Clay Shirkey stimulates lots of ideas…I enjoy his talks!
So, is there a “law” open source equivalent? A law git-hub? Open Congress is one attempt. How well does it work?
Clay Shirkey stimulates lots of ideas…I enjoy his talks!
Finance reform is long overdue. I see the similarities (and differences) between the two industries: pharmaceuticals and financial products. Both industries have a problem with too much inbreeding-the interrelationship between the regulators and the regulated creates the opportunity for collusion. Dr. Ariely says it clearly in this post. Finance, Meet Pharma.
Information on the web is free for anyone to use. That’s what I’ve heard students say from time to time. It is relatively easy to debunk that myth by discussing creator’s rights under copyright law.
What’s more challenging is helping faculty identify that same principle: we know there’s a a copyright law. We know there’s an exception to that law called fair use. What is more difficult is to determine whether our conduct fits within the definition of fair use.In the article Have College Professors Become Digital Pirates?, Andrew Chow, J.D., discusses this very issue. Universities and faculty have been sued for including copyrighted material in e-reserves, for copying videos from film to digital format (UCLA won that one) and for digitizing books. As the article notes, there are several factors courts consider in determining whether a use constitutes fair use, including the purpose and type of use, the amount of use and the potential impact copying would have on the market. Many Universities devote websites to assisting faculty (and students) determine fair use (see e.g. the Copyright Clearance Center’s Checklist).
This does raise a question I’ve raised before: shouldn’t copyright law be changed to address the new ways information is made available? Shouldn’t videos, as digital information, be priced differently? Should copyright law be changed to make it easier for educators to use copyrighted information in the interests of furthering knowledge? I consider it a great compliment if someone uses what I’ve created (it’s still a rare occurrence, though!). I would like acknowledgement, so others can find and use it, but feel no obligation to chase after someone who used what I created.
Would I feel differently if that someone was not an educator, but a corporation that made money from my work? Probably-I’d expect that corporation to provide me some compensation, that way we could both share in the profit made. More importantly, though, my work, my words, what I’ve developed, has not been developed in isolation. I have stood on the shoulders of giants to get where I am today. So, I am happy to share and help others learn.
[Sometimes, I find something so interesting that I discuss it in my blog, even though it’s not directly related to teaching. Then again, I teach sports marketing law, so arguably this article fits into all those categories!]
As football fans, we’ve heard rumors that this happens: that players are paid a bonus for knocking other players out of the game.
I’ve always believed that that’s what happened to Rich Gannon, former quarterback for the Raiders. His “attacker” nicknamed “Goose” at the time, is now a commentator for FOX Sports. Pleasant enough, but I still look askance at him every time I see and hear one of his reports. Each time I hear Goose, I mean Tony, report, I wonder how much he was paid to land Gannon’s game- (and career-) ending injury. And to top it all off, Gannon’s injury was the beginning of a long, dry spell filled with a vast number of losses. Diehard Raiders fans know what I mean.
So, now a new story breaks. The story is that many players and teams had bounties paid for knocking out opponents. According to the linked article and other sources, the Saint’s defensive players set up a pool that paid a bounty depending on whether the player was knocked out ($1500) or carted off ($1000). Apparently the Redskins, Bills and Titans [and perhaps the 2001 Ravens-the team for which Goose played when….well you know!) had similar schemes. Mind you, none of those teams in this paragraph [except the 2001 Ravens] have won a Superbowl in, well, forever. Maybe that’s why they may have participated in this scheme. In the other hand, the Saints won a Superbowl recently, so maybe they participated in desperation to win again, soon and not fall into the post-Superbowl slump.
Football is a rough sport. That’s the fun of it for the fans (and I assume for the players). I am softie and completely pain averse-I don’t like causing or being the recipient of painful…anything. Yet on Sundays I’m there with other Raiders fans (who are not known for their kindness or tolerance) wanting to see players play their hardest. And hopefully win.
But this is different.
