Top Intellectual Property Developments of 2007 for Scholars of Composition, Rhetoric, and Communication


Clancy Ratliff, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Co-Chair, 2008 CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus

The year 2007 carried quite a few key developments for those who follow issues and debates related to copyright and intellectual property. For the third year running, then, the CCCC Intellectual Property Committee is pleased to publish this annual report in the service of our first goal, to “keep the CCCC and NCTE memberships informed about intellectual property developments, through reports in the CCCC newsletter and in other NCTE and CCCC forums.”

Top Intellectual Property Developments of 2007 for Scholars of Composition, Rhetoric, and Communication

They don’t make it too easy, but this series of reports is worth reading, if nothing else because they illustrate the general disarray that dominates intellectual property rights. It’s a shift, of course, echoed in broader shifts over ownership underwritten by the mass availability of cheap computers.

The rhetoric of the titles tell the story. A report by Traci A. Zimmnerman, for example, is called “McLean Students File Suit Against Useful Tool or Instrument of Tryanny.” Jeff Gain’s “Bosh v. Ball-Knell: Faculty May Have Lost Control Over Their Teaching Materials” also suggests serious trouble, at the very least.

“The Importance of Understanding and Utilizing Fair Use in Educational Contexts: A Study on Media Literacy and Copyright Confusion,” (Martine Courant Rife) and “Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video” (Laurie Cubbison) hint at the shifting ground on which property rights now stand.

And finally, “One Laptop Per Child Program Threatens Dominance of Intel and Microsoft,” (Kim Dian Gaine) and “The National Institutes of Health Open Access Mandate: Public Access for Public Funding,” (Clancy Ratliff) suggest the ongoing vitality of programs that directly challenge the old property paradigms.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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