Discussion Questions – Week 10

Eisner and Vicinus posit many pedagological questions in their introduction to an interdisciplinary anthology of essays sharing “a concern about the increasingly angry public debate for or against file sharing, fair use, and plagiarism, including:

“How do we preserve and inculcate a tradition of ethical research and writing standards, while acknowledging and taking advantage of new technologies?”

How do we “teach proper attribution” to preserve “academic integrity”?

“How can we encourage the free and ethical exchange of ideas? How can we encourage students, so accustomed to digital sharing, to understand citation practices, free use, and the legitimate ownership of ideas?” (pg. 2)

Elizabeth Switaj, “Web Writing and Citation: The Authorities of Communities”

Switaj argues, in terms of online community ethics, citation takes the form of a “community-based value”, in which citation is prioritized over copyright.

logic of social media citation (vs. academic citation) – RT: manual (vs. automatic) retweeting; practice of linking to external articles- especially when tweet contains abstract-type description of the linked content

Can educators use social media tools (Switaj cites Twitter) to implement ethical citation habits in their students’ academic writings?

Switaj cites Traci Gardener’s lesson-plan question on plagiarism (based on a scandal surrounding a magazine publishing copied content from food bloggers):

“Where are public domain materials on the Internet?”

“When do you need permission [to reproduce others’ work]?”

Eric Faden, in his video A Fair(y) Use Tale, as well as Eisner and Vicinus, argue that the freedom of exchange of ideas is essential to a society.

To what extent do we believe in “post-modern literary theory”, that nothing is inherently original — but built upon previous cultural work — and thus, prolonging duration of contemporary copyright law is detrimental to the creation of new ideas? Or, despite what is/is’t available in the public domain, is creative capacity not hindered, and the output is still there? Thoughts?





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