Schools are Evil

So apparently schools are trying to own the content created by students and teachers.

It took a few Google searches but I found an article about this (from Fox News, so you know. Meh).

“Briant Coleman, a spokesman for the school board, says it’s not the board’s “intent” to take ownership of work done by students.
“Please know that we would never try to impede on the creativity of our students, teachers and employees,” Coleman said. “In fact, we encourage it. The policy is currently on hold and under legal review until further notice.”

Oh, really? This twisted form of copyright control is going to do exactly that. Why do you need to copyright the work of students? And do they have any real right to? Just because the institution told them to write something, doesn’t make that something theirs.

There is a decent point brought up that they want to stop teachers from selling their lesson plans and whatnot to make money. The issue here is selling information that was given to them by the school. Perhaps in this case, the argument can be made that this is property of the school. However, as brought up in the article, why should this also cover student works? God forbid a student comes up with a really good idea, essay, article, or whatever, and the school can’t profit off of it.

Here’s the weird part.

“The students are mostly under the age of 18 and federal law protects their rights,” he said. Townsend added that unless a parent or guardian signs off on it, what a student creates belongs to the student and not the school.”


What the hell, people? This doesn’t make any sense.

If this ends up happening I will have lost all faith in this world.

Not only are we a permission culture, we are a culture of control. Whoever controls the ideas controls the money, the acknowledgements, the glory. It seems that schools are no different from greedy cesspool of record and movie companies.


Copyright is Control

I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I suppose this is a conspiracy theory.

I think I’ve mentioned this before but pardon me for being repetitive. Why do the music companies want to sue us for downloading music? Because they want their cut of the profits. Why do they get mad and go on the warpath when we take an artist’s music and remix it? Because they don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to make money.

Why do they attempt to scare us into submission with crazy lawsuits and elaborate threats? Because they don’t want us to take their money away.

Do you hear of artists themselves who get mad and sue people? Not usually. If an artist is annoyed, it’s most likely because people are using their stuff without at least crediting them (which is understandable). It’s the record companies who are angry about lost profits.

So when America tries to control the internet with SOFA and Canada decides to get Montreal to spy on people it’s all about control. They want us to play by their rules, do what they want, because God forbid we take anything for free.

Perhaps the main reason this is so disgusting is because of the way the Canadian bill was implemented. Like, ok, here are some new laws and stuff and nowlet’scontrolallthecopyrightbyspyingonpeople OK WHO WANTS COOKIES.

I’m hoping, and I mean, really really hoping, that when the lawsuits start coming and people start realizing what happened, maybe we’ll get off our collective asses and do something about it.

Perhaps I’m making a big deal over something relatively small. But this, in my mind, is indicative of who we are, as a population. Do we take things lying down, or will we rise for what we believe in?

Because if there’s one thing that SOPA taught us, it’s that people may be a passive mass, but when you mess with our internet, things get serious.


This Post is Late and I am Sorry

I may have stolen this from someone else’s blog but you know, whatever. Sorry.

So apparently now copyright law is bad.

Well, duh. Of course it’s bad. But now apparently it conflicts with human rights? Ok sure.

If I understood the article right (and there’s no guarantee that I did) it basically says that Europe has decided that hey, getting mad at people for taking your stuff is bad! You can only sue them if their actions endanger democracy or society or something.

This is a professional post, wow.

So hey, if Europe wants to counter this copyright mess we’re in by making it infinitely more complicated to sue people then go for it. But does that mean that when people are actually able to be sued, it’ll be a lot more difficult to get out of it? Since if they can only bring you to court if you’re “endangering democracy” or whatever, and then they do end up figuring out a way to sue you because you apparently did endanger everyone, well, that would be an awkward lawsuit.

This is something we’ll need to keep an eye on over the next little while. Will this be good for those of us who still download, or will it just make it worse when companies figure out a way around it (which they always do)?

Copyright is Also Weird

Something we mentioned (briefly, I think) in class last week: should the heirs continue to profit from their ancestors’ work?

Some might make the argument that, yes, why not? If the work is still making money, and protected by copyright, it needs to go to someone, right? Why not the heirs? If they hold the copyright, then they have the legal right to the profits.

However, there is an argument to be made against this. After all, they didn’t create this. They might be related to the people who made it, but they themselves have no right to it. And if you didn’t create it, well, then why should you get paid for it?

Funny thing: that’s how it works. Whoever holds the copyright gets the money. It’s similar to patents: let’s look at Thomas Edison. The bastard didn’t invent half the stuff he’s credited for (like the lightbulb) but he held the patent for it; therefore, he got the money–and most of the credit.

Copyright laws are basically attempting to do this to intangible things. But how do you control an idea? Or a story? Or a song? It’s difficult to, especially with the internet allowing inexpensive and simple global distribution. What do we do to protect our intellectual ideas? I can’t lock my idea in a box to keep people from stealing it (well, you sort of can, but it’s not the same). And so we try to place invisible bonds on invisible things. Which is why we’re in this copyright-internet-downloading mess we’re in now. And how do you judge how many people have “stolen” your idea? Can you really prove that you are the parent of the idea? That it originated from your brain rather than someone else’s?

The problem could boil down to a much larger problem: that society put more value on the money the idea can give you, rather than the good it could do for society. Or perhaps that, if people want to make a living off of their excellent idea, they need to guard it against “pirates” who would take it and distribute it for free. On one hand, we have the desire to make money and survive in society; on the other, the value of creating for the good of all. It’s almost philosophical.

Basically, our society is effed in the a. And that affects our ideas and our life and it all sucks. Woo.