Blog Post

Digital Ethics & Digital Workshop on Ownership of Digital Content

First post!!!

I started this group because I wanted a place to talk about all the weird ethical baggage of the digital spaces we engage in and with in a meaningful way across discplines. I want to do some collaborative online experimental workshop type things with people in various places, discplines to think through some of our common practices because I think it's fun, and I like to play with other people.

As an example, the first workshop is up!

One of the things I've been thinking about are "clickwrap" agreements. Clickwrap is basically when you mark the check box that says you agree to the terms on a website. It is a non-negotiable, legally binding contract, which is strange. I came to be interested in this through a summer project I completed at Microsoft Research New England on MOOCs (the public talk is available for vieweing here. Ignore the crazy hair, it was a long (and amazing) summer and my mentor took me to a bar the night before). 

While the focus of my project was MOOCs, most sites that we participate on and contribute to have terms that remove ownership in meaningful ways from the original producer of the content, without any means of negotiating or having visibility on what is happening once the content has been submitted to digital space. I think that we can do better though. So I created a document on an etherpad that with my first draft thoughts on what a content ownership agreement that is more ethical or more respectful of creator/submitter ownership might look like.


The Workshop

From November 11-15 the document above (on an etherpad, anonymous and no sign in required) will be actively being shared to invite participation in rethinking terms on digital sites where users create content. Please add, edit, comment, etc on anything you think could be better than what are current practices are.
Digital Constraints:  you only get to agree to this ONCE and the terms are NON-NEGOTIABLE. 
Reasoning: The practice of agreeing to terms (usually without reading them) is now a cultural norm. if you think of high traffic sites, especially social media sites, where the users create the content and the site is merely the platform for sharing user generated content and making sense of it, it is unrealistic that every user would be able to have their own unique contract tailored to them. 
Goal: To come up with draft terms that are more transparent that give content creators and uploaders more control over their content over its digital lifecycle.



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