Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Digital right management- bad for education?

Richard Stallman spoke about digital copyright at the University of Wollongong on 11 October. He presented a strong argument that current practices in digital rights management restrict individual freedom and support corporations and big businesses.

More info on issues related to Kindles and iPads in education can be found at


  1. Wow Stallman at UoW and I missed it! Crazy. Also strange is that while I totally agree with Stallman and the Free Software Foundation - I wrote my thesis on how much I agree - on the issue, I don't think I entirely agree with his approach to the solution. What is the alternative - open source and free software? Maybe, but I am less evangelical these days.
    The bigger problem is that all the technology schools, universities, businesses, governments and homes (in Australia) are entirely infected with DRM and other inbuilt functions of panopticism and control - it's not just Kindles and iPads, but Blackboard and Microsoft Word. Software like TurnItIn and other so-called 'plagiarism detectors' are directly exploiting the work and intellectual property of students, academics and institutions far beyond what Apple and Msoft can achieve, same to Google and Facebook when we introduce them into institutional and pedagogical contexts.
    Is educating the population of staff and governance, and the cohort a crucial element in raising awareness of the issue - absolutely! Understanding that we are not in control of our software, our online profiles and even our content - especially in the context of higher education - is at least the first step. Go the Gong on that score. But where to from here?


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