CMEC Renews Call for Educational Exemption

Sam Trosow points to (and dismantles) the latest CMEC call for an Internet exception to cover "free stuff" on the Internet.  The CMEC proposal continues to drive a wedge between education groups and discouragingly burns important political capital on an ill-advised reform that is unnecessary and potentially harmful.


  1. A decent examination of the issues surrounding any exemption from a law.

    One issue with respect to the CMEC proposal that I didn’t pick up on while reading the article, however, is that under this proposal, a student’s rights will change after graduation. While at school they will have access under the education exemption. However, upon graduation, this will disappear. While I can understand the desire for an educational exemption, this can lead to a misunderstanding of what constitutes “fair use” rights. I can see a person being hit with a copyright violation for course notes, etc, that they retained from school, once they are out in the workforce.

  2. Crosbie Fitch says:

    Student’s rights remain unchanged
    Actually, the student’s rights would remain unchanged.

    What would change is the copyright holder’s privilege, i.e. they wouldn’t have the privilege of pursuing students for (what would normally be) infringements committed whilst a student, but any new infringements the ex-student commits thereafter, the copyright holder would have the privilege of prosecuting.

    It then becomes a task for copyright holders to date all infringements in case they occurred whilst the infringer was a student – and were thus not infringements of their privilege to suspend non-students’ right to freedom of expression.

    It would be copyright abolition by the back door, but it’s a start.

    Then people would wonder why students’ right to freedom of expression was recognised, whereas everyone else has to suffer its suspension to create a mercantile privilege.

    All artists would become art students pretty sharpish.

  3. Crosbie, in case it didn\’t come across, I wasn\’t claiming that the student\’s rights would change (at least that wasn\’t my intent). Rather, as you pointed out, the person\’s rights change when they transition from being a student to not.

    The issue that I have with such an exemption is that it can give the person, as a student, a misunderstanding of what their \”fair use\” rights are. Carrying that out of school can expose them to action by the copyright holders. If such an exemption is granted to schools, they they also have a responsibility to ensure that their students understand the difference.

  4. Crosbie Fitch says:

    Fair use is a defense
    I probably need to make it clearer too: A person’s rights would not change when they transition from being a student to an ex-student. What would change is the law’s recognition and protection of those rights, vis-a-vis the commercial privilege to supercede those rights granted to a copyright holder.

    Fair use is not a right, but an appeal and potential defense against copyright infringement.

    The human right to liberty (aka freedom of expression – where truth remains unimpaired, privacy unviolated, and life unthreatened) is the right whose recognition copyright suspends.

    Students would be better educated to understand that their rights are inalienable (whether student or not) and hopefully self-evident, but that the state in its infinite wisdom sees fit to abrogate their citizens’ rights where commercially expedient – and commerce is happy to provide incentives to legislators to maintain and extend their privileges (of copyright and patent).