COMMERCIALIZATION OF DISTANCE LEARNING MATERIAL: A MEDIEVAL INSTITUTION CONFRONTS THE 21ST CENTURY
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract: The university is among modern institutions significantly impacted by the emergence of the Internet which has democratized access to knowledge and facilitated both the globalization of knowledge sharing and the desire to make information available globally. As the university evolved from the Middle Ages the ownership of the knowledge, that is its intellectual property, which developed by academics and distributed by the university was the property of the academic, currently labeled the “Creator.” This includes ownership of “Scholarly or Pedagogical Works” “...created for traditional academic purposes.” Globalization has been facilitated by “Digital convergence” defined as “the coalescence of all the functions for the acquisition, storage, distribution and utilization of all present and future human knowledge.” Consequently, the world is witnessing a competition among universities no longer bound by political or geographic limits particularly in the matter of developing nations for customers. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that “The costs of creating high-quality ... content have plummeted as fast as the costs of distributing it...” According to the OECD, the digital content distribution process comprises an “industry ecosystem” in which “Broadly speaking, there are five basic roles.” One role is “Content producers” those who develop original material for distribution across digital, analogue, or physical media channels. A second role is, “Distributors,” “those who license content and store, aggregate, package, or manipulate it for availability to end-users.” In a university the content producers are the teachers and the distributors are the universities. OECD adds that “the traditional distribution market has been disrupted with all players engaged in a tug of war to control the user experience and to extract the bulk of the economic value.” In this tug of war, American universities have devised a stratagem for increasing their economic benefit at the expense of that of the content producers while cloaking this in the rubric of academic freedom. For example, one major private university in its Copyright Policy acknowledges “The ongoing revolution in the use of information technology for the production and dissemination of knowledge enables members of the University community to create new forms or types of scholarly works, to communicate with current audiences with new types of materials, and to reach new audiences.” Although it reasserts the “longstanding custom,” that faculty members own the intellectual property that are the products of traditional works, it unilaterally declares that, “The use of new media technologies has changed the process of creation of intellectual works because “in many cases, the use of new media technologies requires increased involvement by the University in the form of financial support, expert services, equipment, and other facilities beyond the base level of support and common resources provided to faculty....” The school claims “copyright to works of authorship that are created at the University by faculty.... that make substantial use of financial or logistical support from the University beyond the level of common resources provided to faculty...” This paper will explore the issue of intellectual property ownership in the American university based on the new technology, and dispute resolution mechanisms in public and private university setting.
Keywords: Distance Learning, Intellectual property, University Right, Faculty Rights, Dispute Resolution.