Social media are the latest wave of Internet-powered creativity to challenge notions of copyright and fair use. How do scholars and students know the ethical and legal constraints in social networks where sharing is the norm rather than the exception?
It was not long after the World Wide Web’s inception that its paradigm of freely sharing information clashed with mainstream notions of information as property. Social media like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are both the latest canvases for creators to express themselves as well as the latest battlegrounds for conflicts over intellectual property.
Wendy Seltzer is unusually qualified to clear the air around fair use in the Instagram age. As strategy lead and counsel for the W3C consortium, she literally represents the Web in its interaction with international law and civil concerns. Her background includes affiliations with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tor project, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Seltzer also founded and developed the Lumen Database/Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a project to study and combat the ungrounded legal threats that chill activity on the Internet.
Finding a common ground between the rule of law and the practice of artists and art historians has been an enduring concern for Anne Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin Museum of Art and former curator at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum. As President of the College Art Association in 2015, Goodyear spearheaded the development of a Code of Best Practices for visual artists in the fair use of copyright materials.
Following a discussion including these legal luminaries will be a workshop on legal innovations of the Internet era, such as how to apply a Creative Commons license or use the privacy-respecting Tor browser.
Photo of Wendy Seltzer by Joi Ito from Inbamura, Japan – CC BY 2.0.