A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Adobe Captivate 3: Is It Legal to Add Copyrighted Music to eLearning?

I'm not a copyright lawyer (and I don't play one on TV). However, I have had more than one copyright lawyer in my Captivate classes over the past few years who have agreed that it is "perfectly fine to use copyrighted music in Captivate projects, provided the lesson you create is meant for educational purposes and that you do not use more than 10% of the copyrighted works or 30 seconds, whichever comes first."

Siegel, Kevin A. Blogs.com (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


Anticircumvention Rules: Threat to Science

Scientists who study encryption or computer security or otherwise reverse engineer technical measures, who make tools enabling them to do this work, and who report the results of their research face new risks of legal liability because of recently adopted rules prohibiting the circumvention of technical measures and manufacture or distribution of circumvention tools. Because all data in digital form can be technically protected, the impact of these rules goes far beyond encryption and computer security research. The scientific community must recognize the harms these rules pose and provide guidance about how to improve the anticircumvention rules.

Samuelson, Pamela. Science (2001). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright


Applying Copyleft To Non-Software Information

Copyleft contains the normal copyright statement, asserting ownership and identification of the author. However, it then gives away some of the other rights implicit in the normal copyright: it says that not only are you free to redistribute this work, but you are also free to change the work. However, you cannot claim to have written the original work, nor can you claim that these changes were created by someone else. Finally, all derivative works must also be placed under these terms.

Stutz, Michael. GNU. Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Open Source


Authors' Rights   (peer-reviewed)

With the advent of powerful networked desktop computers and the World Wide Web, authors have for the first time acquired control of the technology for scholarly communication. That radical change prompts the question of how authors have in the past fared under copyright law, and how they might fare in the future. Anglo-American copyright law has always attempted to regulate the interests of three parties: the author, the publisher, and the public. Before there was a formal copyright law, royal patents granted to the Stationer's Company created printing monopolies and facilitated state censorship. The concerns of authors were hardly considered. The 1710 Statute of Anne, our first formal copyright law, left printers the dominant power in relations between printers and authors. What is most remarkable about the Statute of Anne is that the state's interest began to shift from censorship toward the creation of a public domain for intellectual property.

Bennett, Scott. Journal of Electronic Publishing (1999). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>History


A Brief History of US Fair Use

In our role as writing teachers, we’ve been asked to adopt 'post-modern practice' by releasing old-fashioned notions of single authorship and obsolete pedagogy that forbids plagiarism under a 'detect-and-punish' regime. Instead, we are to teach 'digital ethics' and Fair Use. But what exactly is 'Fair Use'? This is a doctrine we as writing teachers need to understand because while public figures such as Lawrence Lessig, Jessica Litman, and Siva Vaidhyanathan argue that the law needs to be changed, in the meantime we have classes to teach. Writing teachers increasingly teach writing on networked computers, and therefore our need to understand the basic doctrine of Fair Use is as great as our need to understand the rules of anti-plagiarism. This paper first reviews current US Copyright Law, and then briefly traces the concept of 'Fair Use' from its inception as 'fair abridgment' in 1700’s England to its current interpretation in US case law. US Copyright policy, the regime legally defining invention, imitation, compilation, and appropriation, is set through complex interactions between a variety of players. These influential interactions include the habits of writers. The tension between stakeholders who wish to share, and stakeholders who wish to contain and control information is viewed as a 'battle,' 'war,' and 'fight'. In this fight, the writing student and teacher thus become actors, willingly or not, determining how copyright operates. Because we as teachers are key players in the continual remediation of copyright policy, we should have a basic critical understanding of US Copyright Law and how Fair Use is situated within our copyright regime.

Rife, Martine Courant. Social Science Research Network (2006). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>History


But There's Only So Many Ways to do Something, Right?

We're often victims of design piracy. Roughly once a week someone emails us with an anonymous tip that someone has ripped off our "UI look and feel" and is using it for their own site or their own app. It's amazing what people and businesses think they can get away with. We send the violators an email letting them know they can't take our work, our words, our code, or our design. 98% of the time the violators respond favorably and take the design down or alter it sufficiently that it's no longer recognizable as our design. 1% of the time it takes a few emails before they acquiesce. And 1% of the time it requires legal intervention.

