(Cross posted to ETI.) Ok, so I know I have been on a wiki bender of late, but there’s just so much that interests me about the technology, and I think I’m finally getting my brain around the potential. While wide open wikis may not make it in the classroom, creating sites with logins and passwords makes more and more sense to me. Especially when I see what Lawrence Lessig is doing.
Lessig is one of my few heroes out there right now. I am just in awe of the important changes he is championing regarding copyright and intellectual property. And there is no doubt that he “gets” what’s happening with the Read/Write Web. The concept of putting your work out there to not only share with readers but to invite those readers to help edit and improve the work is pretty amazing. But that’s what he’s doing with his wiki. It’s very cool.
And the other news with Lessig is that he walks his talk. His creation of the Creative Commons was intended to give content creators more power to decide how their content is used. And last week, he wrote on his blog that he will no longer write for the Minnesota Law Review because of their restrictive copyright policy.
But today, on the brink of publication, I had to confront the “Publication Agreement.” In order to give the Minnesota Law Review my work, I have also to give them my copyright. In particular, they get the “exclusive right to authorize the publication, reproduction, and distribution” of my work. They have in turn sold that right to Lexis and Westlaw.
Never again. It has taken me too long to resolve myself about this, and it was too late in the process of this article to insist on something different. But from this moment on, I am committed to the Open Access pledge:
I will not agree to publish in any academic journal that does not permit me the freedoms of at least a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.
Under that license, Lessig gives others the right “to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work” and “to make derivative works” as long as they give attribution and don’t use it for commercial purposes. The implications of that are pretty profound, and it’s in part the evolution of blogs and wikis and the like that are driving these changes. If you think about this idea just a little, you can’t help but wonder what the shake out will be, in law and in education.