Week 10: Copyright Issues in the age of Open Access

In the digital age, copyright issues are amplified through unlimited access to information and unrestricted, open social media outlets/platforms (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, etc.), that give universal access. In academia in general, and for students in particular, nothing has changed on the standards required in class projects, writing papers and articles for an educational use. What I think has changed is the proliferation of many uncited work and many unsubstantiated materials that are readily available online. The temptation is that, without good training, students may inevitably use and include some unsubstantiated articles and works in their research papers or products. Citation is critically important to meet copyright requirements.

I firmly agree that copyright holders have the right benefit from their work. Including the right to use their work without restriction. But, there is an emerging gray area with restricted access to ownership by creators. I believe this is the case with some Open Access publications or publishers, with policies that restricts the creator’s intellectual and artistic ownership of their work, and transfer all ownership to such platforms or publishers.

I think “Fair use” should offer an unlimited intellectual and artistic ownership of and protection creators as long as it does not infringes on the commercial and economic interests on the publication or publisher. In academia, it seems like authors have an “exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” in perpetuity. For example, academic discoveries are always attributed to the original creators.

I agree that “Copyright” is a complex issue in term of the usage of the unique is the work of others. In some cases, the overall effect of using copyright materials is less of an economic well-being but for reasons of integrity by the user. This is especially the case in academia, where citing your sources may not have a direct economic benefit to the copyright owner. In citing your sources, you gain credibility and acknowledgment.