Signal vs. Noise (2007). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Web Design


A Call for Copyright Rebellion

Copyright law was originally intended to protect those who create for profit (Lessig used the example of recording artist Britney Spears). But academics also create original works, he said, and they are — or should be — motivated by a desire to advance human knowledge, not line their pockets. Therefore, sealing their work behind copyright barriers does no social good.

Kolowich, Steve. Inside Higher Education (2009). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Academic


A Call for Realism

If there once was an implicit social contract in this area, it has arguably broken down on a personal, day‑to‑day level in much the same way that it did during the prohibition of the 1920s. Enforcement of copyright laws remains nearly impossible under existing Internet architecture for the type of private copying that takes place in cyberspace on a daily basis.

Biegel, Stuart. UCLA (2001). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Technology Transfer


Can Filesharers Be Triggered by Economic Incentives? Results of an Experiment   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Illegal filesharing on the internet leads to considerable financial losses for artists and copyright owners as well as producers and sellers of music. Thus far, measures to contain this phenomenon have been rather restrictive. However, there are still a considerable number of illegal systems, and users are able to decide quite freely between legal and illegal downloads because the latter are still difficult to sanction. Recent economic approaches account for the improved bargaining position of users. They are based on the idea of revenue-splitting between professional sellers and peers. In order to test such an innovative business model, the study reported in this article carried out an experiment with 100 undergraduate students, forming five small peer-to-peer networks. The networks were confronted with different economic conditions. The results indicate that even experienced filesharers hold favourable attitudes towards revenue-splitting. They seem to be willing to adjust their behaviour to different economic conditions.

Quiring, Oliver, Benedikt Von Walter and Richard Atterer. New Media and Society (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Case Studies


Clearing Rights for Multimedia Works   (members only)

The ground-breaking aspects of undertaking to create a multimedia work are more than just technological; much as the technology is growing by leaps and bounds in response to the needs of creators and consumers, so also must the methods and techniques for transferring from owners to new creators the rights to utilize existing works. As this industry began to take on form and vision, much excited speculation and wonder quickly turned to disbelief, if not outright horror, as creators began to understand what a labyrinth 'clearing rights' would be.

Harper, Georgia K. University of Texas (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Multimedia


A Comparison of Academics' Attitudes Towards the Rights Protection of Their Research and Teaching Materials   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This paper compares two JISC-funded surveys. The first was undertaken by the Rights MEtadata for Open Archiving (RoMEO) project and focused on the rights protection required by academic authors sharing their research outputs in an open-access environment. The second was carried out by the Rights and Rewards project and focused on the rights protection required by authors sharing their teaching materials in the same way. The data are compared. The study reports confusion amongst both researchers and teachers as to copyright ownership in the materials they produced. Researchers were more restrictive about the permissions they would allow, but were liberal about terms and conditions. Teachers would allow many permissions, but under stricter terms and conditions. The study concludes that a single rights solution could not be used for both research and teaching materials.

Gadd, Elizabeth, Steve Loddington and Charles Oppenheim. Journal of Information Science (2007). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Academic


Complying with the TEACH Act

On November, 2, 2002, the TEACH Act (Act) became law, fully revising Section 110(2) of the U.S. Copyright Act, governing lawful uses of works protected by copyright in distance education. By complying with the TEACH Act, certain copyrighted works may be used for distance education without permission from, or payment of royalties to, the copyright owner—and without copyright infringement.

Indiana University (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


Considerations for Creative Commons Licensing of Open Educational Resources: The Value of Copyleft   (peer-reviewed)

Creative Commons licenses are important instruments for sharing open educational resources. This article will focus on the debate over two of the most widely used and contentious licenses: Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike. Drawing on lessons from the open source community, rhetorical theory, and my own perspectives as an advocate of copyleft, I offer some insight into the debate over these licenses, with particular emphasis on how Attribution-ShareAlike can help to build a sustainable education commons.

