I have to admit that the more I learn about copyright the more frustrated I seem to become with it. I used to think that copyright wasn’t too overbearing, it just lasted too long. However, the more I learn about the restrictions that copyright places on use, even fair use, the more ridiculous copyright laws seem to be. The most infuriating thing I learned this week about copyright is the ways in which new copyright laws impact Fair Use.
Fair Use is the idea that even though a work may be copyrighted, that copyright has certain holes in it that allow for people to freely use the work under certain conditions. James Boyle, in his book The Public Domain compares this view of copyright to swiss cheese, and reminds us that “that the holes matter as much as the cheese” (2008, p. 65).
I think this is a good metaphor because these these holes were not removed in order to save some pieces of the cheese for others. Rather the holes exist in the very making of the cheese. Likewise, when copyright is enacted to restrict use of material, it automatically has some holes in it that allows some uses to slip through. These fair use “holes” allow for the following free uses of a copyrighted work … or at least they did until 1998 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The Swiss Cheese Metaphor no longer works in the world of the DMCA because the DMCA found a way to restrict fair use. So I present another metaphor, one of traveling down a path.
Copyright creates a monopoly over the path (the resource) that someone would like to use. This means that if I want to go beyond the wall of a copyrighted work I have to pay for access to it.
Luckily, fair use says that I can have access under the circumstances previously listed. This opens the wall and gives me a road to travel down, so long as I don’t leave the road.
However, that changed with the DMCA. Under the DMCA, I can only use the road IF THE ROAD IS UNPROTECTED. If the owner of the copyright has taken measures to protect that road, usually through some kind of encryption, then I cannot use the road. And it doesn’t matter how easy or difficult it is to get past the protection, if the protection is there, then fair use of what lays beyond it is restricted. The Authors Alliance explains it this way:
“In 1998, Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”), which includes a provision, Section 1201, that makes it illegal to circumvent technological protection measures (like digital rights management, or “DRM”). Section 1201 makes it incredibly difficult for authors to make fair use of many digital works because breaking the DRM may be illegal, whether or not the use is fair. For example, if an author were to create an e-book that commented on a video clip from another work, the author might not be able to rely on fair use to incorporate a copy of the DRM-protected video clip in his or her work.” (Read the rest at https://www.authorsalliance.org/2018/03/02/fair-use-and-the-digital-millennium-copyright-act/)
So, regardless of whether there are many strands of razor wire …
… or only a single, easily clipped strand of razor wire,
if a copyright holder has taken any precautions that protect their digital media, then that media cannot be considered fair use. I believe we need to get back to allowing the fair use freedoms that are intended to be included with copyrighted works. Copyright is meant to have holes, we cannot allow copyright holders to say “Sure you are allowed to have access to my work for fair use, but only the parts I want!” Doing so is a restriction of our creative freedoms.
In the modern day, I have heard many arguments about copyright; however, some of the best arguments I have heard come from Thomas Jefferson (1813) and Thomas Babington Macaulay (1841). I have reproduced them below, along with a graphic of Macaulay that summarizes my thoughts on the matter.
The Jeffersonian Warning, from a letter to Isaac McPherson, 1813
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possess the less, because every other possess the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.
Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from [inventions], as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from any body. Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, on copyright before the House of Commons, 1841
We must betake ourselves to copyright, be the inconveniences of copyright what they may. Those inconveniences, in truth, are neither few nor small. Copyright is monopoly, and produces all the effects which the general voice of mankind attributes to monopoly … I believe, Sir, that I may safely take it for granted that the effect of monopoly generally is to make articles scarce, to make them dear, and to make them bad. And I may with equal safety challenge my honorable friend to find out any distinction between copyright and other privileges of the same kind; any reason why a monopoly of books should produce an effect directly the reverse of that which was produced by the East India Company’s monopoly of tea, or by Lord Essex’s monopoly of sweet wines. Thus, then, stands the case. It is good that authors should be remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil; but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good.
I understand the necessity of copyright for protecting the creative works of authors, designers, etc. Yet, authors no longer benefit from such protection after their death, much less 70-95 years after their death. Current copyright extends much beyond a “day longer than is necessary.”
I am excited to be taking an Introduction to Open Education Resources this semester led by the amazing Dr. David Wiley and Olga Belikov. As part of the course we have been asked to create some kind of artifact to share every week by Thursday afternoon that illustrates what we have learned. My artifact this week was inspired by a post one of my best friend’s made on social media this week. The post had the following comic with a caption that read “The great millenial bamboozle.”
What I have learned during the first week of this OER course is summarized by these points.
1) Education is the act of sharing. They are synonymous. Education is what happens when one person or source shares ideas with someone else.
2) Copyright laws have made it difficult to share ideas in order to educate people because we live in a society in which the inner two-year-old in us (or the inner Finding Nemo seagulls) often win out over our generosity by loudly yelling “MINE! MINE! MINE!” and once ideas are written down or represented in some way, the artifact containing those ideas becomes the intellectual property of its creator.
3) Creative Commons licenses or Open licenses allow us to increase our own generosity by providing others with easy access to our created works, i.e., the representations of our ideas, and allows other to Retain, Revise, Remix, Reuse, and Redistribute those ideas.