There’s winning according to the rules of the game and winning at all costs. A team could win a game by shooting the players of the opposing team.
A team and its players could increase its chances of winning by putting rocks in their gloves or elbow pads or knee pads and tackling hard. A team could increase its chances of winning by bribing a referee (Oh, wait a minute, that’s basketball!). A team could increase its chances of winning by videotaping opposing teams’ hand signals (that’s football, and Superbowl winners, too). Winning at all costs is NOT what I want to see. I want to see a fairly fought contest that results in the “better” team winning.
But the legal issue is whether these kinds of hits, motivated by receiving a bounty, constitute hits outside the rules of the game. Are these hits are so far outside the rules that the perpetrators should face criminal and civil liability? In the examples I gave earlier: shooting players, placing rocks in their gloves and pads, it’s easy to say that there should be criminal and civil liability to the perpetrators.
The conduct in the examples is so far outside the rules that it is easy to argue that there should be liability: that the perpetrators should be prosecuted and face jail time AND that the perpetrators should face civil (tort) liability and pay damages, including punitive damages, to the victims.
But what about the conduct in the current scandal? Does the additional motive (receiving the bonus) mean that the players who participated should face criminal liability? Or should they face civil liability? Or both? Or neither?
This is my take.
No jail time. The additional incentive is barely distinguishable from other incentives: players’ regular pay, additional pay for reaching the playoffs and the Superbowl. In 2009, Players’ median salary ranges from a low of nearly $540,000. $1500 is less than 1% of their salaries or $150 if your salary is $54000 per year. Motive is not an element of a crime, but prosecutors’ often look at motive to convince juries that a person’s conduct was unacceptable.
Payment of Damages. Yes, the players’ involved should have to pay civil damages (not just a NFL fine) that include payment of all medical expenses (to the insurance companies if appropriate), lost wages and pain and suffering. And those players should have to pay punitive damages. I’d recommend a set multiplier, e.g. 10 times the compensatory damages.
Ejection from the league. Yes, those players who caused more serious damage that resulted in a player not being able to play again. [Maybe this is my Gannon-revenge rearing its head again.] I would argue an “eye for an eye” but the idea is that if the activity had that consequence, players should be liable for it.
Let’s buttress the fines that teams pay so that it hurts them to engage in this conduct. No slap on the wrist and a new, lucrative coaching contract for breaking the rules. Remove teams from the playoffs if the team has more than 2 players who participated and the victims were carted off or knocked out. Remove their playoff wins if the team has more than 4 or 5 players who participated and the victims were carted off or knocked out.
Make the price for the team so high that the team owners, coaches and players don’t engage in this kind of conduct.
I am very excited! The results for the multiple choice-true false section of the first test were great! In this class, I am testing the use of Twitter as a social media supplement to the class. I explain how I’m using Twitter in this post. In sum, students must post tweets 4 times per week (once during each of two classes per week and two outside of class).
Why am I excited? There were more “Bs” and less “Ds” this semester than with the first exam for last spring’s course. I haven’t made a complete analysis yet-I’m waiting to finish grading the essay portion of the exam, but compared to last year, the numbers are up. Last spring, on the first exam, the grades ranged from 12-27/30; the median was 73.3 percent; and the average was 72.6 percent. This semester, on the objective portion of the test, the range was 11-18/20; the median was 80%; and the average was 77.5 percent. Look at this comparison of the grade distribution for spring 2012 and spring 2011:
These are promising initial results, although I need to do more research and analysis to determine the cause of this good result and whether it can be sustained.
This is what Lolu, one of the students said about the way Twitter was used in this class:
In the article, Do Students Have Copyright to their Own Notes, Erica Perez summarizes the arguments pro and con for students owning their class notes. The specific concern was that students were uploading the notes onto websites and, in some cases, purporting to sell them.
