Thursday, October 25, 2007

Acedemics Just Don't Get Digital Rights

copyright symbolMuch of the furor sorounding "Digital Rights" has been emanating from College/University campuses, where huge amounts of illegal file sharing takes place, using the school's networks. The following article recently appeared on ZDNets Technology News Blog:

Politicians just don’t get it by ZDNet's Marc Wagner -- If we want to keep Washington lobbyists out of Education IT, we need to enforce our own codes of conduct with regards to copyright infringement. It is THEFT, plain and simple and if we don't pursue student misconduct ourselves, Congress will mandate solutions which will impede our educational mission for years to come.

Here was my response:

Disclaimer: I'm one of those "politicians" and have also spent the past 20+ years working in IT.

This issue is not complex. Current laws should be obeyed/enforced, until they are repealed/replaced.

It's illegal to copy and redistribute almost all commercially produced music, video or software. When you have a bunch of elitist academics tacitly supporting the theft of copyrighted materials and universities more interested in promoting their football teams than civics/ethics, you wind up with the situation you have now.

Che Guevara Copyright holders see as much chance of voluntary compliance or enforcement on college campuses, as they see for underage drinking, by the same irresponsible whelps who are all glad to break copyright law if they "feel" like it. If they saw mandatory ethics and civics classes being taught, as a apposed to diversity training and Marxism 101, perhaps they would be more willing to take a less aggressive approach to the problem.

It is my opinion that most of the knowledge worth knowing has little or nothing to do with popular culture. Saying that keeping the miscreants from Kazaa and other P-2-P tools will slow down or stifle true academic pursuits or learning is a disingenuous red herring.

If people want copyright laws changed, they should get involved in the political process. Students, try writing (not email, not text message) your elected representatives and in complete sentences, lay out a well reasoned position on why you think current copyright laws need to be changed and what you think they should be. "Teachers," get off your fat, tenured buts and teach these kids how to be productive, law-abiding citizens and how to work within the system to effect positive change!