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#etmooc Session 1: Idea Burrs

There were many “idea burrs” (ideas that stick) from this afternoon’s first intro #etmooc session. I decided I would drill down into one topic and try to get some traction. The topic that pulled me in was the fourth one, Open Movement, of the 5 (Connected Learning, Digital Storytelling, Digital Literacy, and Digital Citizenship) thatwe will be exploring further in #etmooc.

The open movement is the topic that I know least about yet find intriguing. I also found the Aaron Swartz story both compelling and tragic, which drew me in further.

Alec recommended we read Prosecutor as bully  by Larry Lessing as well, he recommended Larry’s Ted Talk.

I read Larry’s blog and I have to admit that although I found it interesting in a general sense, it did not provide me with any deep insight into the very complicated issue surrounding Aaron’s removal of digital articles from a MIT archive. I can only summarize very broadly because that is all I am able to do at this moment. At the heart of this matter, are the questions of who owns knowledge? Who controls it? Where and how do we define the lines of ownership?

I found the Ted Talks more compelling (albeit a lot to process at 9:00 PM for the first time).  My very general and first take away were a big pile of sticky questions:

Where do ideas begin and end? Can ideas be ever completely “owned” as we do we property? Does it all come down to control of resources as a means to be powerful and this in part motivates those in control to “own” as many ideas as possible? Is this similar in some ways to how in Science we are struggling with the questions of who and how people (companies) can own, buy, re-mix and alter life via Recombinant DNA technology?

Maybe ideas are like DNA, that can change and evolve, mutate and be of someone but never completely “theirs”. Maybe ideas, as DNA evolve in spite of us, rather that because of us.

Lessing’s quote below summed it up:

….in response to this new use of culture using digital technologies, the law has not greeted this Sousa revival with very much common sense. Instead, the architecture of copyright law and the architecture of digital technologies, as they interact, have produced the presumption that these activities are illegal. Because if copyright law at its core regulates something called copies, then in the digital world the one fact we can’t escape is that every single use of culture produces a copy. Every single use therefore requires permission; without permission, you are a trespasser. You’re a trespasser with about as much sense as these people were trespassers.

This reminded me of  Kirby Ferguson’s Embracing the Remix. I like when a new idea connects to another older idea!


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