Five technologies for education

Technological advances increase the ease with which information is created and shared within a global marketplace. One of the purposes of copyright law is to protect the creator by providing  monetary incentives and yet not hamper further innovation from other individuals. Copyright law is an integral part of delivering education online in higher institutions and intellectual property rights of the faculty, students and colleges will require greater scrutiny in the coming years.
Universities must compete in the age of technology, remain viable entities and facilitate higher learning within the constraints of copyright law. As the traditional college classroom expands to the global, anywhere classroom, distance education and the copyright laws that have governed the practice of delivering information from a distance has become under question. “Fair Use” has often given educational venues some protection in the use of copyrighted materials, which comes under question now. The TEACH act has provided more options for online learning, but does not cover the ever growing avenue of online learning. Five technological advances that will require a closer look at copyright law are 

  1. eBooks  
  2. Cloud-computing 
  3. Mobile technologies
  4. Augmented reality
  5. Personal learning environments
The reality of digitized books has already been accomplished, yet the rights to distribute them have been an issue in the courtrooms. Once a book become available electronically in the form of an eBook, copyrights become an issue due to the ease in copying a book found on the Internet. This is especially true for books that have been scanned into a pdf format, that are easily downloaded to anyone that has a computer.
A standard, traditional textbook purchased in a bookstore, whether online or at a store, is sold to one user who pays for the book, portions of the sale going to the publisher and the author. Photo-copying large portions of textbooks was not that feasible and teachers understood that only small portions could be copied, and never to replace the fees that would be collected by a student when a textbook was purchased.
The ease in copying a digitized book is much easier. Google began a project to digitize over 15 million books and became entangled in a 7-year lawsuit over copyright infringement with publishers. On October 4, 2012, the Association of American Publishers and Google announced that they had come to agree on a settlement (Howard, 2012).  This still leaves an open case between the Authors Guild and Google (Howard, 2012).
According to “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” American publishers can opt-out of having their copyrighted books and journals  digitized and instead have them available for purchase. In this way, small sections of a copyrighted book may be available to view, but a price would be affixed for the entire book (Howard, 2012). One concept that was not agreed upon however, is the “fair use” portion of the copyright law (Howard, 2012).
The issue of author’s copyrighted books continues to be unresolved. Digital books greatly improves access and can further disseminate information, promoting greater learning and providing a springboard to more innovation. Other formats for eBooks include Amazon’s Kindle and iTunes iBooks.
On the upside for copyright holders, they each have a protective device called digital rights management or DRM in place that permits only reading and downloading a book on their own device. This prevents copying the book or “giving” it away to numerous other potential buyers. Although some may see this as a drawback from a traditional hardbound book, of which can be donated to a library or given to a friend, it is a secure way to protect the owners of the copyright.
With technological advances there will always be the need for changes to protect the system of copyright at the loss of some of the older conveniences. Those that are unhappy with the new digital laws that are required are always at liberty to purchase the books as hardbound and re-sell them as has been done for years.
But copyright holders have to be able to maintain control of their created works to encourage authors and creators alike. In a recent case in 2009, Amazon had to delete two copies of George Orwell’s books that had been uploaded to its Kindle eBook site illegally, without owning the copyrights (Akins, 2010). 
In the process of deleting the books, everyone who had purchased one found their electronic copy deleted with reimbursement (Akins, 2010).  One student sued Amazon and settled after his copy was removed, claiming he had taken notes on it and that Amazon’s agreement did not stipulate that they could instantly revoke your copy (Akins, 2010). The process and ability to control copyright is not resolved as technology provides new methods of reading, learning and storing books.
Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the ability to store content in a virtual cloud in the sky at a lower cost and with easier accessibility. Educational institutions can store email, calendars, and collaborate online through a browser. Essentially all that is needed to access whatever is in the cloud is a laptop, computer, or mobile device, an Internet connection, and a browser to access the information. However, one concern with cloud computing is security of private information and copyrighted materials that would have otherwise remained on-campus on a school’s private server (Scale, 2010).
Students own the material they create, the papers and creative works that are uploaded through a web browser into the cloud. Protecting those rights may not be as easily solved when security allows a number of people to have access to the cloud material. Within the field of cloud computing is the ability for web collaboration.
This offers great advantages in online learning and in business, making files and additions instantly available to many authors. However, the copyrights for this type of collaboration are very vague as individual contributions infiltrate a document or project, the question becomes, “who owns this?” (Scale, 2010). Obviously, agreements must be in place before large collaborative works become monetarily successful.
Mobile Technologies
Mobile technologies and cloud computing increase the ease of retrieving information. Student’s access personal and school files through mobile smart phones, tablets and iPads. Stealing copyrighted information used to be a much more difficult task, requiring the physical use of a library and photocopy machine.
Today, information is easily and quickly downloaded, saved, and copied. Copyright law may need to address this ease as it continues to increase the reality of infringement (Scale, 2010).  One option may be to require the registration of copyrights, similar to the requirement of patents. Various types of copyright should be made available, such as that in the Creative Commons project. Creators could decide how they want to share their works.  Leaving the interpretation of the law to the courts has the upside of no blanket policy, but it carries the downside of being costly and taking years to resolve.
Augmented Reality Technologies
The virtual life found within the gaming community is gradually reaching into the educational realm with augmented reality technologies. This adds a layer of computer generated images of information with the real world and has potential to re-shape learning because of it’s constructive nature of learning instead of passive (The HorizonReport, 2011). Already found in virtual labs, this form of learning will continue to increase as the global market of educating becomes more accessible.
Expensive lab requirements for science courses may be replaced with virtual labs, where students from anywhere in the world can interact with the dissection of a frog and experiment with the effects of solutions in a chemistry lab. The Museum of London offers iphone apps that use GPS positioning and tagging for visitors to wander the city and find once standing historical buildings (The Horizon Report, 2011).  
Copyright law seems that it will cover the creation of these computer programs in much the same way the gaming software companies protect their works. For an educator/designers with expertise in this area, they would be wise to negotiate a contract that excludes “work for hire” definitions or provide for some form of part ownership.
New York University School of Medicine has incorporated web-based virtual learning with their first year medical students in an anatomy lab where they view life-size digital anatomy with 3D glasses (Greiner, 2012) Students use an iPad to magnify and study an organ by a simple click. Hidden layers of muscle, bone and nerves are exposed where students use computer tools to dissect and explore (Greiner, 2012).

