposals are going back to the previous opt-in/renewable system (Lessig, 2008, p. 262), protecting the public domain of culture and information as if it were a natural environment (Boyle, 2008, p. 230), involve the providers of Internet connections in establishing a blanket license to compensate the profit losses from free riders (Levine, 2011, p. 234), learn and divulge our rights to exercise fair use (Aufderheide & Jaszi, 2011, p. 154), and explore the networked information economy based on shared and non-market relations as a viable system of production that can coexist with the market-based economy (Benkler, 2006, p. 463).
As an educator, I can make use of each of these alternatives to introduce different economic concepts and discuss them with my students. Nevertheless, I have to admit that I particularly liked the approach from Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi (2011) because they promote self-education and the exercise of fair use as a fundamental right to contribute to the global culture.
I cannot foresee what will happen in the future with intellectual copyright but what I know is the traditional media industries need to adapt to this new scenario or they risk to disappear. We are no longer citizens that consume content: we also produce it. Massively. Last week I enjoyed a brief YouTube video from PBS Off Book, posted in June 6, 2013, where they specifically address this subject with the analysis of YouTube as a tool that has revolutionized entertainment.
And I would like to end with an example of the absurdity that can emerge from intellectual property taken to the extreme. We have recently know that a new coronavirus was first spotted last year in Saudi Arabia by Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki, who decided to alert health authorities and send samples for further analysis to Erasmus MC, a laboratory in Rotterdam (Denmark). This laboratory finally required the cooperation from a Canadian facility by sending them samples too. What we recently found out is that Dr. Zaki was fired for giving away the samples, and the Canadian facility spent more time trying to obtain authorization from the Dutch laboratory than researching due to a pending patent the latter had over the coronavirus. Fortunately, the coronavirus had not spread but it has the potential to do so. In the meantime, a threat to global health came not only from the virus itself but also derived from intellectual property issues. Judge it for yourself in this link to the article from CBS News, posted in May 19, 2013:
Thank you all for this opportunity and for your comments on my previous posts. I wish you all good luck in the finals and a great summer.
Aufderheide, P., & Jaszi, P. (2011). Reclaiming Fair Use. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Boyle, J. (2008). The Public Domain. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.
CBC News (May 19, 2013). Saudi coronavirus work stymied at Canadian lab. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/05/17/coronavirus-tracking.html
Lessig, L (2008). Remix. New York: The Penguin Press.
Levine, R. (2011). Free Ride. New York: Anchor Books.
PBS Off Book (June 6, 2013). Are YouTubers Revolutionizing Entertainment? [Video file]. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3-YxxqSN5c