Posts Tagged ‘Copyright’

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Class 8: Content and the Produser

November 22, 2018

One of the links to the reading material for the week was broken so John gave the class some time to catch up before getting into the discussion around content creation and the concept of ‘produsage’ proposed by Prof Axel Bruns.

We spoke of the changes brought about by the migration from the print medium to digital. One of the principal outcomes is the shift from mediated content, where ‘gatekeepers’ such as newspaper editors, publishers and so on, commissioned and controlled the flow of information to the public. Digital media has eliminated this necessity – authors are now free to connect directly with their readers and viewers through blogs, YouTube and even sites like Wikipedia where the public is invited to edit contributions. As a result, consumers of news and information are required to be their own editors. We need to be more discriminating in our consumption, unable to rely on the frame of reference that was previously provided by knowing the perspective of the newspaper we read, for instance.

Bruns’ proposal is that the web has facilitated the rise of new types of collaborative communities that require a new word to describe their activities:

Produsers engage not in a traditional form of content production, but are instead involved in produsage – the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement. –produsage.org

John suggested that your own blogs are another example of content creation. The ubiquity of the internet supports the niche interests in a way that mass media publishing never could. The extremely low cost base means that anyone with access to the web can share their interest with like-minded individuals and develop a community.

Finally, I referred to the question of value. Does all content have value? How can content developers monetise their material? How can you protect it? For more on copyright read the post from this time last year A Word about copyright.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: the short story The Ones who walk away from Omelas by Ursula K Le Guin, 1973 [accessed on 24/11/18].
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Class 8: Content creation

November 29, 2017

Class began with a discussion around reputation, and in particular, reputational damage, arising from the texts given for reading last week. We started by considering the difficulty in conveying subtlety in the online environment where text alone makes things like humour, emotion and empathy difficult to create. Emojis, CAPS, bold and italic can only go so far! In addition, we have to be careful of auto-correct, reply-all and the plethora of time-saving options that can cause untold problems if triggered accidentally. The examples discussed show that while our digital history coming back to haunt us may seem unfair, it is a very real phenomenon.

This led on to a discussion about creating and generating ‘content’. Content was described as anything we make: text, image, illustration, photograph, graph, chart, music, recorded speech, etc. Ascribing value to this content is not a science but an art. The beauty of the web is that its scope and span means there is nearly always someone somewhere who will value the most obscure content.

However, copyright is an issue. It was somewhat simpler to protect copyright when the means of copying required skill, access to tools, time and funding. Now, digital copying is instantaneous and simple. It is becoming more difficult to protect our work.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Write the sixth post: to your blog describing the final preparations for the presentation of your project. Concentrate particulary on your own contribution and how it aligns with that of your fellow team members.
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A word about copyright

November 26, 2017
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Copyright law can be complex in today’s world but the concept originated in 6th Century Ireland when books were created from vellum.

Some of you have been asking about copyright, in the context of using images for your projects. Copyright is an automatic right and it means that anybody who creates an image or a text that can be copied is the automatic owner of the right to copy that creation. Therefore, if you want to copy something created by somebody else you need their permission first.
Nevertheless, some people are happy to allow others the use of their work, in fact they may want wide exposure and so encourage the use of their creations, so long as the user doesn’t earn any money for it. You may have seen such work listed as Creative Commons – this blog is covered by Creative Commons for example. In addition, many copyright owners do not mind if their work is used in an educational context by students, so long as it is not for profit, or wide circulation.
Copyright provides limited protection because it is not enforced by the state. Any individual who believes their copyright has been infringed has to take a private case to court and prove it – this can be costly and risky.
However, copyright runs out in time. Once an image or text is out of copyright anybody may use it freely.
Copyright originated in Ireland in the 6th Century when a dispute about the ownership of a copied vellum (calfskin) manuscript led to the judgement that ‘To every cow belongs her calf, therefore to every book belongs the copy.’ You can read more about copyright in the wikipedia History of copyright law. For more on copyright law see wikipedia on Copyright.
So, the best guidance is that if you use images from the web be careful that you are not using copyright images unless absolutely necessary. There are many images to choose from that are free of copyright. Also, it is always a good idea to credit anybody else’s work so you cannot be accused of passing it off as your own.
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