What I Want: Next Steps Post-Censorship
As described in these documents [ http://www.ils.unc.edu/gbnewby/DVD/index.html
], I was censored by UNC from using some source code to play DVDs on Wednesday,
April 12, 2000.
I am scheduled to teach the same course [ http://ils.unc.edu/inls183/home.shtml
] during fall semester, 2000. Here is what I would like to see happen in order for
me to teach my next section of the class:
- For UNC's Legal Counsel office to tell me that I can use any software I
would like, and talk about any topic I would like, for my class. The only exceptions
would be software (or software uses) that has been found illegal in a court
with NC jurisdiction, or topics that have been found illegal in a court with
- For my academic unit, SILS [ http://www.ils.unc.edu/ ], to tell me that
I can use any software I would like, and talk about any topic I would like,
for my class with the exceptions mentioned above.
- For UNC to develop a specific policy addressing the impact of the DMCA on
faculty, students and staff. This must include clear interpretation of "fair
use," academic freedom and copyright. UNC then needs to stand by faculty who
adhere to this policy.
My suggestions are that this policy:
- Specifically supports faculty members in academic use of any materials
or topic, electronic or otherwise, that that faculty member believes will
benefit his or her class.
- Specifically rejects any external tampering with faculty choices of
class materials or topics, including from within UNC (e.g., the UNC Legal
Counsel), from the state (e.g., the NC State Assembly) or special interest
groups (e.g., groups who seek to ban or limit access to particular topics).
- Allow only a clear legal ruling with jurisdiction over UNC Chapel Hill
to modify UNC's position on the above points. Even in a case where a legal
ruling has been made, allow a process of discussion and debate before tampering
with faculty choices of class materials or topics.
- Identify clear processes by which a question about the legality or other
issues concerning faculty choices of class materials or topics may be processed.
Minimally, this must include a public hearing where the faculty member and
interested parties may present their points of view.
There are any number of relevant court findings and statements from organizations
to support a strong stance on fair use of copyrighted materials in academic settings.
Some contemporary examples include:
First version: April 23, 2000
Copyright (c) 2000 Gregory B. Newby. Permission is granted to copy, distribute
and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
[ http://www.ils.unc.edu/gbnewby/DVD/COPYING-FDL.txt ], Version 1.1 or any later
version published by the Free Software Foundation.