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MIT Offers Free Course Materials on Copyright Law
Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 05:36 PM EST

Hey, hey, hey. MIT offers a free course on copyright law. All the materials are available, including video lectures, four 2-hour lectures, as well as providing an extensive reading list. Here's the syllabus. I'll let them tell you about it:
Highlights of this Course

This course features video lectures, and an extensive list of readings. A description of assignments is also available. This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to copyright law and American law in general. Topics covered include: structure of federal law; basics of legal research; legal citations; how to use LexisNexis®; the 1976 Copyright Act; copyright as applied to music, computers, broadcasting, and education; fair use; Napster®, Grokster®, and Peer-to-Peer file-sharing; Library Access to Music Project; The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act; DVDs and encryption; software licensing; the GNU® General Public License and free software.

Catch that about the GPL???! You need special software for some of it. This is part of MIT's OpenCourseWare series, and you can download a Zip of the course here. The materials are released under a Creative Commons license. I'm sorry I didn't notice this sooner.

As I was collecting these materials, I noticed that other universities around the world have now joined MIT in an OpenCourseWare Consortium, and one of them is Utah State University. Here's some feedback they got: "USU OCW restores my faith in humanity. In a world where there is such a focus on making money at any cost it's refreshing to find people who spend their time and means to better the society they live in by making available useful and informative resources that anyone can use without expecting monetary reward." You can financially support OCW here. The way OpenCourseWare works is that as courses are offered, they are posted on the Internet, so anyone in the world can benefit from that day forward. If you'd like to know about upcoming lectures and courses, you can sign up for the MIT monthly newsletter.

For those who would like to check out other courses already available, here's the full list from MIT and here's the rest of the universities. This should be a great opportunity to really understand copyright law fully. Enjoy!


MIT Offers Free Course Materials on Copyright Law | 87 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
OT Here
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 06:03 PM EST
Please make any links clickable.


You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

[ Reply to This | # ]

They have an Inventions and Patents course also...
Authored by: PhilFrisbie on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 06:19 PM EST
...and many, many other interesting courses. Check them out!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: darkonc on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 06:30 PM EST
I doubt that there'll be the need with an article this short -- bug, just in case.

Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

But ... but ...
Authored by: darkonc on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 06:35 PM EST
No matter where in the Proprietary <->GPL/BSD spectrum, you stand, understanding copyrights can be very important. It can help protect your investment, and it can help you keep out of deep litigational (and, therefore financial) trouble.

Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Faith in Humanity"
Authored by: Steve on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 07:30 PM EST

The article quotes someone as saying, "USU OCW restores my faith in humanity. In a world where there is such a focus on making money at any cost it's refreshing to find people who spend their time and means to better the society they live in by making available useful and informative resources that anyone can use without expecting monetary reward."

Am I being too much of a cynic to point out that we are talking about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Utah State University?

In other words, most of the people who "spend their time and means" did not spend any of their own means at all to make this available; they spent government money, meaning tax money. The operating costs of these public universities, including the salaries of professors and the wages of student assistants, come from three sources: taxes, tuition, and donations. A large proportion of students use government grants and government-guaranteed student loans to pay tuition, and most donors deduct the donations on their taxes. Looked at this way, over 50% of the cost of OCW comes from either state or federal taxes.

So, yes, it's nice that these universities expend their resources on making available useful and informative resources. Plenty of universities expend resources on very silly or useless things. But let's not go overboard with the praise. I live in Utah, and I have many friends in Massachusetts, so I know who paid for this courseware.



[ Reply to This | # ]

Collegial Progression
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 10:14 PM EST
This is where the real threat to M$ lays, now theres not a whole heck of a lot
M$ will ever be able to do to slow the rise of collegial power.


Gates hires firm BSF to sue all universities for having any method or concept.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MIT Offers Free Course Materials on Copyright Law
Authored by: crs17 on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 10:24 PM EST
BTW, I'm not surprised that MIT would offer such a course. MIT has always been
tied up with the Open Source movement. Most obviously through Richard Stallman.
While Stallman, AFAIK doesn't have an official connection with MIT, for years
he had his office in MIT space that the university made available as a gift.

I notice Free Software Foundation now lists its offices as being across the
Charles in Boston, but two of the seven directors of FSF list their primary
professional roles as being MIT Computer Science professors. (Naturally, no
mention of any deep-sea activities!)

In my mind, Open Source and MIT have always gone hand-in-hand. The MIT computer
system also contains one of the prime ftp sites for free software.

[ Reply to This | # ]

to really understand "copyright law fully" ............................ and copyright "lawfully"
Authored by: SirHumphrey on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 10:55 PM EST
Keep up the good work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Opinions on Open Education Works
Authored by: icebarron on Friday, January 05 2007 @ 07:01 AM EST
I am thrilled to be able to take a course through MIT. It is, and always will be
a top notch institution! Look at a list of some of its fellows and it can take
your breath away. It seems not many people are noticing that more and more
information is being released openly to the public...especially something of
substance and quality as these courses. They are there just for the link questions asked. It is really up to the individual whether you
want to take part or not. I will, and all it cost is my internet connection, and
my time. My connection to the net just got a lot more valuable today...

Peace to one and all

The only way to make a dream come true is to wake up and live it...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: maroberts on Friday, January 05 2007 @ 08:18 AM EST
I suggest that we arrange for a certain group of "rocket scientists"
from MIT to attend this course... :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Methoids & Procedures - AKA Individual Rights Against Self Incrmination
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 05 2007 @ 08:36 AM EST
Two men accused of killing 17 young women and children in a suburb of the Indian
capital, Delhi, are undergoing tests using a truth drug.
The businessman and his servant will also be subjected to brain mapping tests at
a forensic laboratory in the western state of Gujarat.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting activity
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 05 2007 @ 11:07 AM EST
This is a significant aspect of the Open Courseware offering :

"Is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting activity"

So the consumer is on their own in convincing potential employers to grant
opportunity to gain subsequent real world experience in field of mastered
subject matter.

This is possibly because it is not in MIT's self interest to cannibalize its
brick and mortar educational industrial complex via low cost certification.

Market forces will eventually erode the false delineator between learning via
expensive tuition in class and learning via newly developed efficient flows of
information (Employers will hire producers regardless of the method by which
they required the ability to produce).

This is even more significant due to the
(1) increasing unavailability of quality higher education for the middle class
due to skyrocketing tuition costs.
(2) increasing wealth gap in this country.
(3) fact that Pelosi lead democrats are going to be slightly lessening tuition
costs via loan interest rate cuts (thus redistributing exorbitant costs, not
lessening them via more efficient flow of information) and in effect fattening
the coffers of this inefficient education industrial complex by assessing the
cost on those that have no use for it (taxpayers).

I as a taxpayer would expect that if my government is in the business of
providing education then my government should provide the most efficient means
available for attaining the best education available. Perhaps this is just a
first step toward that end.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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