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Week 11: Intellectural Property

Copyright Issues

I thoroughly enjoyed the video provided.  I found the changing idea around trespass an excellent way of looking at the changing nature of copyright.  As a student at school and also at the tertiary level, I had never heard about the concept of copyright and referencing in my assignments.  I had been wondering why it hadn’t been an issue back then and I think I have finally figured it out.  First though, what is the law in NZ?

The Copyright Council of NZ provides a useful starting place.  It also includes links for education purposes.  A basic introduction tells us when copyright comes into existence and how long it lasts for.  More importantly for the education environment, there is a detailed information sheet available which has a great summary at the end.  It is here that I found the answer to my worry mentioned above – handwritten information is okay!  So much easier before the advent of readily available technology for study purposes.  To allow for more legal copying for educational purposes, there is the  Copyright Licensing for Education scheme where educational institutions pay  for expanded copying abilities.  I think that this initiative is similar to the discussion Lawrence Lessig has in the video about the music environment.  This leads on to creative freedom.  I found the Creative Freedom of NZ website which provides a straight forward look at copyright and some of the issues.  There is also a NZ website for creative commons information.  One thing about NZ is that we seem to not have access to a lot of publications and music which USA and Europe seem to.  When the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act was being discussed in NZ prior to its implementation, there were lots of comments on the difficulty of getting legal, reasonably priced downloads of music, movies and books.  Comments were being made that people would be happy to pay reasonable prices if they were able to.  Maybe changes will happen in these areas.  If it is easy to find, pay and download copyright information, the problem of piracy will disappear and the idea of fair use will be easier to comprehend.


I first came across web accessibility in 2009 when I did a web design course.  After reading the information it all seemed so sensible so why hadn’t people thought about it earlier?  As part of that course, I was introduced to the following (source – http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/):

many users may be operating  in contexts very different from your own:

  • They may not be able to see, hear, move, or may not be able to process some types of information easily or at all.
  • They may have difficulty reading or comprehending text.
  • They may not have or be able to use a keyboard or mouse.
  • They may have a text-only screen, a small screen, or a slow Internet connection.
  • They may not speak or understand fluently the language in which the document is written.
  • They may be in a situation where their eyes, ears, or hands are busy or interfered with (e.g., driving to work, working in a loud environment, etc.).
  • They may have an early version of a browser, a different browser entirely, a voice browser, or a different operating system.

The W3C provide 3 levels of priorities for accessibility checking as follows (source – http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/full-checklist.html ):

Each checkpoint has a priority level assigned by the Working Group based on the checkpoint’s impact on accessibility.

[Priority 1]
A Web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.
[Priority 2]
A Web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
[Priority 3]

A Web content developer may address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.

If the checklist above is viewed, it seems sensible to meet the priority 1 issues as being a good citizen.  Most of the priority 1 issues are fairly easily implemented.

There are web accessibility testing tools.  When I did the web design course, we used TAW which provided a summary of the possible issues.  This tool was unlike the W3C validators because it can’t prove if something is web accessible at the different levels because some parts of the accessibility guidelines are more subjective (eg background and foreground colours).

As an aside, when I was doing the course, it was offered as an online course.  One problem we had with the accessibility assignment was that the website we were directed to test for accessibility was not hosted by the teaching institution but by an external organisation – who updated the website for accessibility while we were doing the assignment.  They actually did a great job of updating it from memory but it did cause some students problems as they hadn’t started the assignment at the time of the update but others of us had.  Lesson to learn, make sure assignments are based on websites which you have control over!!!


4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the links to the information. Do you know if NZ copyright laws are the same as the US?

  2. I think our legislation is similar to other countries but I would imagine that it will have it’s own peculiarities.

  3. […] Week 11: Class Resources and Intellectual Property […]

  4. […] Week 11: Class Resources and Intellectual Property […]

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