February 07, 2005

COPYRIGHT: Who Owns Weblog Content?

Interesting story from Information Week on copyright and other legal rights associated with employee blogs and RSS - issues that are likely to crop up more and more often as blogs become more popular.

Confidentiality, ownership, and liability are all significant questions in employee blogs. For example, when an employee is asked to maintain a blog as part of his/her job, it can be seen as a simple work-for-hire situation where the content is owned by the employer, but things get more complicated when employees maintain personal blogs that trade in some way on the employee's status with a company.

The article presents a nice synopsis of these issues, touching a bit less on issues related to RSS, such as aggregators' right to essentially "republish" content through sydication.

(link via slashdot)

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2005

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Issues in Online Learning

From the e-learningnetwork site, the article Intellectual Property Issues in Online Learning (PDF file) provides a nice overview of issues, with a focus on repurposed materials for media-rich courses.

(link via e-Learning Centre)

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2004

COPYRIGHT: Key Case Decided

Wired News reports a California judge's ruling this week that Diebold Election Systems misused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when it issued cease-and-desist letters, threatened litigation, and demanded damages and fees from Swarthmore students who posted and linked to internal company memos concerning security flaws in its voting system.

A provision of the act makes it unlawful to use the DMCA to demand takedown of an item when the copyright holder knows that infringement hasn't occurred.

EFF cites this as an important ruling that will help encourage colleges and ISPs to stand up to false threats, rather than give in to them out of fear of litigation.

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

COPYRIGHT: Bits and Pieces

Some Web gleanings on copyright issues...
  • Complementary essays on reserving rights from writer Amy Gahran and open source software developer Travis Swicegood
  • This white paper from the r-smart group, Open source - opens learning (PDF format) is a good introduction to this topic for newcomers. It provides a simple definition of "open source" in the context of learning, illustrates the differences between open source and proprietary approaches, and provides an overview of the open source movement in higher education.
    (link via elearnopedia)
  • A handy copyright handbook from NYU Libraries that includes a printable version.
Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Penguin (finally) Does the Right Thing

The whole katie.com fiasco has been a long and nasty affair, but it seems that a satisfactory resolution for Katie Jones may be in the works... According to a press release on their site, Penguin has finally decided to rename the book A Girl's Life Online.

I'd like to believe that Penguin came to this decision after realizing that they had done Katie Jones a wrong turn, but as it's been about four years since the book's publication, it's more likely that this change in heart was due in large part to the response from the Internet community after the conflict was slashdotted this week.

A movement to call for a boycott within the Amazon.com reader reviews was cut short on Thursday when Amazon unceremoniously deleted a couple of hundred reviews mentioning the boycott (curiously, as of this posting Amazon has not deleted one review on the site that claims that Jones is a pornographer who is trying to slander Tarbox).

Penguin admits no wrongdoing, of course...as it states in their press release

After the book was released into the market, it was brought to Dutton’s attention that a website of the same name existed on the Internet. The fact that the book, Katie.com, and the website shared the same name was purely coincidental.

Yeah, right.

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2004


penguin2.gifEvery time I read another article about the attempt of Penguin and one of its authors to hijack the katie.com domain name from its rightful owner, I need to have a valium and a lie down.

For those few of you who haven't already read about this on boingboing or slashdot, Katherine Tarbox's book, which involves her experiences as the 13-year-old victim of an online predator, was given the name "Katie.com" despite the fact that the publishers were aware that this domain had been owned since 1996 by Katie Jones, a small-business owner in the UK. (Apparently, the publishers had originally thought to name the book "Girl.com" but decided not to do so when they realized that there was already a porn site at this address.)

The unwanted attention drawn to the site by the book has been a problem for Katie Jones, as detailed in the open letter on her blog. As Jones notes, Tarbox's lawyer also informed her that the problem "will only get worse" and suggested that she "donate" the domain name to them.

Without dwelling on the irony inherent in the fact that the book in question is about abuse of the Internet, I am appalled at the loutish arrogance of Penguin, Tarbox, and their lawyers, as well as their blithe disregard of the effect of their decision on Katie Jones and their fat-headed refusal to make any sort of amends.

Since Tarbox, her lawyer, and Wiredsafety have now set up a new domain that doesn't use the book's title, one can hope that their further efforts to promote Internet safety will not continue to infringe on the rights of Katie Jones.

UPDATE, Aug. 7: Penguin finally decides to do the right thing.

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2004

OPEN CONTENT: Friends of the Creative Domain

The Friends of the Creative Domain - a UK activist group created to foster free culture, free software, and open content - has put up a Wiki for gathering and organizing materials related to its campaigns. Its first project is to help the BBC win the right to put its archive of TV and radio programming online in the next version of the BBC's Charter, which is currently being negotiated.
(link via BoingBoing)

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

COPYRIGHT: This Song Is My Song

thisland_main2.jpgIt was only a matter of time... the JibJab brothers, creators of the seemingly ubiquitous "This Land" parody, have been threatened with a lawsuit by the holders of the copyright to Woody Guthrie's classic song, who apparently fear that the parody will somehow corrupt the song's message. This is a particularly interesting development, considering Guthrie's standard copyright notice:

"This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."
(link via EFF)

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2004

COPYRIGHT: Fair Use & Academic Publishing

A transcript from a discussion earlier this month at the Chronicle for Higher Education on the tension between fair use and copyright claims.
(link via OLDaily)

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2004

COPYRIGHT: Stop Thief!

In CogDogBlog this week, Alan Levine saves me some trouble and addresses this common student question:

"what code can I use to prevent people from viewing/stealing the source code of my web pages?"

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2004

COPYRIGHT: Illustrated Story

The Illustrated Story of Copyright by Edward Samuels, now out of print, is available online. With many examples and most (but not all) of the illustrations from the original text, this is an interesting and lively read (well, at least for a book about copyright).

There's a low-bandwidth version that contains thumbnails of the illustrations, as well as the high-bandwidth version. (Unfortunately, in both cases the formatting and layout are a bit bizarre, making the pages confusing and hard to read...You might be better off printing out sections you're interested in from the thumbnail version and looking at the images online.)

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2004

RESOURCES: Other Places

samplecourses.gifSample courses. The Open Learning Initiative is an interesting project from Cargnegie Mellon to provide online courses and to build a community of use. Check out the first courses available - introductory courses in Economics, Statistics, Causal Reasoning, and Logic - which include simulations and other interactive components (the logic course was unavailable when I looked at this).
(link via OLDaily)

Wiki. Creative Commons is building a democratically maintained Wikipedia of Free Culture, and everyone's invited.
(link via Boing Boing)

Using Flash. A good introductory article from Learning Circuits on using Flash animations to author e-learning.

Plagiarism. The CBB Plagiarism Resource Site is a collaborative project by Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin Colleges to build a clearinghouse for resources and news on this topic, including an online quiz to test your plagiarism IQ.
(link via Kairosnews)

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2004

LINKING: Clueless Permission Policy

This weekend, the newsblog Boing Boing pointed out a particularly silly permission policy by FastCompany magazine, which states that users can link to the site "at no charge" once they sign and fax a formal permission agreement.

A number of companies have attempted to institute unenforceable policies like this one, which are generally ridiculed and ignored by the Internet community.

The policy itself is here, under "Web links".

Update June 29: Boing Boing reports that Fast Company's newly revised linking policy is still lacking

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)