Intellectual Property Law Confers Rights in Respect of Online Distance Education, yet Most Learning Resources Are Still Free--Truth or Fiction?
Journal of Educational Technology Volume 6, Number 3, ISSN 0973-0559
Educational technologists might well describe online distance education as "a series of instructional events over the Internet that find their expression as learning events in a student". As a legal construct however, "online distance education" is simply "the intellectual property of its owner". This description is too simplistic for educational technologists, however for two reasons. First, there can be no such thing as "typical intellectual property ownership in online distance education", because there is no such thing as "the typical distance education course". No single law or appellate court decision can adequately protect at once the online course and the blended course, or the stand-alone course and the Web course management system. A second, related reason why intellectual property ownership is too simplistic is that most of today's online courses have multiple creators, each creator making a different original contribution to the course, each contribution being afforded a different type of legal protection within a jurisdiction. Ownership complexity rises with the number of contributors as well as the different types of legal protection available in the jurisdiction. This paper attempts to reconcile ongoing political rhetoric over everyone's right to an education with recent leaks in the media about the increasing likelihood of a global lock-down of intellectual property that could criminalize contemporary online distance education for every user.
Mann, B.L. (2009). Intellectual Property Law Confers Rights in Respect of Online Distance Education, yet Most Learning Resources Are Still Free--Truth or Fiction?. Journal of Educational Technology, 6(3), 1-13.