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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!


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