Saturday, 21 February 2009

Copyright Black and Blues

New Zealand's 1984 Copyright Act amendment section 92A says "An Internet service provider must adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances, of the account with that Internet service provider of a repeat infringer". ISPs agree that this is ridiculously vague, yet they must implement it and shut down any websites that do not comply. Reported across the news, a blackout protest has been organsied Monday 23rd.

Stop and have a look at the work your children are doing in school and on the internet. I bet that most schools may as well pull the plug on their computers right now. Is this fair or even reasonable? Is it beneficial to our children and their learning?

Copyright has always been a sensitive issue especially for teachers who expected to provide resources to teach and develop children but not infringe any copyrights, yet still teach children to be responsible users of copyright materials in this digital age. Fair enough, I wouldn't want my work stolen either but what about "Fair Use"? What about 21st Century learning?

We need to be teaching children about rights and responsibilities, and promoting sensible solutions like Creative Commons. Yet we still need LOTS of leniency and learning space in schools to develop these values in our children without the whip of an authoritarian government over our heads. It seems our New Zealand government is more interested in restricting our 21st century learning by implementing 20th century thinking when it comes to copyright laws.

Perhaps we need to send some teachers to the Beehive to teach some Key Competencies like thinking about the consequences of their actions. I have to wonder if they have even read them. If we had to go inspect the computers in the homes and schools of the children of our NZ government officials, what would we find?

Image by jamesotron a creative commons image, New Zealand Internet blackout protest against insane copyright law.