Tech Task #9 – CopyLeft

A documentary by Brett Gaylor.

Brett states, “… a media‐literate culture emerged, able to download the world’s culture and transform it into something different.”    Being media-literate is more than just being able to navigate the internet. I believe being media-literate is being able to decipher your way through the internet. Being able to tell the good from the bad and the true from the untrue is media-literacy. This is the “reading” part of media-literacy. The “writing” part of media-literacy is the ability to take what’s on the internet and rewrite, rework it and reuse it. Literacy used to mean reading and writing but now it means making sense of all the messages that we are bombarded with. When students only read books it was fairly easy to understand that everything you read was true and valuable. In my opinion media-literacy is just 21st century literacy.

I definitely understand that in our society, people need to make money in their field. Musicians, actors and the alike need to be successful in their field as well, so in that case, copyright is a good thing. I also understand that copyright greatly diminishes the creativity we can have on the internet, and it truly disadvantages our learning. Everything we know now is based on something we knew before, that is how we learn. So by protecting what we know now we are discouraging what we could know.  All things considered, I believe that the public should be able to legally use material that has been provided on the internet, based on the fact that they give credit to the original “creator”. This is the way it works with written material, why not audio and visual material? This solution is not close to perfect, nor is it even good. What a hard problem to solve. I feel as though I would be more on the side of the artists and the actors it more of the money went to them, and not the giant corporations who own what they do.

When we look at the case of Walt Disney, we see that much of his work could be considered “stolen”. In that case, if he used other’s ideas then anyone should be able to work off of Walt Disney’s ideas. I like the idea of creative commons. If you use someone else’s idea, your creation must also be under creative commons. You cannot claim copyright because it is not your own and therefore it is in the public domain, free to be recreated and remixed. The song from the cotton field shows us it is hard to prove that anything you created is indeed original, therefore more movies, music and licences would be public domain.

Speaking about copyright’s impact on medicine, Gillis states,”… maybe your idea is slightly different, but they hold a patent on a core part of your idea, so you know a lot of times it’s out of the question. It holds back the knowledge exchange. Very clearly, so many things are just not developed because people are holding a patent on it. The cure for cancer could be a step away, but it’s off limits. They may sit on that idea forever and do nothing with it.” I feel that the very core of this problem is our need to be at the top of the consumer food chain. People want to be more famous, more beautiful and have more money. Scientists who could combine their ideas to cure or prevent diseases do not do so because they want to take all the profit for themselves. I believe if we were more focused on the common good of all, that people would share ideas that would move the medical field along faster. Because our consumerist society does not look like it will be changing anytime soon I don’t see the problems in the scientific medical field being solved too soon.

I am very undereducated on copyright. I believe that as a pre-service teacher I should understand the laws better so that I do not encourage copyright infringement in my kids or do it myself. This video helped a lot and I appreciate the author for educating people about this situation while putting so much at risk. I would recommend spending the time to look at the copyleft side of the issue.

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