19 October 2010

Changing "Authorship" in the 21st Century

In my Learning with Internet course, we were challenged to watch this video and post a response on our discussion board.  My emphasis was on the end of the video, but is thoughtful throughout.  My response is after the vid.

 Digital, hyper, dynamic text is forcing us to re-evaluate our understanding of what is copyright worthy, what is "authorship", and plagarism.  

When anyone can be an author using WYSIWYG web-editing platforms (of which I am also writing right now), and text from anywhere else can be copy and pasted into those platforms, I think plagarism and copyrighted material get a little hairier to find.  Sure, someone who has not also established credibility on a topic is not able to pass someone else's ideas off as their own (for instance, if I were to suddenly have a swath of knowledge about raising thoroughbreds), but someone already known in the field could more easily accomplish the task.  

To quote Dash from The Incredibles, "When everyone is special, no one is."  Can we apply it to 21st century authorship?  "When everyone can be a "credible" author, then no one can?"

On another plagarism thought, I was astounded to find out last spring that I had seniors in my math class who thought they had not "plagarized" because they had not copy and pasted, but rather hand typed the text into a project.  "I wrote it myself," he said.  I think the biggest influence on authorship from video and multimedia on the web is that the mash-up or remix is viewed as a "new" project by many.  Personally, I think this is a Reader's Digest approach to creativity.