Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Driving the market place of ideas offline

Ottawa's Northern Blue Publishing offers new options in its History of Canada Online and invites comments and questions.

The whole project, effectively a new interactive textbook history of Canada, is available for public use, and NBP notes:
Under the terms of use, ministries, boards, individual schools and other bodies must licence the product for institutional use.
History of Canada Online would seem to be precisely the kind of digital-savvy, innovative new media product that the recent proposed amendments to the Copyright Act will kill. The proposal is that education will become a copyright-free zone, so that big educational institutionals could simply appropriate materials such as these without licence. The result seems to be to make projects like HCO fundamentally uneconomic. Only agencies (and scholars) that gain official permission and have access to large public subsidies will be able to contribute to the educational endeavour. This kind of top-down control of knowledge seems to be precisely the reverse of what digital culture aspires to be.

But the smart people at Northern Blue are fast on their feet. They may have options up their sleeves.
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