Comments on WEEK 6 - Hangout «Take off» (Ida Brandão)

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Ida Brandão
20 February 2013

I usually watch OLDS MOOC hangouts asynchronously, since they occur in working hours, and the technical conditions are better at home in the evening.

The discussion about OER and openly licenced material and copyright issues are never conclusive. As was refered by Marion there's much ambiguity about rights and a grey area where we can find materials in the Internet that have no licence but were meant to be shared and used. Prof. reeves himself stated that he's been made available materials for his students since 1993, without expressing any licence because the assumption is that students and other users may profit from them.

David Wiley says that the concept «open» translates «generosity». In the context of teaching learning relationships, I see no reason to be so eager about property rights. For each learning object  we produce how much have we borrowed from others?

I quite agree with David White when he says that for centuries teachers have been teaching without worrying with licences, rather on the quality of contents and tools and that the Internet was created for sharing and distributing, the original spirit was that, not to sue people for using things.

I also agree that the benefits of using good material available on the Internet are greater than the risks, I'd rather focus on ethical terms of use and acknowledgment of sources and that the context of using is also important, for personal use versus instuitutional use.

That doesn't mean we should be naive and not be aware of certains risks.

I remember many years ago we promoted the awarding of educational software and gave some incentives to publishers to distribute these products, in an attempt to open up this «niche market». We had awarded an interactive application with pedagogical exercises that were based on a school manual of portuguese language subject. The author of the book didn't allow the publication of the software.

This was my first confrontation with copyright issues. From a legal point of view there was no solution. I still find today it was morally reproachable this attitude because the teachers that programmed the software added value to the original work and were promoting it as well. But you can find endless arguments for each side.

Copyright law is a very complex issue and it's better to we stay away from law enforcement. Discussions are going on in Europe with Authors Guilds and Associations pushing for more control.

When giants are involved we don't want to be in the middle, like the recent legal discussions of Google and contents producers, and so on.

I'm hopeful that an open mind and sensible view about «opening up education and resources» shall prevail for the benefit of the world.

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