Students nightmares about intellectual property issues

First of all, I don’t use drugs. But from time to time I like to think about some topics, mixing concepts and having some fun imagining (im)possible futures about them.

In the last week my course of Legal Aspects of Free software just finished the lesson (my homework is still pending). I learned many concepts about intellectual property, not only applied to software, also to other kind of works.

On the other side, I work in a public University and I see everyday young boys and girls, talk to them, and I think I know quite well the things that they are interested on (I was also a student not so long ago!): to have fun and pass the exams with the minimum effort if possible.

These two concepts (legal issues of content, and student way-of-life) bring me several scenarios of what I called “Student nightmares about intellectual property issues”.

Scenario 1: “I thought CC would make easier to pass this subject but not!”

Teacher distributed his teaching content with CC-by license; on the other side, when he writes the syllabus doc for his course, he states that the content used in class cannot be copied on the student’s deliverable homeworks, nor can be used on the exams.
In this scenario, the teacher’s content is free because restrictions are on the exams and homeworks, not on the content itself.

However, students are not free to make a crib with the teacher’s content, nor to write verbatim sentences on their homework or exams. This is not an intellectual property issue, is a “evaluation rules” issue.

Scenario 2: “This teacher was appearing to be cool but not only suspended me, is going to sue me for copyright violation!”

Teacher distributed his teaching content with a “CC-by license” plus a “Non-exams” clause: he states (in the license of the content) that the content  cannot be copied on the student’s deliverable homeworks, nor can be used on the exams.
In this scenario, the teacher’s content is not free since he establishes a restriction on usage.
Students are not allowed to use cribs nor verbatim copies. The “evaluation rules” issue becomes an “intellectual property issue”.

Scenario 3: Not only music, also drinking becomes “protected” by IP laws!
In a similar way of Zubizuri’s case, and known the enology tradition of Spain, a possible nightmare for students is that “wine” becomes a subject of “intellectual property”, as an “artistic creation”. So in many wine bottles and bricks you can find a statement explaining that it is forbidden to use wine in “calimochos”, because mixing the wine with cola is a crime against the moral rights of the author of the wine.

Will young students being threatened one day not only with “anti-botellon” laws, but also with “intellectual property” laws?

I hope these nightmares will not come true, or at least only the first one.

About larjona

My name is Laura Arjona, I am a libre software user and fan of the free culture. If you want to contact me you can write an email to larjona [at] larjona [dot] net I am @larjona at in the social network. --- Me llamo Laura Arjona, soy usuaria de software libre y fan de la cultura libre. Si quieres contactar conmigo puedes escribir a larjona [en] larjona [punto] net Soy @larjona en el servidor, de la red social
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.