Personal Learning Environments
Personal learning environments  is the technological advantage that would alter current learning management systems which only include a list of assignments, calendar and library access. If you are a visual learner, your personal learning environment would take advantage of tools that assist you in “seeing” more than “hearing” (The Horizon Report, 2011).
The learner would have a more active part in constructing his/her learning environment, even contributing to available technology. This will greatly affect copyright when the personal learning environment becomes more collaborative and students are adding to the creative works. There is even the thought of tracking your preferences, much as online Google ads does, or Amazon offers books that fit your previous purchasing (Agarwal, 2009).
As innovation continues, so do the realities of intellectual property protection for the creator and the consumer. Technology has lifted the restrictions imposed by cost and tools for almost anyone to become a creator with an easy way to publish content. While this will advance education, the fuzzy laws of copyright will continue to increase and push many cases into the courtroom for resolution.
Even the action of buying and reselling textbooks, a common student endeavor, has come under fire with the case of Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons Publishing. Kirtsaeng found the cost of his required textbook to be cheaper in his homeland of Thailand and began to purchase books and resell them on eBay. Losing the case, he has appealed to the Supreme Court on the basis of first sell copyright laws (Hamborg, 2012).

Agarwal, A. (2009). Web 3.0 concepts explained in plain English. Digital Inspiration. Retrieved from http://www.labnol.org/internet/web-3-concepts-explained/8908/

Akins, C. (2010). Conversion of digital property: protecting consumers in the age of technology. Retrieved from http://www.luc.edu/law/activities/publications/clrdocs/vol23issue2/pdfs/akins_conversion.pdf

Greiner, L. (2012). New York University Langone Medical Center. Medical students at NYU School of Medicine use interactive virtual 3D cadaver. Retrieved from http://communications.med.nyu.edu/media-relations/news/medical-students-nyu-school-medicine-use-interactive-virtual-3d-cadaver

Hamborg, B. (2012). Note & Comment: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Kirtsaeng: The uncertain future of the first-sale doctrine. Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology. Retrieved from https://litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com/webcd/app?action=DocumentDisplay&crawlid=1&doctype=cite&docid=13+Minn.+J.L.+Sci.+%26+Tech.+899&srctype=smi&srcid=3B15&key=4890855ca876eb512be5af7e243440a8

Howard, J. (2012). Publishers settle long-running lawsuit over Google’s book-scanning project. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Publishers-Settle-Long-Running/134854/

Scale, M. (2010). Assessing the impact of cloud computing and web collaboration on the work of distance library services. Journal of Library Administration. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=8&hid=6&sid=db85fba4-72f5-4cec-a9fe-278e8dda5da1%40sessionmgr14

The Horizon Report, The Web Version. (2011). Two to three years: augmented reality. Retrieved from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2011/sections/augmented-reality/

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