4) Ideas are not private goods, but public goods. Once I share my idea with someone else, I do not lose access to that idea. However, when I print my idea in a book, the book becomes a private good where only one person can access that copy of the book at a time. This allows us to commercialize education instead of making education open and shareable. Digital technologies and the Internet make it easier for use to create representations of ideas that are and remain public goods.
With these ideas in mind, I thought of the comic above and education seemed to become this kind of abusive relationship where ideas are only shared if there is some kind of give-and-take. Usually manifesting in “I will share my ideas with you if you give me your money.” OER make this relationship more generous by encouraging ideas to be shared openly without the need to give something in return. I therefore present “Be Open: In Support of OER” a comic.
For my Advanced Evaluation in Education course, we were assigned to create a mind map or presentation of some kind that communicates our understanding of evaluation and its intricacies. For my project, I chose to design an infographic that illustrates a metaphor comparing the roles that evaluators play to the roles in a traditional role playing game (be it video game or table top).
When I began the project, it was overly ambitious. I had determined that I was going to include several sub-classes for each of the RPG roles, i.e. Tank, Support, and Damage per Second (DPS). I brainstormed that Tanks would be further divided into Warrior, Knight/Paladin, and Dark Knight. For Supports I was trying to decide how I would divide the different support roles and what labels I would use. I came up with three different categories of Support characters: (1) White Mage/Healer/Cleric/Priest, (2) Troubadour/Priest/Bard/Songstress, and (3) Tactician/Scholar/Sage/Strategist. I faced a similar problem with DPS trying to choose between: (1) Archer/Hunter/Ranger, Black Mage/Wizard, and Monk/Rogue/Mercenary. As I began to detail each of the sub-classes, I realized that I was going to end up with lots of overlap (which usually exists in RPGs anyway), and that I was too focused on creating RPG classes instead of making comparisons to evaluation. Thus, I decided to only including the three basic categories of roles, and focus on my comparisons within them.
Despite concluding this project for now, there is more that I would like to do. I limited myself to an artboard that was 8.5 inches by 11 inches, so it would fit on copy paper. I would like to enlarge the artboard so I could add more content. I would like to provide more details about each evaluation method as a rationale for why I placed them where I did, e.g., explaining why I think Tank characters are formative and internal as opposed to summative and external like DPS characters. I also would have liked to list famous evaluators under each class. For example, I would have liked to add a section to the Tank category called TOP TANKS that listed evaluators like Tyler, Provus, and Weiss; a section for SUPPORTS called SUPER SUPPORTS that listed evaluators like Stufflebeam, Alkin, Guba, and Lincoln; and a section under DPS called DISTINGUISHED DPS featuring names such as Scriven, Eisner, and Accreditation “Guilds.” If I had more time, I would love to create a larger poster with more evaluation details, and more recognition for leading evaluators.
Since I was unable to share my rationales on my infographic, I decided that I would share them here. In RPGs, Tank characters initiate battles and are the first into the fray. For these reasons, I related them to internal evaluators who complete formative evaluations. Tanks also tend to focus on objectives so they know where to lead their party. This focus on goals makes tank evaluators most suited for program and goal-oriented evaluations.
Support characters tend to be the party tacticians. Supports help the rest of the party choose which actions to take based on the ways in which their support abilities can turn the tides of battle. The decision making aspect of the support’s role makes them understandably well suited for decision-oriented evaluations. As part of providing information for making decisions, support evaluators can be external or internal, but are mostly formative in nature. Support evaluators also collaborate with party members to choose the best actions, which makes them well suited for participant-oriented evaluations and capacity building.
Lastly, DPS characters are the primary damage dealers in RPGs. They usually try to stay out of the central fray, allowing tanks to take damage while they damage adversaries. Due to their fragile nature, DPS players are usually more experienced than tanks, using their knowledge to decide when to attack and when to retreat. DPS characters are also usually the characters that determine whether a battle is won or lost. Due to their experience and opportunity to influence the outcome of a battle, DPS evaluators are mostly external summative evaluators. This makes them well suited for metaevaluation and expertise-oriented evaluations. Finally, due to their expertise, DPS evaluators may sometimes approach an evaluation using a goal-free approach.
I really appreciate the opportunity we were given to express how we make connections to the field of evaluation, and how those connections help us understand the field. If you would like to read more about my design process for this project, you can do so here.
We are completing an exercise in class that reminds me just how hard writing can be. The goal of the exercise is to write an introduction to a research question in such a way that it logically leads to the research question.
The introduction should be shaped like a funnel, starting broad and then ending by arriving at the narrowly constructed research question.
I think I may struggle so much with this because my research question may still be too broad, so it’s difficult to narrow my funnel. Yet, here is where I’m at with the exercise.
Step 1 - The Question
I began by writing my research question down; however, I will not post it here in case you want to try and test my funnel yourself. You can see my research question in my previous blog post.
Step 2 - Creating Levels
I began writing the levels that would be needed to introduce my question. Here they are:
Lvl: For many U.S. citizens, education is the focus of the first 18 years of their lives. In fact, most states have Compulsory Education Laws
Lvl: We worry more about outcomes than experiences.
