There’s nothing like finding the perfect research article that contains the most important (at the time) information in it…only to find VT “does not subscribe!” This is the issue that comes to mind when thinking about copyright and availability of different works. I also think of the many times I have done a PowerPoint presentation with images and wondered if I was citing them correctly…similar to other topics we go over in this class, the issue of copyright is very vague. With that being said, it was really cool to explore the Creative Commons website. I really like the idea of building a richer, more easily-accessed public domain on the internet but this is a very complex issue.
One somewhat recent copyright issue deals with Facebook videos, stolen from YouTube. Apparently, content creators earn revenue for views on YouTube but “freebooters” (people who copy the content and upload it to Facebook) have been making some waves. Not only are they taking business away from YouTube, but by uploading the content to Facebook, freebooters take views away from the original content creator, which translates to a loss of revenue. It’s very hard to hold others accountable for these acts and lawsuits around this issue can be very complicated. What do you think is fair?
Another copyright issue that came to mind was when Taylor Swift removed her music from Spotify. It’s not textbook copyright infringement but this is what she said about allowing her music to be streamed with Spotify:
“In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace. Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently.”
I think these two issues highlight the complexity of copyright issues on the internet and force us to think about this issue from the creator’s side, which I personally am not as familiar with.
For my final project, I have been brainstorming about various ways to prepare graduate students for ethical career decisions, particularly graduate students within the Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise department. A lot of us will be working with research participants or patients in our future career settings and so I think it is important to prepare ourselves for the ethical issues we may face. I am currently taking a Nutrition Counseling class that is designed to give graduate-level dietetics students relevant counseling experience. Nutrition counselors meet with clients on a weekly basis to discuss the client’s specific health goals, assessing where the client is currently at and using motivational interviewing to help facilitate health behavior change to achieve their nutrition or health goal. During these sessions, we collect personal information about the client’s health status, family history, and dietary and exercise habits. It is important to keep these health documents confidential, as well as keep the identity of the client private when discussing their case in class. Furthermore, it is also important to act professionally in public places, especially if you run into a client. There may be social situations where a counselor is interacting with a client outside of the counseling session and it is important to act ethically and professionally. I will talk about how to handle these situations using a lesson plan for students in the course or other related-courses. The lesson plan will include a goals and questions for participants of the program, dispersed throughout a handful of case studies that will highlight important ethical standards. This program will facilitate academic integrity in the student counseling setting as well as prepare graduate students to be ethical professionals in their health-related careers.
Dan Blank got me thinking about collaboration and how far is too far. I think that pretty much defines the issue of authorship and plagiarism in a simplistic way. We touched on the issue of how works by other scientists and authors often catapult our own work, helping and inspiring us to develop our own ideas about a topic of interest. I was actually astounded listening to the Ted Talk by Austin Kleon. I could not believe that he was able to trace the cutting up of previous works (newspaper, books, etc.) to create a new work (poem, story, etc.) back to the 1760’s. And this was all before the internet! It’s funny because the internet makes collaboration so easy but also really complicates the issue of authorship and plagiarism. At the end of the day, I think collaboration is so crucial for the advancement and betterment of science, art, and humanity as a whole, because when we work together, the extra brain power can really create a concept or experimental design that no one person could think of on their own. When we build on other’s works…is it plagiarism or stolen authorship…or is it evolution? After all, we wouldn’t be where we are today if we didn’t continue the work of others. I think that is a different way of posing the question: how far is too far? In art I think it’s easier to acknowledge another artist who has inspired you and Kleon even mentions how good poets transform their imitation and admiration of previous work to make something better. In the sciences, things are a little different and more technical ways exist to give others credit where it is due however collaboration is just as important. I think without really realizing it, we are always building on the work of those who came before us. That’s how science, health, medicine, etc. continue to advance and we as a species continue to thrive.