Sunday, April 19, 2009


Photo Beware of copyrights, etc. by Spushnik

Interpretation? Ethics? Ownership? Copyright ???? “Imitation is the highest form of flattery?”

Having read and re-read the copyright laws of Thailand, the image of a sieve stays in my mind. Sometimes things may flow through almost unseen, and other times not. The escalating number of prosecutions is tantamount to the global pressure exerted perhaps. Or it could simply be a response to the exponential growth of postings on the web. I am unsure that I actually know anyone who has not lived in this country and purchased a 90 baht dvd without losing sleep and so it seems to me that unless we are blatantly flaunting ‘the law’ and that the biggest impacting factor is our own integrity. Do we value that someone else has the creative edge, has made the effort, and put in the time enough so we acknowledge and indeed acknowledge them as creator. And be willing to pay for it? It worked for when they bypassed record companies – they made the most money ever from sales.

“Do as I say – not as I do” is a saying I heard years ago and seems to be quite fitting for most benders of copyright rules. Academically I’ve always cited in essays, presentations etc – well the lesson I learned the hard way at university has stayed with me. Do I consider fair use? Is work transformative? When working with students I’ve taught the acknowledging of others’ work through citing or referencing. It has to be said that I still have a ways to go myself despite taking al the pics from Creative Commons and pointing the praise the photographers way. Small steps in this grey world seem to work.

Not for the Pirate Bay crew though –one of the world’s top websites for illegal filesharing - they have received jail terms for promoting others to infringe upon copyright laws though the site is still in operation. Read on if interested…

Meantime I am reading We Think by Charles Leadbeater (and 257 other people). He put his book on line as a work in progress. He was told repeatedly the book would not sell – people would steal his ideas. He needed to copyright it etc etc. He didn’t – and it has sold. In his foreword Leadbeater says “We are living through a great levelling brought on by the power of the web. What we make of it is still thankfully up to us.” The focus of his book is not copyright – apart from how it was created -but it has made me think – if the personal computer is indeed replaced with more controllable gadgets such a the iPhone – what will it to do the progress of innovation of the web due to the control Apple exerts over it and indeed Leadbeater sees the Apple iphone as a “seductively dangerous little tool” due to the constraints. Still reading …

The New Private…

It would seem that the point of most communications on the net involve sharing. So another conundrum indeed. We want to share information and social tidbits, but we do expect privacy for many transactions on line. We would hope that personal e mail and bank transactions remain private and secure, But is this realistic?

To allay parental concern, many of the internet sharing that occurs within ISB – is in the form of an intranet such as Panthernet. Of course anything within that system could be copied and pasted, attributed to whomsoever’s name is attached – and that is out there also.

Of interest is our Digital Shadow which incorporates all the information generated by a user at any given time.

“Your shadow includes things like images of you on a surveillance camera, your bank records, your retail and airline purchase records, your telephone records, your medical database entries, copies of hospital scans, information about your web searches, general backup data, information about credit card purchases, etc.”

("The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe." EMC)

This shadow is larger than what is created by the person and the implications for the security of this are enormous. I did not start generating a footprint until I was in my 20’s so imagine the size of one generated by those beginning as they begin school.

Privacy? Who knows honestly – when images of us outside our homes and in the streets can be uploaded by satellites without our knowledge , anything is possible…
tattoo_750 by clocker

In the perfect world Digital Footprints would perhaps be little like a walk along the foreshore, some footprints staying a while, and some washed away. As this is not the case, internet users of any age need to be made aware of the permanency of digital word and image, and their expansive reach. Digital Tattoo seems a more fitting image as the possiblility of being stung by it or attempting to erase something once posted, would be about as successful, and perhaps as painful in the interim.

A digital footprint is a record of our activity in places such as Facebook or My Space, e mails sent and received, photos and blogs etc. We send these presuming they are only going to be seen by the people we have selected, but not so. Links spread the word – both good and bad. Having noted that – it’s here -the internet is the major form of communication now for many people and so responsible use is the key.

Childrens’ mistakes would likely be small, teenagers a potential cacophony of inappropriate postings and comments as they stretch and grow, and often feel invincible. They keyboard giving a sense of distance in terms of connectivity. As educators, teaching and modelling responsible and respectful use explicitly is important. Ultimately though students spend much of their time out of school on their social pages, so it is also the responsibility of the parents who purchase the computers to ensure their children are using technology appropriately. Footprints will differ digitally, as everything else about individuals does. So will the need to monitor and direct.

Silvia Tolisano clearly spoke of the positives for learning and is what educators are doing – using technology to learn in an every expanding environment.