I am reading a fascinating book called ‘Born Digital - Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives.’ I know that the distinction digital native and digital immigrant is problematic for some, but this book is discussing what our world may look like when its movers and shakers is made up of the generation that have grown up online, the ‘Digital Natives’ of the title.
I am currently reading the ‘Creators’ chapter in which the authors are discussing the re-mix or mash up culture of the Internet. One of the themes that has struck a chord as I am reading is the whole notion of copyright, especially how that may impact upon schools. The authors cite fan fiction as an example and the Harry Potter fan fiction site in particular. When the book was published the HP fan fiction site had 45, 000 fan fiction submissions on it, each one technically a copyright infringement, yet the creators are not intentionally setting out to make money from their endeavours or intentionally infringe the copyright of Boomsbury press or J K Rowling. To their credit the copyright holders have not taken any action, but legally they could.
Most teachers would be delighted to have students willingly write so much, so enthusiastically, yet that very act is a copyright infringement, especially if this re-mixed content is shared online in any form. Schools are increasingly using blogs, wikis and all manner of web 2.0 applications to display and give authenticity to their students work, it is very likely that some of that content will infringe copyright. Schools are in a world of grey, and someone is going to fall foul of this in the near futre and I fear be held to account, very publicly.
So what does this mean? In his video, Michael Wesch