Lowe, Charles. Computers and Composition Online (2010). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


The Constitutional Law of Intellectual Property After Eldred v. Ashcroft   (PDF)

The past decade has witnessed an extraordinary blossoming of scholarship on the constitutional law of intellectual property, much of which focuses on copyright law. This article suggests that the scholarly debate will and should continue and that the proponents of constitutional limits are likely to enjoy some successes in the future, even if they did not do so in the Eldred case itself.

Samuelson, Pamela. University of California Berkeley (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Case Studies


Copyfight: The Politics of Intellectual Property

Explores the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development and technological innovation that creates--and will recreate--the networked world as we know it.

Copyfight. Resources>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Blogs


Copyright and the Internet   (PDF)

As original content takes on new forms in the rapidly developing and ever-changing digital publishing environment, copyright issues become increasingly important. Publishers that work with those authors who choose to link the information from their printed books to web pages can ensure that copyright violations do not occur.

Lemiski, Karen J. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Online


A Copyright Cold War? The Polarized Rhetoric of the Peer-to-Peer Debates   (peer-reviewed)

Participants in the United States’ ongoing debates over peer-to-peer transfers of potentially copyrighted files have regularly trafficked in the rhetoric of warfare. While it is easy to understand how copyright holders would view peer-to-peer file transfers as a kind of attack, the rhetorical turn toward the discourse of military conflict has radiated throughout the debate. Individuals from across the spectrum of opinions on peer-to-peer file transfers both accept and reproduce the positioning of this public policy debate as a life-or-death struggle. The weaknesses of this comparison are illustrated through reference to the history of the Cold War, often cited as a model for the post-Napster period. Further, the relative immaturity of the peer-to-peer debate is demonstrated through reference to rhetorical analysis techniques suggested by stasis theory. This article concludes by suggesting ways in which the currently stalemated debate might be revitalized by principled interventions from scholars and concerned citizens.

Logie, John. First Monday (2003). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright


Copyright Do's and Don'ts

Copyright is extremely important in our economy today. Intellectual property fuels our economy to a great extent: 1/3 of the market of US stock, and 42% of gross domestic product. A copyright protects authorship, either now known or later developed. There are fundamental concepts of copyright: it needs to be in a tangible form and it needs to be eligible.

Kinder, Meredith. Carolina Communique (2006). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright


Copyright for Corporate Information Professionals: Staying Within the Law   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Considers the role of copyright in the dissemination of information within the corporate sector. Examines the various forms of authorization available for companies using copyright-protected content to ensure compliance with copyright law. Discusses the distinction the law makes between copying for a commercial purpose as opposed to copying for a non-commercial purpose. Looks at the limited scope for businesses to rely on the copyright exceptions to justify their copying, particularly fair dealing. Considers licensing as a way of being able to do more than the copying exceptions would allow, and the interrelationship between contract law and copyright law. Outlines some copyright legal cases and the lessons we can learn from them. Sets out examples of copying activities that should be avoided if one wants to reduce the risk of being accused of copyright infringement.

Pedley, Paul. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Workplace


The Copyright Grab

The Clinton administration, through its white paper on intellectual property, is proposing a wholesale giveaway to its supporters in the copyright industry--at your expense.

Samuelson, Pamela. Wired (1996). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright


Copyright Law as Mediational Means: Report on a Mixed Methods Study of U.S. Professional Writers   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article reports on 12 select findings from a sequential mixed-methods, empirical study of U.S. educational-context professional writers composing for the Web. The study explores the status of knowledge and understanding of U.S. copyright law, levels of chilled speech, and the use of rhetorical invention in such digital writing contexts.

Rife, Martine Courant. Technical Communication Online (2010). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


Copyright Matters Online   (PowerPoint)

A PowerPoint presentation on recent developments in intellectual property law, and their cultural significance to content producers and consumers.

Johnson-Eilola, Johndan. Clarkson University (2001). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright


Copyright Web Sites

A collection of links to high-quality intellectual property websites that focus on copyright.

Stanford University. Resources>Intellectual Property>Copyright



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