Jane Secker – Copyright and e-learning: understanding our privileges and freedoms

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This keynote will argue that in order to teach online effectively you need a better understanding how of copyright works as this knowledge will be both empowering and enlightening. Copyright is not a subject that excites most educators or learning technologists. In fact it is probably not something that they think about a great deal. For those who do consider copyright, it can be a source of anxiety, conflict and even annoyance, hampering their ability to share content with learners.
Meanwhile for copyright owners, such as publishers, record companies and the film industry, digital technology, especially the internet has been a huge source of concern, as it becomes is increasingly easy for their content to be copied and shared with large numbers of people. Many business models have had to be reconceived and there are increasing attempts by media corporations to prevent illegal copying of their content using Technical Protection Measures (TPM). I will argue that whether we like it or not, copyright and licenses impact on all of our daily lives.

I want to consider where copyright laws come from and what copyright is, in addition to what its designed to protect. For me, a greater understanding of copyright is empowering for copyright users. Rather than restricting how we use technology for learning, a greater understanding of copyright, including both the privileges it confers on the copyright owner and the freedoms on the user, will help educators. Copyright is about ethics and a respect for others ideas, and a fundamental part of information and digital literacy. It is vital that the world of education embed these literacies into our pedagogies of the future. We don’t need young people growing up who are expert at reproducing other people’s work, we want critical thinkers who are creative and innovative and can find solutions to problems in the world. I will argue that an understanding of copyright, helps all of us approach education in a new enlightened way and suggest some approaches might help ensure knowledge and learning is available to be used in education, not locked up behind paywalls.

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