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Monday
Dec152008

Your brave predictions!

 

The Pew Research Center recently released "Future of the Internet III: How the Experts See It."

Since they didn't ask me, I am not sure how they came up with the title. Anywho, here are some of the article's "brave" prognostications about the Internet of 2020...

  • The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.
  • The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.
  • Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
  • Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing "arms race," with the "crackers" who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
  • The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.

  • "Next-generation" engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.

To all of these I say, "Well duh!" These predictions are so 2008!

Blue Skunk readers, gaze deeply into your crystal ball, Koi pond, or wine glass and do BETTER than the Pew's "experts." Cripes, 2020 is what (20, take away 8, let's see...) about 12 (exponential) years away.

I'll start you off...

1. Equipment. No more clunky iPods requiring pocket space and thin white cords. We'll all be wearing glam geek glasses with the computing power in the stems, holographic images on the lenses, and cochlear implants wirelessly transmitting sound. (Those voice you now hear from the toaster might be real!)

2. Content. Paper textbooks and reference materials will all be completely replaced by e-books - all accessed online, most written in in a Wikipedia-type arrangement. Actually, short text will be the only reading anyone under 30 will do since most complex information and communication will be done via audio, visuals, and iconography. Read for fun? The same people who now think going to the opera is fun might.

3. Interface. Internet III in 2020 will basically be Second Life in 3-D on Virtual Reality steroids. Let's walk into the virtual library and pull down those audio books we want to listen to. Visit to the sexy librarian avatar. My daemon (a blue skunk, of course), an intelligent agent that follows me from place to place on the Internet, will always be with me and use my past buying habits, learning experiences, and mistakes (should I make any) to offer suggestions and advice whenever I ask.

See you in 2020. Let's hear your bold predictions!

Monday
Dec152008

Understanding Creative Commons Pt 2

This post and the previous post are a draft of an article I've been asked to write for a school library magazine on Creative Commons. I'm sharing the draft here hoping readers will add suggestions for clarification, additions, or other sorts of improvements.

If you can't take advantage of your readers, just who can you take advantage of? I look forward to your comments. Thanks - Doug

 

Creative Commons and why it should be more common (Part Two)

Implications for K-12 education

Consider these scenarios:

  • A student needs photographs and music for a history project, but can’t find what he needs in the public domain or in royalty-free collections…
  • A teacher has developed outstanding materials that teach irregular Spanish verbs. She has posted them a website and now regularly gets e-mails requesting permission to use the materials.
  • The media specialist is frustrated trying to help his junior high students understand the rights that intellectual property creators have over their own materials. The kids just aren’t able to see the issue from the creator’s point of view.

In each of the scenarios above, Creative Commons licensing may offer a solution. There are three primary uses:

1. Students and teachers need to be able to find and interpret CC licensed materials for incorporation into their own works. Common advice given to both students working on projects and to teachers creating education materials is to abide by the fair use guidelines of copyrighted materials, search for materials in the public domain, and to use royalty-free work in order to remain both legal and ethical information users.

There are two main ways to find Creative Commons licensed materials. CC has a specialized search tool at <http://search.creativecommons.org> and there is a list of directories by format at <http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Content_Curators>. Both can both be effective. Google Advanced Search also allows searching by “usage rights.”

2. Teachers should assign a Creative Commons license to materials that they are willing to share with other educators. As K-12 teacher produce and make available course materials on the web, they will need to understand how to giver permissions. (Check with your local school district to see who owns the copyright to materials that are teacher produced.) MIT’s OpenCourseWare and Rice University Connexions, two formal post-secondary learning materials repositories use Creative Commons licensing.

