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EdTech Update





The subversive view of copyright

It was this posting on LM_Net about downloading YouTube videos to one's hard drive that triggers this post:

This has been the subject of a lot of discussion on the Australian list because, according to the Terms and Conditions of Use, you cannot do this without the express permission of the video owner.

This is from the Terms of Use website
"You may access User Submissions solely: for your information and personal use; as intended through the normal functionality of the YouTube Service; and for Streaming. "Streaming" means a contemporaneous digital transmission of an audiovisual work via the Internet from the YouTube Service to a user's device in such a manner that the data is intended for real-time viewing and not intended to be copied, stored, permanently downloaded, or redistributed by the user. Accessing User Videos for any purpose or in any manner other than Streaming is expressly prohibited."
This was brought to our notice here when one of our members noticed that Jamie McKenzie was advocating downloading clips in an article he had written, so she wrote to him and he changed what he had written!

I have obviously been reading too many comments from people like Tom Hoffman, Peter Rock and Stephen Downes since this was my reaction...

I say go ahead and download YouTube videos regardless of what the "terms" say. Here is why:

  1. I sincerely doubt there is any case law existing that would indicate whether YouTube's statement holds any legal water. When such a condition exists, you should ask yourself if it is any harder to ask forgiveness than permission when making a decision that is questionable. If you are abiding by _most_ of the fair use indicators and it leads to a better educational experience, don't wait for permission. Just do it. (Jamie, don't be a wimp!)
  2. We should stop wasting our time fussing about this petty ante stuff. Downloading a YouTube video has about the same degree of criminality as stealing a sugar packet from a restaurant or driving 2 miles over the speed limit. Yeah, technically it may not be legal - but who really cares except those folks who never left Kohlberg's Law and Order stage of moral development. How is a kid downloading a illegal song any different from us stealing an apple from a neighbor's tree when we were young? - other than the fact we were simply mischievous and today's kids are criminals!

rant.jpgI am growing more and more convinced that we are simply tying ourselves in knots worrying about what people shouldn't be doing - especially on petty matters. (Who exactly suffers if a movie is shown in school as a reward rather than in direct F2F instruction?) Perhaps we should approach copyright to teaching people what rights they do have, about being honest when we don't know if something is legal or illegal and erring on the side of the consumer, and about using the morality of a situation rather than the legality to make a judgment. Ask me, we are genuinely in danger of creating a bunch of scofflaws out of our kids and teachers. (Read a more erudite expression of this on Joyce Valenza's blog.)

OK, have at me. Strip me of my library epaulets. Drum me out of the league of copyright cops.

But I said it and feel better for it.


What is the best site for checking hoaxes?

I really want most urban legends to be true. - from My Biases
They told me I was gullible... and I believed them.-  from Doug's t-shirt says

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day. A great time to pass along a good urban myth or two - or more likely, receive them from one's colleagues.

Where do you head first to check out whether that long circulated story about cookie recipes, Kentucky Fried Rat or a tourist photo taken from the top of the World Trade Center dated 9/11 has any basis in reality? And more importantly,  do you teach or kids and staff to verify the accuracy of those amazing factoids received by e-mail?


These are my standby sites to check hoaxes

  • Snopes - the granddaddy of urban legend checkers. Wide scope and good search engine. Very current.
  • Truth or Fiction - this is a new site for me. Concentrates on information spread via e-mail.
  • Hoaxbusters. (U.S. Department of Energy) Hmmmmm, off line today. Good site if you believe the government can be trusted.

Going to keep this short. I need to send a box of Neiman-Marcus cookies to a terminally ill boy and get my mail to see if that check from my Nigerian partner has come yet. Remember not to put your PIN number in backwards or the police will be summoned and that cell phone use causes Alzheimer's.


 Oh, check these out!

Gmail Custom Time
 Virgle: The Adventure of Many Lifetimes





One in, one out


I thought about Mr. Creosote this morning after getting an e-mail from Miguel Guhlin inviting me to join his Diigo network.

No, Miguel, it wasn't the body shape that triggered the connection.

For those of you who may not know or remember, Mr. Creosote was an archetypal glutton played by Terry Jones in the 1983 Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life. Creosote eats, vomits and eats more until a final mint, as I remember, causes his entire body to horrifically explode.

I am worried that Diigo just might be that final 2.0 mint. At what point does one's social networking time commitment become so consuming that one figuratively explodes?

I am therefore adopting the same rule I apply to adding books to my bookshelves, clothing to my closet and RSS feeds to my reader - for every item I add, I toss one as well.

I believe it to be the only path of sanity and survival. Entirely too much of my life is already taken up by trying to keep up.

So, for those of you who kindly ask me to try something new, please include in your invitation that which you belive I should also dump.

Much obliged.

Oh, I am guessing our classroom teachers feel much the same way I do - if not more so. As technology "pushers," do we ever suggest those things that can be dropped - or only things we think they should be adding?