All NECC content should be shareable

There is a lively conversation occurring on the NECC 2008 Ning regarding fair use of NECC sessions. My reply to the original post is below. As you can see, I’m afraid we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture…


I would like to see ISTE take a different stance on this. I thought ISTE was in the business of trying to make change in education, specifically around the utilization of technology in K-12 schools. How are we going to make that happen if we allow folks at the ISTE-sponsored conference to lock down content? How are we going to help facilitate true, meaningful technology-related reform if we aren’t making important resources like NECC presentations available to the teaching public at large?

Instead of ISTE saying:

“Written permission from the session or workshop presenter is required prior to capturing a video or audio recording.”

ISTE should be saying at the time of proposal submission (and when inviting keynote speakers):

“Any presentation given at NECC falls under a Creative Commons and/or other open use license. We encourage you to share this content with educators to enhance their knowledge and facilitate change in K-12 school organizations. Here is a publicly-editable wiki for web addresses of public repositories (such as ISTE recordings, Technorati tags, uStream archives, etc.) that may be useful to you.”

All presenters – even the expensive ones – should fall under this rule. If they don’t like it, they don’t present.

If necessary, ISTE could help speakers understand that their own visibility, reputation, and potential income are enhanced, not hurt, by this policy. Think about the recordings of Clay Shirky, Seth Godin, and others that are out on the Web. Think about all of the TED videos. Are those individuals losing income because their presentations are available on the Web? Absolutely not. Instead, they are gaining bigger audiences and more customers precisely because they’re more visible than they would be otherwise.

Charles Leadbeater says in his ‘We Think’ video that we now are what we share. He’s absolutely right.

Given its larger mission, ISTE should be thinking more outside the box on this one.

To sum up: Instead of requiring participants to get permission to record, ISTE should be requiring presenters to give up their copyright for the good of the larger cause.

Do you think I’m right or completely off-base? Head on over to the Ning discussion and participate in the conversation!

5 Responses to “All NECC content should be shareable”

  1. I agree. However, unless there’s an agreement that all sessions will be videotaped, it is common courtesy to ask someone if it’s okay to videotape them before videotaping.

  2. Mathew,

    While courtesy is always good, a video camera can be seen as an extension of the eye and memory.

    The fact that a presenter is willing to share to 30 people in a public setting, should mean they’d be willing sharing to a potentially larger audience. I fail to see the difference or at least fully appreciate the arguments against sharing content.

  3. I think the problem goes beyond asking presenters to license their presentations CC. I have asked both ITEC and TIES if I can Ustream my sessions. TIES told me that because people pay to go to their conference that it undermines their ability to sell the conference if people can view sessions for free. ITEC told me they would take it to their board of directors. They have not gotten back to me yet but I have a feeling their response will be similar. In my case, I am a presenter who wants to license his presentations CC and share them with a wider audience but it is the organizations that are preventing me from doing so. I guess I could always record my presentations without the audience and publish them myself and I have done so in some cases but it would have much more impact if these organizations recognized, sponsored, and promoted this effort.

  4. I agree that the content of presentations should be in the creative commons.

    I also work for a school board that wants me to “protect their intellectual property.” Their policy is pretty broad…I would have to have all my thoughts about a topic and did the work completely on my own time for it to be not theirs. I think this is standard boilerplate from the state school board association lawyers.

    Having two kids and a bank mortgage to feed, I really don’t want to go too far in the sharing department. I hope that CCL would be good enough for the board.

    ISTE, TIES and many school boards had better be careful because sharing is why we go to these conferences. It is not hard to see where stifling the exchange of ideas is going to hurt everyone, including the “owners” of the conference.

    We are only going to get as good as we give. Next time I present, I’m going to use a Creative Commons License and put it right in my handout. Please consider sharing your best ideas at your next conference.

  5. Scott,

    Presenters could also be proactive on this issue, and refuse to present unless their work could be released under a CC license.

    ISTE’s stance on ownership is one of the reasons why I opted not to submit a proposal this year. What ISTE fails to realize is that NECC is a community masquerading as a conference. Vendors pay to access the community; attendees pay to access the community. Using CC licenses would extend NECC’s/ISTE’s reach, as more people could see what happens during the conference, but ISTE doesn’t seem to get that. This attitude toward content is obvious from their webinars; if they archived the sessions and released out video transcripts, they might actually have some useful content.

    (Obviously, there are some simplifications here, but I’m short on time, and this is really ISTE’s problem to solve, not mine. Maybe I’ll blog about it later)

    But to get back to my original point: NECC is nothing without presenters. If a critical mass of presenters refused to participate without CC licensing, ISTE could either listen and adapt, or decline into (increasing) irrelevance.



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