World Book and Copyright Day

Steve McDonald, Collectanea, Apr 19, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Monday is 'World Book and Copyright Day' and is an example of UNESCO taking exactly the wrong turn. "There can be no book development without copyright," says UNESCO's Director-General Koichiro Matsuura. This, of course, is a crock, as people are proving with projects as varied as Wikipedia and open publishing on Lulu. The of the Open Educational Resources (OER) contemplated by UNESCO at its various forums. He writes, "The dual nature of these products of the publishing industry, which are both goods for sale and works of the mind, has repeatedly been emphasized. Much has also been said about the book as the driving force behind a wide array of income-generating activities..." If this is what he thinks, how seriously can we take UNESCO on OERs? Maybe Monday might be a good day to tell Koichiro Matsuura and the rest of UNESCO that open content is much more important to world development that the paltry incomes authors earn as a result of a system designed to deny knowledge and learning to the poor.
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