May 22, 2003 (11:09am):

Education and Copyright

Some people sense and others use "education being such an important task that no one should be allowed to survive on their fruits of labour." Whether to sense, believe in or deliberately use "the importance of education" as the reason or excuse to exploit others, exploitation is exploitation, not to be condoned by any equitable and civilized society.

Every book, every publication whether or not on the internet or in other digital format is potentially an education material. If so, should we say that all publications must be free just because they are useful in education? If so, are we to say that all authors, researchers, great thinkers, possibly the most important of all people in the human race, should have to starve, or beg on the streets while writing papers or books? Who are to feed them? The more intelligent and more productive they are, the less they get? While others enjoy the the luxury of education to acquire the knowledge created by these authors, the latter must dig into the garbage for a living? How preposterous! I say, the hell with their luxury. How dare they build their own paradise of luxury at the expense of others' necessities of life--- on the back of those belabouring intelligentsia? If they want it, they must pay for it. That means no free use of others' writings just in the name of education. Otherwise, the society would be inequitable indeed. The vampires suck the blood of the altruistic authors.

Authors' copyright must be protected and their work paid for. That's the only way for them to stand a chance of making a living. Gone are the days when the masters can suck their slaves' blood. But unless we protect the authors' rights, the society would slip back to those olden days of slavery and exploitation.

Most importantly, educators must be honourable in their conduct and set an example of honesty and integrity, respecting others' rights and freedoms, not going to the exact opposite and exploit the very authors who give them the very knowledge for them to have anything at all to teach their students.

People exploiting the very masters of knowledge are too reprehensible to be educators. We certainly don't want students taught to exploit their own masters [of knowledge].

This is one of the reasons why students caught plagiarizing others' work into their own Ph.D. theses already have had their degrees taken away by their own university: Because it's dishonest to claim others' work as one's own. How about using others' work as one's own, paying nothing for it? It's even more appalling in consequence and therefore more disgusting than plagiary. In plagiary, the plagiarist is merely passing off others' sentences as one's own. In using others' work for free without authorization, on the other hand, one eventually starves its creator to death. How ungrateful!

When one is an educator, one should not act as a thief or bandit; one should not openly steal or rob others' materials as "free for education" obviously to teach the students to become great thieves and bandits.

We should not have "The teacher is a thief." Instead, we must have "The teacher is an honourable man/woman."

Educators must be people of the greatest integrity, not the exact opposite. They must respect and protect others' rights, not do the exact opposite.

February 9, 2003 (6:48pm)

Protect the internet

Other than its instant global accessibility, Internet is merely another medium of publishing. Due to its value to mankind and education in particular, not only does it have to be treated in the same way as but also must it be given grater protection than any other publishing medium.

Being more accessible than and providing the same services as the library books, internet materials also have been given free for public viewing and certainly, just like the library materials, not to lose their copyright as well to the public. Obviously, internet publications must be treated as those in any other media such as the books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Otherwise, it would be an irrational and illogical discrimination against the internet as a medium. If so, there would cease to be valuable reference materials on the internet. Instead of making internet the greatest network of easy reference, it would become an inferior pool of throwouts their authors wish to just give away for nothing. The greater the protection, the more willing others would be willing to contribute, and the better the internet as a universal reference source. Like all encyclopaedias, it is there as a reference, not as a public property. Is it not enough that they are available as an easy reference? Do they have to become the properties of those using them as well? Don't you think there's that element of inequity and greed there?

Some wish to use internet materials free as their course materials. If so, they must give the authors the greatest protection. Otherwise, why should others prepare their lectures for them? Why don't they write their own course materials? While the real course creators live on handouts, these professors enjoy status, wealth and special privileges. If further they demand a free internet course materials, aren't they the greatest "exploiters ? Or, are they real professors? Surely there internet authors appear to be creating knowledge these professors themselves cannot invent.

Making anything available must be appreciated instead of discriminated against. Just because it=s more accessible it does not mean in any way that it should lose its rights. Quite to the contrary, more accessibility places on the users that greater responsibility to provide a greater protection. Convenience costs money, not "convenience means that we can take advantage of it."