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The blog of trogool has a useful delineation of the different ways “open” is used wrt Open Source, Open Standards, Open Access and more. The post points out that the open-access movement exhausts itself contending with the
same old misunderstandings over and over again.

To help fix that problem, the post offers a “brief, simplistic guide to
several flavors of open,” organized around the following questions:

  • What is the target of this movement? What is
    being made open? As compared to what?
  • What legal regimes are implicated?
  • How does openness happen? What are the major
    variants of open works of this type?

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Public Knowledge reminds us that the deadline is approaching to send comments to Victoria Espinal, the U.S. Intellectual Property enforcement Coordinator. Although the request for comments is geared towards stepping up enforcement efforts, Public Knowledge points out that the comment solicitation is open to the public and that it is a chance to ask the government to support balanced copyright.and to weigh in on new enforcement initiatives like like Internet filtering, three-strikes policies, and ACTA.

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Amy Blum

Amy Blum

Christine Borgman

Christine Borgman


Minow: What precipitated the new UCLA principles on the use of streaming videos and other educational content?

Borgman: UCLA, being near Hollywood, always has received extra scrutiny of our use of intellectual property. We are conscientious in our use of IP, in following applicable laws, and in educating our faculty and students about appropriate and inappropriate uses of educational and scholarly content. IP issues that rise to a level of campus concern are referred to the UCLA Information Technology Planning Board or the UCLA Advisory Board on Privacy and Data Protection, depending upon the specifics.

Our statement of principles was precipitated by a copyright dispute with AIME about our practices in streaming video for our courses. In considering UCLA’s response, our Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Scott Waugh, asked the ITPB and the Academic Senate to advise him and the Chancellor, Gene Block, about the educational principles of the case.

Minow: Can you describe the educational philosophy that guided the development of these principles?

Borgman: UCLA has embraced the concept of cyberlearning and the virtual classroom. University instruction has long ceased to be bounded by the four walls of a physical classroom. Students and instructors interact with each other, and with learning resources, on a 24/7 basis. The virtual classroom is the UCLA classroom of today. We are by no means alone in embracing this approach to learning. The pedagogical opportunities made possible by Internet technologies, distributed access, and new forms of course content are now critical components of higher education.

Educational content takes many forms, not only texts but also audio, moving images, and datasets. The virtual classroom and its capabilities directly benefit the learning experience of students by providing access to instructional materials at flexible times that ensure maximum productivity, when students best can contemplate and respond to the content.

Minow: Did you rely mainly on the TEACH Act or on Fair Use?

Blum: There are three provisions of the Copyright Act that support UCLA’s use; (1) fair use, (2) face-to-face teaching, and (3) the TEACH Act. Because these provisions provide limitations on copyrights, UCLA has the right to use content for its educational, non-commercial purposes consistent with each of these provisions. Streaming the content in the virtual classroom only to those students registered and participating in the specific course is integral to the pedagogy of the teaching environment and serves the very purpose that each of the provisions of the Copyright Act were enacted. This time-shifting and space-shifting has been deemed by the United States Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively, as well within the use permitted by the Copyright Act.

Minow: Does the possibility of sovereign immunity in case of a lawsuit enter into your analysis?

Blum: While the University generally does enjoy sovereign immunity that prevents liability for damages, I am not at liberty to discuss any specific legal analysis that may have been considered.

Minow: Do you know if any other universities are likely to adopt similar principles? How will it help the academic community at large if these principles are widely adopted?

Blum: I know that there has been interest in this issue in the Higher Education community. UCLA has decided that it is important to take a leadership position because of the value of ensuring that our students and faculty have the necessary tools and resources, including applicable technology, to provide the exceptional educational experience expected at our campus. It will be an entirely separate decision for any other institution as to its assessment of how the issue affects its mission.

[*] Christine Borgman is Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA, and serves as chair of the UCLA Information Technology Planning Board.

Amy Blum is Senior Campus Counsel at UCLA.

Mary Minow is Executive Editor of the Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Website.

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No, not according to James Grimmelmann. On our What’s New – Articles page, a new SSRN article appeared from the CPI Antitrust Journal, titled: The Amended Google Books Settlement is Still
New York Law School
(March 2, 2010). Grimmelmann argues that when it comes to “orphan books,” the proposed settlement would only shield Google from copyright challenges, and not its competitors. He imagines competitor “Two-gle” and walks through the paces scanning orphan works. The article is less than five pages, so take a look.

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Copyright for Librarians is a free course designed to inform librarians about copyright law, especially the aspects that most affect libraries. It has current information that has been field tested with international librarians on the following topics: Copyright and the Public Domain, The International Framework, The Scope of Copyright Law, Rights, Exceptions, and Limitations, Managing Rights, Creative Approaches and Alternatives, Enforcement, Traditional Knowledge, and Activism.

It is a joint project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL), a consortium of libraries from 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Minow: How did the copyright for librarians project start?

Dulong de Rosnay: came up with the project and contacted the Berkman Center to develop the course. The purpose was not only to teach librarians about copyright law in general, but also to raise awareness about problems that copyright create for librarians, especially in transition and developing countries, and about possible ways for librarians to change it at the national and international levels.

We started by collecting user requirements and expert advice to define the content focus and the distance learning methodology. Developing a course which might be self-taught raises design challenges besides the difficulties of providing an international overview of copyright which varies among countries.

A large team drafted and edited the course material, which was tested at two occasions by librarians: first, during a training at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then during a seminar at the East African School of Library and Information Science at the Makarere University in Uganda.

Minow: What exactly is the “Rotisserie”? Is that a model you found elsewhere?

Dulong de Rosnay: The Rotisserie is a distance learning platform which was developed at the Berkman Center and used to accompany many courses. It allows educators to send assignments to a group of enrolled participants, who are then prompted to comment upon their peers’ answers. It is a useful complement to the course material, as it can host group discussions following the individual study of the modules. However, the course is not linked to the Rotisserie and can be implemented on any platform, or used without additional technology.

Minow: How do you plan to keep the course up-to-date?

Dulong de Rosnay: The sustainability of the project is indeed very important. It is expected that users will provide feedback on the course and maybe translate, adapt and develop the material which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license allowing anyone to reuse it. At the end of each module, we include participatory homework based on the librarians’ local experiences and current legislation for their countries. The goal is to use this material to develop future versions of the course. An additional phase of the project would most likely be necessary to edit contributions and update the material.

[*] Dr. Melanie Dulong de Rosnay is a researcher in law and information science working on open licencing. A fellow at Science Commons when working on the Copyright for Librarians project at the Berkman Center, she co-founded Creative Commons France.

Mary Minow is Executive Editor of the Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Website.