On Twitter, I learned about really great resource for teachers, http://mrssmoke.onsugar.com/Top-20-Websites-Teacher-Should-Start-2010-2011-Year-Without-9213932. I think it’s a great resource, but I was troubled by the last section of the blog post regarding NetFlix. I think the suggestion that NetFlix start up an educational side of their service is a good suggestion. However, the way the blog writer speaks of using NetFlix all year long in class raised my copyright/intellectual property alarms. Educational fair use allows for some limited use of parts of a work in a bona-fide educational setting, but it is not blanket license. I’m also concerned about giving students easy access to materials which they can then pirate. The link to contact the author of the blog isn’t working correctly (at least not for me) so I can’t email her, and I don’t want to be accusing her or anybody of copyright violations, so please don’t take my comments that way. I’ve just seen a general relaxing of concern for intellectual property, and there seems to be a whole new generation of teachers that don’t really understand the limitations of the educational fair use guidelines of US copyright law. I’m not even entirely sure how NetFlix could implement a library or school plan the way copyright law is currently written. However, perhaps we do need to rewrite copyright law to find some way to fairly implement a way for schools and libraries to utilize services like NetFlix.
For a good understanding of what Fair Use is, visit http://fairuse.stanford.edu/