Volume 6, Issue 1, 2010
The current state of the fair use doctrine in the United States has been variously described as confusing, unsettled, and troublesome. The combination of a vague statute, a nationwide patchwork of restrictive and extra-legal classroom guidelines, and split court decisions with limited precedential value has left educators with no way to know, absent litigation, whether a given use of copyrighted materials is a fair use. While alternate solutions have been suggested to remedy this situation—including advice to courts on interpreting the statutory factors, recommended “fair use” language for inclusion in electronic resource licenses, and assertions that better guidelines or best practices are needed—this paper proposes that true fairness, clarity, and predictability can only be achieved through an amendment to the law providing “bright-line” standards for educational fair use.
The proposed amendment would declare that a presumption of noninfringement arises where the copying is done by a nonprofit educational institution, and the amount copied is less than or equal to one-third of any book, monograph, journal, magazine, or other text-based resource. “Copies” would be defined to include photocopies, e-reserves accessible only by students in the class for which the reading material was assigned, links to electronic resources via password-protected websites, and any like technologies. Such a law would fulfill the Constitutional purpose of promoting the progress of learning, as well as furthering a national policy of putting education first over the profit of publishers. The law would adhere to the benefit of greater academic freedom for instructors and help level the educational playing field for students.
We report the preliminary findings of a community-based participatory action research project grounded in the principles of emancipatory education. Born as a grassroots response to profound racial and socioeconomic segregation between the "gifted" and "regular" learning programs, this action research collaboration was centered in a middle school. The project curriculum was built on the premise that youth have the potential to become protagonists of integration. With that in mind, the project provided a space in which to become increasingly conscious about segregation and to imagine and enact new possibilities for integration. Findings from in-depth qualitative interviews with six youth participants reveal various youth efforts toward integration in three distinct layers of consciousness that we refer to as voice: (a) reflective voice as an awareness of self in segregated places and the associated social consequences; (b) dialogic voice as communal recognition of the structural nature of segregation, solidarity in opposition to it, and a common need for healing and reconciliation; and (c) praxis voice as the commitment to transforming segregated educational spaces through a critique of segregation and demand for subdermal diversity. We discuss the implications of these findings for continued transformative action at the local site and lessons for educational pedagogies and actions in general.
Why Can’t We All Just Be Individuals?: Countering the Discourse of Individualism in Anti-racist Education
Over many years as a white person co-facilitating anti-racism courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels and in the workplace for majority white participants, I have come to believe that the Discourse of Individualism is one of the primary barriers preventing well-meaning (and other) white people from understanding racism. Individualism is so deeply held in dominant society that it is virtually immovable without sustained effort. This article challenges the Discourse of Individualism by addressing eight key dynamics of racism that it obscures. I posit that the Discourse of Individualism functions to: deny the significance of race and the advantages of being white; hide the accumulation of wealth over generations; deny social and historical context; prevent a macro analysis of the institutional and structural dimensions of social life; deny collective socialization and the power of dominant culture (media, education, religion, etc.) to shape our perspectives and ideology; function as neo-colorblindness and reproduce the myth of meritocracy; and make collective action difficult. Further, being viewed as an individual is a privilege only available to the dominant group. I explicate each of these discursive effects and argue that while we may be considered individuals in general, white insistence on Individualism in discussions of racism in particular functions to obscure and maintain racism.
The Falcon Boys Car Club in East Oakland, comprised mostly of African American males and some Latinos, began fixing up late model Ford Falcons in the early '70s as a way to create a new identity for the members. Most of the members were ex-gang members, and had jobs in auto shops. Never considered desirable, old Falcons and Falcon parts were easy to come by, and allowed the members of the subculture to fix them up and exhibit flamboyant style as they would cruise in newly painted and accessorized Falcons for their immediate neighbors and acquaintances. This reclaiming and repurposing of otherwise disregarded detritus of consumer culture interrogates how different classes value and exhibit style, wealth, as well as mechanical expertise, especially in inner-city neighborhoods. Yet the Falcon Boys remain unknown and undocumented in the larger car culture or in most popular histories of the Bay Area. In 2005 Oakland filmmaker Brian Lilla followed around the best-known members of the Falcon Boys, producing a documentary that won awards in festivals. The film, "Ghetto Fabulous," is the most authentic and to date the only self-produced document of this subculture, yet is not available to the general public. The distribution of the film is controlled and limited by members of the Club themselves, who wish to carefully regulate who knows about them and how. In the last 20 years, mass media reporting on urban car culture has been focused and co-opted by illegal and dangerous sideshows that have drawn unwanted attention on the original members, and rather than be misunderstood or imitated, the Club not only has resisted further attempts to distribute the film, but to have anyone else add to this "official record." Instead access to the group's members, and copies of the footage from the film, is granted only to an inner circle of acquaintances. This limiting and controlled access to the archival record of their history and members authenticates the sparse evidence of their existence and preserves the hometown, face-to-face aspect of their public exhibition of cars and showmanship.
Policies of censorship and secrecy in federal governance skyrocketed under the Bush Administration in the wake of 9/11; these measures allowed for the detainment of some 700 predominately Arab and South Asian immigrants, though no evidence was released linking them with the terrorist attacks. The documents pertaining to the holding of these “special interest” detainees were kept secret for a number of years, and only released by the Department of Justice after significant external pressures from watchdog groups such as the ACLU. Two artists, Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani, have called into question this exponential increase in the concealment of government documents with a project titled Index of the Disappeared. The multifaceted work, which utilizes several media as well as a variety of site-specific methods of engagement, employs radical archival practices in an attempt to “[foreground] the difficult histories of immigrant, ‘Other’ and dissenting communities in the U.S. since 9/11.” Through these efforts, the artists question the structures of archives and power in place in this country today. Using Ganesh and Ghani’s work as a touchstone, this paper seeks to examine the ways in which archival and recordkeeping practices function in the United States, and the potential long-term consequences increased secrecy might have on our cultural memory. Mobilizing archival, social, and critical theories, this paper interrogates The Archive’s relationship to power, and how that authority is translated into a collective memory. Building from Ganesh and Ghani’s notion of “warm data” – that which is opposed to the “cold data” of official records – the paper ultimately suggests that an integration of history and art, such as that suggested by Nietzsche, could proliferate in The Archive, therefore both arousing our instincts and preserving them.