Tag Archives: ethics

Class notes 9/30/10

In today’s class we discussed information ethics, principally the issues around intellectual property.

Ethical Considerations:
“A wealth of new possibilities awaits those who employ the new digital tools for creating and delivering compelling new content, yet these same tools make it easier than ever to plagiarize and pirate content” (Pavlik, Media in the Digital Age, p. 234).

We began by discussing academic integrity and plagiarism.

• This article from the New York Times discusses the case of Jayson Blair, a journalist who fabricated and plagiarized news articles while he worked as a Times reporter: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/national/11PAPE.html

• This article from Time Magazine discusses the case of Kaavya Viswanathan, a Harvard sophomore who lost her book contract when it was revealed that she’d plagiarized from another author: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1189282,00.html

For the second half of class we discussed copyright, public domain and fair use:

• The American Library Association created this digital copyright slider to make it easier to determine whether a work is under copyright: http://www.librarycopyright.net/digitalslider/

• This copyright expiration flowchart from a law firm’s website also provides guidelines on copyright: http://www.sunsteinlaw.com/practices/copyright-portfolio-development/flowchart.htm

• This clever flowchart highlighting some of the differences between purchased movies (with digital rights management) and illegally pirated films: http://www.geekologie.com/image.php?path=/2010/02/25/piracy-full.jpg, while this comic tackles the same issue with downloadable music files: http://xkcd.com/488/

• One less restrictive alternative to copyright that many creators are using is Creative Commons licensing: http://creativecommons.org/. The search engine on this website can help you find copyright-free images, sound, and other media to use.

• Copyright-free doesn’t always mean that the creator won’t be able to make a living. CASHmusic is essentially a cooperative that uses a subscription or pay-as-you-like model to fund releases from participating musicians. While all releases are available for free download, limited edition or special issues are also available for purchase: http://cashmusic.org/.

Information ethics: some definitions

We’ll be covering a lot of ground in class tomorrow when we talk about the ethics of information use, so I thought it might be helpful to post some definitions for you to refer to. (We’ll go over this in class, too.)
See you tomorrow,
Prof. Smale

Some Terminology Relevant to the Ethics of Information Use:

“the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.”

Fair Use:
“the conditions under which you can use material that is copyrighted by someone else without paying royalties ”

Public Domain:
“the status of a literary work or an invention whose copyright or patent has expired or that never had such protection.”

Academic Integrity:
“Academic Integrity is the idea of faculty and students engaging in the proces of teaching and learning with a high level of respect for each other and great attention to the values of trust, honesty, and fairness.”

“the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”

Open Access:
“Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. ”

All definitions from Dictionary.com, with the exception of Academic Integrity, which is from the Academic Integrity at City Tech page on the college website, and Open Access, which is from Peter Suber’s Open Access Overview.

Two interesting articles

Rigoberto noticed two articles in this week’s New York Times that might be of interest to everyone:

Code That Tracks Users’ Browsing Prompts Lawsuits

Film Director Comes to the Defense of a Convicted Internet Pirate