Lvl: But there may be a way to do both.
Lvl: The psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes a feeling of complete and energized focus in an activity that has a high level of enjoyment and fulfillment that he calls Flow.
Lvl: Flow Theory states that there are eight mental states that can be experienced during any activity.
Lvl: Researchers have analyzed how components of Flow impact work and leisure, from factory work to surgery, and from active-leisure (e.g., playing a musical instrument, playing a sport, or carving) to watching tv.
Lvl: But little has been done to observe: “The Question”
Step 3 - The Rough Funnel
I then connected the steps into two introductory paragraphs. Here is the funnel:
Education is the primary focus of the first 18 years of most U.S. citizens’ lives. In fact, most states have Compulsory Education Laws that require school attendance for students between certain ages. In evaluating and planning for the education of these K-12 students, social and political forces tend to focus much more on the outcomes of attending school than on the emotional experiences of attending school. Focusing on outcomes is incredibly important; however, because states mandate that students spend somewhere between 8 and 13 years enrolled in an educational institution, we should focus on making these years academically enriching and enjoyable.
One of the reasons K-12 education can be un-enjoyable is because it does not meet the personalized needs and desires of individual learners. Personalizing instruction based on students’ abilities and providing students with clear feedback concerning their progression towards educational goals can both improve educational outcomes and make education more enjoyable. Flow Theory can be used to create a framework for personalizing education in a way that makes K-12 education enriching and enjoyable. The psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes “Flow” as the feeling of complete and energized focus, accompanied by a high level of enjoyment and fulfillment. Csíkszentmihályi claims that Flow is attainable during any activity if a task’s difficulty matches a person’s ability level and if a person can receive nearly immediate feedback about the improvement of his or her abilities. Learning in a K-12 classroom is an activity that could also benefit from Flow Theory. Researchers have analyzed how components of Flow Theory affect the outcomes and enjoyment of work and leisure, but little research has been done to observe: ____________.
Step 4 - Test the Funnel
I asked several people to read my funnel to see if they could arrive at my question. My wife had the most success at arriving at my question, but she has a pretty biased perspective and can fill in the gaps my brain makes. I also asked a couple of fraternity brothers; they got pretty close. My classmates and advisor felt like the second paragraph was a bit derailing with all of the Flow Theory stuff, so I worked to cut it down.
Step 5 - Revise the Funnel
I took the feedback from Step 4 and arrived and this new version of the funnel:
Education is a primary focus of the first 18 years of most U.S. citizens’ lives. In fact, most states have Compulsory Education Laws that require school attendance for students between certain ages. In evaluating and planning for the education of these K-12 students, social and political forces tend to focus much more on the outcomes of attending school than on the emotional experiences of attending school. Focusing on outcomes is incredibly important; however, because states mandate that students spend somewhere between 8 and 13 years enrolled in an educational institution, it is important to focus on making these years academically enriching and enjoyable.
Students may find the K-12 years to be unenjoyable because the experience leaves them feeling unfulfilled. Schools can likely change this if they will match individual students’ abilities to the learning tasks they are asked to complete. Csíkszentmihályi (1990) says that matching individual ability level to task difficulty creates Flow, the feeling of complete and energized focus accompanied by a high level of enjoyment and fulfillment. Researchers have shown that components of Flow increased the feelings of enjoyment and fulfillment for work and leisure activities (Csíkszentmihályi, 1994), but little research has been done to answer the question: ______.
Step 6 - Repeat Steps 4 and 5 to Satisfaction
I’m not entirely convinced my funnel is done, but I tested it with many more people this time around, ranging from K-12 and Higher Ed. educators to other graduate students, and I even added a very healthy dose of help from some former students working in education or on undergraduate degrees. There seemed to be much more consensus this time around, and I’m thankful for all the help I received.
Guesses close to the mark included:
“Whether utilizing the Flow approach to education will positively impact students’ success during and after primary and secondary education.” - Former K-12 student and Valedictorian
“If all students were impassioned by the subjects they were studying and projects they were completing, how much more would they learn?” - Former K-12 student working in education
“How beneficial Flow could be to the students of today, and how can it maximize their ability to adapt and learn as they move into the future?” - K-12 pre-sevice teacher
“How can schools increase Flow?” - K-12 teacher
“Where has Flow been show to be effective, and does this research have enough trasnferability to K-12 to show it would be worth the time of [implementation and testing]?” - Fellow graduate student
Guesses further away were:
“Is our current system of education providing enough mental stimulation for our children and teaching them not only to learn but to enjoy the process of learning, or is our primary focus on improving test scores with little to no regard for students mental aptitude and involvement; and if the latter is the case, is it possible to overhaul our archaic system and shift the focus from test scores to mental involvement?” - Rather jaded former K-12 student
“Whether the traditionally structured school day vs. something different has actually led to true achievement.” - K-12 Instructor
“Can we play a game?” - Higher Ed. Instructor
This blog presents thoughts that Cecil has concerning current projects, as well as musings that he wants to get out for future projects. For questions or comments on his posts, please go to his Contact page.
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