Friday, July 25, 2008

Veering toward the political for a moment

The problem with letting your brain go on vacation is that you miss major news for a few months and then one day you wake up and discover that your federal government is trying to make your academic life more difficult. So, have you heard about Bill C-61?

"New Copyright Bill Harms Educators and Researchers" - Canadian Association of University Teachers Bulletin.

"Lock up that Lecture Good & Tight" - Laura Murray.

Seriously, Bill C-61 is bad news for Canadian academics. I'm going to have to wholesale copy and paste the "Limitations" section of the Bill's Education and Research Amendments fact sheet
because this is where you really see the problems (with my own italics for emphasis):
  • Technology-Enhanced Learning: Schools would have to ensure that Internet access to a lesson is restricted to teachers and students in the course and that the lesson could not be copied or distributed by students. After a course has ended, schools would have to destroy the recordings of the lessons from that course.

    Schools must also take measures to limit the distribution of digitally delivered course materials to students in that course, and to prevent students from copying or distributing course materials (e.g., other than making one print copy for themselves).
  • Educational Use of Internet Material: Teachers and students could not rely on the exception if their use of the Internet material has been restricted by a digital lock or prohibited by a clearly visible notice. The exception would not apply to material posted on the Internet without the consent of the copyright owner.
  • Library Materials: The patron receiving the electronically transmitted material [from interlibrary loans] could not make permanent copies, digital or otherwise, other than a single print copy, and could not distribute it further. Electronic access to the material would terminate after five business days.

    The library must ensure that only the intended recipients receive the protected material and that they abide by other conditions set out in the provisions.

According to the Canadian Library Association's statement, that last limitation would "force many libraries back to delivering interlibrary loan via paper copies" because of a lack of resources available to digitally lock these journal articles (which would slow down the research process, and be both a financial and environmental nightmare). And destroying all online course notes if they contain any copyrighted materials? Seriously, this is a bad idea.

And did I mention that you could be fined $500 for having downloaded music on your computer?


Teacher Lady said...

This is such a gong show, research is going to become such a nightmare.

trillwing said...

Welcome to the U.S. way of doing things! Control and punish, control and punish.