Students’ notes are copyrighted by the students and students should be able to do anything they want with them, including sell them (although California law makes that illegal) or post them on a website. After all, when students take notes, they’re adding their interpretations of what their instructors present in classes. This is true whether the students copy from a faculty-member provided outline or whether students create and outline the notes solely from lectures or other presentations. And notes memorialize what students heard, so they can use them to study, to study with others in the class and to help students who did not attend class.
So, why the fuss? Faculty believe that the notes students take during class are based on instructors’ intellectual property. That intellectual property is the faculty members’ in-class presentation of research (sometimes) or other information that the faculty members have developed over time and often at great effort and expense. But let’s examine that point more closely. Most faculty did not create this knowledge independently–they created it by “standing on the shoulders of giants” in their fields and building on those giants’ research and knowledge. Although the instructors present their “take” on the knowledge and the faculty’s presentation is thus copyrightable/copyrighted and valuable, that doesn’t mean that the students cannot copyright their “take” on the information. Each individual’s interpretation of the information has value-and copyright law permits that value to be protected.
This raises a larger issue, though, the issue of “knowledge” in general and the copyright law in particular. In education, we remain wedded to the notion that knowledge resides solely within the purview of the instructor. Think about it, though. According to Google, there are nearly 130 million books (and it plans to digitize all of them). As of August 2010, Google has digitized approximately 12 million. That does not include other works, such as peer-reviewed articles available in paper and electronic format. It’s impossible for any one faculty member to have mastery over any significant part of that. In fact, that’s the reason that teaching information and digital literacy is so important-it’s not only having some knowledge that’s important, it’s equally important to be able to find and critically evaluation the information that’s available everywhere.
Most of us in higher education teach behind closed doors. We enter the classroom and the teaching and learning that occurs behind that door is a secret between the teacher and the students in that course. When students finish that course, they are to emerge with greater knowledge than when they entered. And I hope that’s true. Appropriate assessment can help faculty determine whether that has occurred.
Yet access to information has changed and so, too, must faculty’s role. The recitation and Socratic method of questioning so popular during Socrates’ time was based on the idea that Socrates had “read all the books” and as he presented his oratory he questioned his students to ensure that they were “getting it,” partly because the students hadn’t “read all the books.” Now, students have access to the books and access to a wide variety of digital resources-credible and non-credible. As technology continues to improve, students will be able to use their cell phones to access far more resources than the faculty. Faculty’s role must change to one of assisting students evaluate and manage that information, in addition to passing on the key concepts of a discipline. This evolution involves disruptive, transformational change in the way faculty promote and assess learning.
And copyright law has its own problems in that it, as Lessig would say, stifles creativity. I agree. If we continue to restrict access to information, that will, of necessity encourage underground versions of information or stifle creative versions of information.
So, should students own the copyright to their notes? Absolutely! Does that have an impact on education? Yes, as long as we continue to teach from behind closed doors. Should it have that significant an impact? Absolutely not! Let’s move past this discussion to work on institutional change in the way we teach.
In the article 12 More Law Schools Face Lawsuits Over Job Placement Claims, the article’s author, Katherine Mangan, reports on the increasing number of law schools that have been sued for overstating the job prospects of their graduates. The articles lists the law schools that are the defendants in this latest round of lawsuits. The law school defendants include for profit and other law schools, including, for example, DePaul University College of Law and Hofstra Law School.
Where does critical thinking fit into the law school graduates’ plans? The lawsuits are disturbing because critical thinking seems to be in short supply. No job placement statistics are guarantees. Job placement statistics provide information on the employment of past graduates-not guarantees that current graduates will find jobs. Critical thinking requires, among other things, that people analyze and evaluate information (see the revised Bloom’s taxonomy as pictured in this post) based on reflection, observation, evidence and reasoning. These are, I would hope, hallmarks of legal analysis and are reasonable expectations for those who have up to 7 years of post-secondary education. It’s disheartening to think that law school graduates have not developed those skills as well as I’d like to think.
Or maybe this is evidence that law schools will do anything, even attempt to mislead, in order to make money through recruiting graduates (and future donors).