From Cory, Australia Copyright Agency to schools: pay Internet licenses or shut down the net!
More idiotic IP overreaching - the Copyright Agency want schools to pay a copyright fee every time someone in the school accesses the Web. The now ex-MP, Sam Buite, tried the same trick in Canada before she got voted out in the recent general election.
As an educator excited by the possibilities technology provides for expanding our educational horizons (as well as marked by the experience of using modern technology at the educational coalface for over ten years) this kind of thing really concerns me. Most of my colleagues in academia have got no interest in the obscure branch of law with the eye glazing title intellectual property. When a company like Acacia finally starts suing educational institutions in the UK as it has been doing in the US, for allegedly breaching their patents on delivering materials via the web, it will come as a huge surprise. Those on the receiving end just will not be expecting it.
Policies that fundamentally affect something as basic as access to education are being formulated in areas of technology and law that most of the stakeholders affected (key ones being educational institutions, parents and students) don't even realise have anything to do with us.
The keys to access the basic raw materials of education could well get sold off to the most influential bidders. It's an issue I'm planning to raise prominently in my book, when I can get it back on schedule. (Looks like publication may now be delayed until 2007 but I'm still hoping to get it out by the end of the year.) I'd rather my kids didn't grow up into a world with pay per view education.