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