3. Students should be required to place a Creative Commons license on their own work to increase their understanding of intellectual property issues. Only when students begin think about copyright and other intellectual property guidelines from the point of view of the producer as well as the consumer, can they form mature attitudes and act in responsible ways when questions about these issues arise. And as an increasing number of students become “content creators” themselves, this should be an easier concept to help them grasp:

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet, up from 57% of online teens in a similar survey at the end of 2004. (Teen Content Creators, 2007)

Students need to know what their rights as creators and IP owners are. This may help combat the misperception that only big, faceless companies are impacted by intellectual property theft. A popular view is that it acceptable to steal from big companies but not from the small fry. Too often students and adults forget that many large companies are made up of small stockholders and employees. Publishing companies also represent the interests of individual artists, writers and musicians - whose ranks students themselves may one day join.

Developing empathy toward content creators who hope to profit by their work, helps all of us place copyright into context and perspective.


The legal aspects of intellectual property sharing have been outstripped by the mechanical means of copying and distribution. Understanding and using Creative Commons both a content consumers and content producers might help narrow the technology/acceptable use gap.

Spread the word.


Resources:

  • Creative Commons website < http://creativecommons.org/>
  • Creative Commons wiki <http://wiki.creativecommons.org/>
  • 7 Things You Should Know about Creative Commons” EDUCAUSE <http://connect.educause.edu/Library/ELI/7ThingsYouShouldKnowAbout/39400>


Videos

  • A Shared Culture <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DKm96Ftfko>
  • Wanna Work Together? < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3rksT1q4eg>
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LuMaxArt_Gold_Guys_With_Creative_Commons_Symbol.jpg
This file is licensed under CreativeCommons AttributionShareAlike2.0License
Monday
Dec152008

Understanding Creative Commons Pt 1

This post and the next is a draft of an article I've been asked to write for a school library magazine on Creative Commons. I'm sharing the draft here hoping readers will add suggestions for clarification, additions, or other sorts of improvements.

If you can't take advantage of your readers, just who can you take advantage of? I look forward to your comments. Thanks - Doug

Creative Commons and why it should be more common (Part One)

 

You’ve heard yourself on countless occasions tell students, “Assume everything on the Internet is copyrighted!”

Sorry. That’s not exactly good advice anymore. Authors, videographers, musicians, photographers, well, almost anyone who creates materials and makes them publically available has an alternative to standard copyright licensing: Creative Commons. As library media specialists, we need to understand this relatively recent invention and its implication for our staff and students.

Why Creative Commons?

The Creative Commons website explains its mission as:

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."


In other words, Creative Commons (CC) is an alternative to traditional copyright. The creator can assign a variety of rights for others to use his work – rights that are usually more permissive than copyright, but more restrictive than placing material in the public domain. CC makes sharing, re-using, re-mixing and building on the creative works of others understandable and legal.

Inspired by the Free Software Foundation’s GNU General Public License, the non-profit Creative Commons organization was founded in 2001 by Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig. As a part of the “copyleft” movement, Lessig and others believe traditional copyright restrictions inhibit cultural and economic growth. A growing number of content producers want to allow others to use and remix their materials – and in turn be able to use and remix the content of others. CC licenses make this legal.

While Creative Commons was started in the United States, about 50 other countries (as of late 2008) have “ported” the licenses to work with their copyright laws. More countries continue to be added. The “International” tab on the CC homepage lists the cooperating jurisdictions.

Understanding Creative Commons Licenses
While initially this looks complex, a basic understanding of the types of licenses and how they can be combined is relatively simple. There are only four “conditions” of a CC licenses:


These four conditions can be combined to form six different licenses that specifically describe the conditions they wish to apply to their work. These are, from least to most restrictive, as described on the CC website < http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses>:

Attribution Share Alike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

Attribution No Derivatives
This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

Attribution Non-Commercial
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.

Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

How to use CC for one’s own work
Determining which license one wishes to use has been made simple by Creative Commons. By answering just two questions at http://creativecommons.org/license

  • Allow commercial uses of your work?
  • Allow modifications of your work?

the appropriate license will be generated for your work, either as embeddable code for a webpage or as text:

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Continued in next post...