Welcome to my blog on Quality, elearning, OER, OEP, OEC, and user generated content (UGC)

The posts in my blog will be both in English and Swedish.
Blogposterna kommer att vara både på svenska och engelska.

Monday, July 7, 2014

OCL4Ed, task 3 on Copyright

One of the task for OCL4Ed (task3) is about to reflect on copyright

Lawrence Lessig (2004) argues in his book Free Culture. How big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity that the default "© copyright all rights reserved" (applicable in most countries) contradicts the original purpose of copyright: to promote progress in science and the useful arts - a public good.The purpose is not to enrich publishers or authors, or to grant them undue influence on development and distribution of culture. So where does the common understanding of copyright as to be proteced for others to use and build further on come from. As Lessig argues:
...copyright was never intended to be primarily a vehicle for protecting the rights of the copyright holders. On the contrary, copyright was initiated specifically to promote learning by removing the perpetual rights of the copyright controllers transferring the rights to the authors and imposing a reasonable time limit on their privilege.

McGreal (2004) says that:

...copyright law was expressly introduced to limit the rights of the controllers and distributors of knowledge. Yet, these controllers are successfully turning a “copy” right into a property right. The traditional rights of learning institutions are being taken away. The balance for researchers should be restored. Research and learning must be allowed the broad interpretation that was intended in the original laws.

At an international level concerning copyright it is important to get an understanding of for example the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) and the Berne Convention

The law gives artists, authors, composers or other creative persons the right to decide how their literary or artistic works are to be used. Compositions in speech or in writing, computer programmes, databases, musical and stage works, works of pictorial art, architectural art, applied art - as well as all types of spiritual creation of a literary or artistic work - are protected by copyright law. Some issues on copyright for ceative work has to be followed:
  • Copyright is used to protect creative works
  • The form anr style of the exxpression is protected
  • Copyright requires often an expression in  a particular form
  • The work need to be original
  • No formalities are required
The task was also to reflect on copyright and CC in ones own country. Questions to be reflected on are:
  • Who owns the copyright of the teaching materials you create?
  • How do feel about the ownership of your creative works?
  • Is it right for institutions to claim ownership of education materials?

In my country, Sweden, we have signed the Berne convention. At universities we follow the copyright law, however it is often like that, that we apply teh sk "lärarundantaget", which means that the academics owns its own material which they have created. The law in breif as below (in Swedish):

Undantag från regeln att en arbetsgivare äger ensamrätten till ett verk eller en uppfinning som en anställd skapat som en del i sitt arbete.
Det finns två skilda undantag som båda benämns "Lärarundantaget": Dels ett lagreglerat som rör patenträtt till uppfinningar, dels ett undantag som växt fram i praxis rörande upphovsrätt till verk.

Patent på uppfinningar

Enligt Lag (1949:345) om rätten till arbetstagares uppfinningar (LAU) så har som huvudregel en arbetstagare patenträtt till de uppfinningar som en anställd skapar. Det finns dock ett undantag för "lärare vid universitet, högskolor eller andra inrättningar som tillhör undervisningväsendet" (1 § 2 st LAU).

Upphovsrätt till verk

Huvudregeln inom upphovsrätt är att den som skapar ett verk har upphovsrätten till det. För verk som skapats inom ramen för ett anställningsförhållande har dock en princip vuxit fram, enligt vilken arbetsgivaren får upphovsrätt till den anställdes verk, om sambandet mellan verket och anställningen är tillräckligt starkt.
För anställda lärare finns dock ett undantag från denna princip, som ibland omnämns som det upphovsrättsliga lärarundantaget. Enligt detta tillfaller upphovsrätten lärarna själva, i enlighet med huvudregeln inom upphovsrätt (det är dock oklart vad som gäller för datorprogram, jfr 40 a § URL). Detta undantag är baserat på sedvänja, som kan skilja sig mellan olika universitet och högskolor.

Vidare läsning

However, it is more and more discussed at Universities to apply CC, and at least discuss with the originator of the material.

Discussing Copyright it is crucial to consider that copyright provides protections for a number of exclusive rights for the copyright holder, like:
  • Economic rights relating to the rights to restrict reproduction, distribution and adaptations of the work
  • Moral rights relating to interests which are not financial or monetary
  • Related rights to protect persons other than the authors who are involved in the dissemination of copyrighted works
  • Transfer of rights relating to assignment of rights, licensing and transfer of rights
Copyright aims to balance the exclusive rights of authors with the general interests of society regarding access to knowledge and information. Furthermore, it is important to consider that copyright means:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Access to knowledge for the benefit of the public
  • Private or personal use
Creative Commons builds on copyright and its meanings. What is important to remember about CC is that it is easier to apply and to understand what one can do or can´t do, as it is cleared expressed by the originator her/or himself. So it is clear from the beginning both from the originator and for the user.

McGreal, R. (2004). Stealing the goose: Copyright and learningInternational Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 5(3). Retrieved on 30 December 2010.

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