So yesterday saw a pretty major tremor hit the e-learning market on the news
that Blackboard was issued a US Patent for what is referred to as
internet-based educational support systems and methods involved in
offering on-line education, including "course management systems and
enterprise learning systems". Wow! The devil is sure in the details on
that one. But, I guess that's where were at now. The reality of
intellectual property, rights and internet law is so complex, so deep
in discussion of what intellectual property actually is and what people
are publicly entitled to, the alternative creativity models,
distribution capabilities and what form it takes as either content,
software or even just a sweeping idea. It's about so many new things to
learn about passed gigahertz, terabytes and throughput. What are the
rules? Who's in charge? Who benefits? Where's the money? What is
Blackboard claiming here? How do they plan to exercise defense of these
ideas? Who really owns or controls Sakai?
Or Linux for that matter. Or all the books that Google is digitizing?
Can't I just steal anything off the web with a screen scrape at a
minimum anyways? Aren't I entitled to public information? Is it all so
infinitely complex, unmanageable and impossibly insecure on this global
network that we use that has really almost no real rules. One thing is
for sure is that intellectual property law will be filling the
classrooms over the next 10 years. So, I've only started now looking at
Digital Rights Management and stuff like watermarking, digital
signatures and our very own open media commons. A good place to get started is Free Culture The Nature and Future of Creativity by Lawrence Lessig at Stanford. Pretty much the top dog on the subject in the world. In the meantime, it's too much fun checking out YouTube, MySpace and Wikipedia to worry about it, yet.