Wednesday, October 22, 2008
  "Fair Use and the Future of the Commons," discussion on

"An announcement from

Veronica Paredes, a HASTAC Scholar from USC, has just opened our next HASTAC Scholars Discussion Forum on "Fair Use and the Future of the Commons," featuring the non-profit advocacy coalition Critical Commons. Please come join the discussion!

Fair Use and the Future of the Commons
Discussion forum open now at

Coinciding with a day-long Critical Commons event to take place at USC's Annenberg Research Park on Oct 27, this forum will address the fear, uncertainty and misinformation dominating the discourse of copyright and intellectual property. Fair Use has become one of the most vexing issues in today's academic landscape. As educators, what are our rights and responsibilities when working with copyrighted media (images, audio, video) under the current copyright regime? In light of recent developments in legislation (e.g. the creation of a 'copyright czar'), how is this copyright regime changing? How can media scholars and artists avoid chilling effects and self-censorship? How can we contribute to advocacy and reform of fair use protections?

Inspired by Critical Commons, a non-profit advocacy coalition that supports the use of media in educational contexts, this forum will explore these urgent questions and aim to provide some tangible answers. The forum will also document and engage a real-life Critical Commons event - a series of presentations and discussions with key players in the advancement and redefinition of fair use (which will include a keynote presentation from Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law at American University and co-chair on the Code of Best Practices Committee at the Center for Social Media). The event will be coupled with a faculty showcase and hands-on workshops at the Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML), as well as a virtual space to join in on the conversation at the IML island in Second Life. Possibilities for participation are many and diverse: read and post on the forum; attend presentations and discussions in Second Life; visit us in Southern California and participate in a workshop at the IML!

The goal of this forum is to bring clarity to questions of fair use for scholars and educators working with copyrighted media for research, teaching and electronic publication. This forum, in its multiple forms, will facilitate some much-needed discussion of the state of contemporary Fair Use and where we should be setting our sights for the future.

Veronica Paredes is a PhD student in the new interdivisional program Media Arts and Practice (iMAP) at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. While at USC, she has worked as a research and teaching assistant for the Institute for Multimedia Literacy. Her research interests include digital scholarship, transnational online economies and audio culture. Her work explores histories of technology and culture through the topics of gender, labor and race.

Critical Commons, a winner of the 2007 HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media & Learning Competition Knowledge Networking award, is a non-profit advocacy coalition that supports the use of media in educational contexts, providing resources, information and tools for scholars, students and educators. They aim to: Facilitate the writing and dissemination of best practices and fair use guidelines for academic communities; Showcase innovative electronic scholarship that is free, open source, or fair use; Inform educators about current copyright law and its alternatives; Provide a tool for viewing, tagging, annotating and distributing media for classroom use; Build an open, informed community around media-based education, scholarly research and critical practice; and Share tools, resources and information of interest to educators, students and researchers."
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(Film, Video and New Media department at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago; New Media Art Histories; Art Games + Independent Gaming Cultures; Open Source, Artware + early Video Art; Computer Witchcraft + Majikal Media Art)

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