Tag Archives: copyright

UBCFA issues blanket opt-out for faculty in response to UBC’s greedy grab for intellectual property

Today the University of British Columbia Faculty Association presented a letter to the University administration declaring a blanket opt-out from the provisions recently enacted in Policy 81  (Use of Teaching Materials in a UBC Credit Course). In enacting Policy 81, UBC granted itself the right to use, share, and revise teaching materials of its faculty.

Policy 81, is an unprecedented move in Canadian higher education, which violates principles of academic freedom, Canadian copyright law, and UBC’s own copyright guidelines. UBCFA has argued that Policy 81 undermines customary sharing of teaching materials among faculty by commodifying them. UBCFA informed FA membership of “the legitimate concern that Policy 81 was passed so that the University could grant rights to itself of faculty members’ teaching materials so that the materials could be commodified to serve the purposes of the Flexible Learning Initiative.”

On February 20, 2014, the Board of Governors passed Policy 81 outside its regularly scheduled meeting process. The UBCFA has opposed Policy 81 as drafted, revised, and implemented at all stages of discussion with the University.

In an article published by The Ubyssey on April 9, Associate Provost Hugh Brock defended the individual opt-out provision, as opposed to an opt-in approach:

[A database of teaching materials is] “only good if it’s up to date, it’s searchable and compliance is high,” said Brock. “Most professors are updating their courses every year. The likelihood that we could keep, curate and get people to send to a repository is zero.” (The Ubyssey, “Policy on sharing teaching materials opposed by Faculty Association,” 9 April 2014).

The UBCFA has points out that

Brock’s comments demonstrate that the University is not interested in the current practice of voluntary sharing of teaching materials that has historically and traditionally occurred at the University. Instead, it wants to make sharing compulsory unless you state otherwise. The suggestion within the policy that ownership remains vested with the faculty member who created the materials is totally meaningless and hollow once the University can use your teaching materials at will, including revising them and giving them to others to use.

In March, the UBCFA filed a grievance against the University over Policy 81. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has begun the process of censuring UBC in response to Policy 81.

White Stripes Protest Super Bowl Ad for Air Force Reserve

From RockRap.com:

White Stripes Protest Super Bowl Ad for Air Force Reserve

In song, at least, the band the White Stripes has boasted that it can hold off a seven-nation army. But now that rock group is taking on an entire branch of the United States Armed Forces, contending that it misused one of the band’s songs in a commercial that was promoted as a Super Bowl Sunday ad.

At issue is a commercial for the Air Force Reserve, set to an instrumental track that the White Stripes say is an unauthorized version of their song “Fell in Love With a Girl.” To make the point, at the Web site of its record label, Third Man Records, the band has juxtaposed the video for that song with a link to the Air Force Reserve commercial, inviting listeners to judge for themselves. (Update: the commercial appears to have been pulled from the Air Force Reserve Web site.)

In a statement posted Monday evening on the Third Man Records site, the White Stripes wrote:

We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management.

The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.

The White Stripes support this nation’s military, at home and during times when our country needs and depends on them. We simply don’t want to be a cog in the wheel of the current conflict, and hope for a safe and speedy return home for our troops.

We have not licensed this song to the Air Force Reserve and plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.

A Call for Copyright Rebellion

Today’s Inside Higher Ed reports on Lawrence Lessig‘s call for copyright rebellion at the Educause Conference in Denver. Lessig is an open access advocate and law professor at Harvard University.

Lessig basic argument is that “the manner in which copyright law is being applied to academe in the digital age is destructive to the advancement of human knowledge and culture, and higher education is doing nothing about it.”

Academics — presumably stakeholders in the effort to advance knowledge — have been uncharacteristically and disturbingly silent on the copyright “insanity” that has befallen the information trade, Lessig said.

“We should see a resistance to imposing the Britney Spears model of copyright upon the scientist or the educator,” he said. “…But if you would expect that, you would be very disappointed by what we see out there in the scientific and and education communities.” Scholars, he said, have allowed the copyright conversation to be steered by lawyers and businesses who are not first and foremost to intellectual discovery.

To them, Lessig delivered a simple message: “Stop it.”

See this, for example.

Fair use vs. “libertarian” scholar’s pocketbook

From: E Wayne Ross
Subject: Re: copyright violation
Date: October 4, 2009 2:52:22 PM PDT
To: Joel Spring
Cc: Naomi Silverman, William Pinar


I put the first two chapters of your book and the epilogue on my course blog for the students in my doctoral seminar to read in preparation for your visit to campus and meeting with the seminar on Wednesday, Oct 7.

With such a short lead time before your visit—about 3 weeks from when I heard you were going to be on campus and available to meet until next week’s seminar—I felt the most practical approach for students to have a common reading of your work was to post something to the blog.

The course blog is very low traffic (see the attached pdf of Google Analytics for Sept 3-Oct 3, 2009). The blog is for my current students and I take all posts down at the end of each term. My belief was/is that this was a reasonable and educationally justifiable approach considering the circumstances. My actions were motivated by a desire to have students engaged with your most recent scholarship and to be prepared to make the most of the rare opportunity they have to meet with you.

As long time colleague and friendly acquaintance I am disappointed by your legalistic, tattling response. (Why not a share your concern in friendly or even inquisitive way.) I wonder too just how your response to this pedagogical situation jibes your long standing scholarly interests in maximizing individual liberty and social harmony.

So, of course, I’ll take down the link; would have done so at the slightness indication of concern on your part.



On 2009-10-04, at 8:03 AM, Joel Spring wrote:

Dear Wayne, An article in today’s New York Times about illegal sharing of books on the internet led me to do search of my books.

Unhappily your course appeared as a violator of international copyright laws for posting, for anyone in the world to download, 41 pages from my book.

Please remove link from your course website for the copyrighted material.
This is very upsetting.

Naomi will be sending link to Informa.



Joel Spring
Graduate Center and Queens College
City University of New York
Series Editor
Routledge Publisher

E. Wayne Ross
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
University of British Columbia
2125 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

Critical Education: www.criticaleducation.org
Cultural Logic: www.eserver.org/clogic
Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor: www.workplace-gsc.com

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