Howard Besser's notes for oral testimony before Copyright Office 2/10/99 Los Angeles

Public Hearing on Promotion of Distance Education Through Digital Technologies

My background

  • faculty at both UCB & UCLAís School of Educ & Info Studies
  • one of my key specialty areas for research is in Teaching with New Technologies, and Iíve done quite a bit of research on Dist Learning, edited a special issue of a Journal on the topic, etc.
  • Iíve also written a couple of articles on Copyright, and I serve on a National Academy of Sciences panel on on Intellectual Property Rights in the Emerging Information Infrastructure
  • Iím here representing Dist Learning instructors at UCB, and my written remarks have been endorsed by several library and computer groups, including Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, the Progressive Librarians Guild, etc.
  • Iím mainly coming here to you today as a researcher on educational technology, and as a spokesperson for teachers who are trying to be interesting and engaging, and to help their students learn
  • It will take too long to detail all my written remarks, so Iíll just focus on a few key points here:

    Teaching with technology is very very difficult, and distance learning makes it even worse.  My research has shown:

    To be a decent teacher, you need flexibility

    Licensing schemes and other prior permission-seeking inhibit teaching flexibility

    Teachers need to be able to use various types of media, whether they are fictional or not.  The use of fictional media as part of a class often financially enhances rather than harms the rightsholder.  Another example from my own experience:

    In summary, Distance Learning and educational innovation will drastically suffer (and probably wither) if the section #110 exemptions are not extended to allow the same performance and display in a distant digital environment that we currently have in the classroom

    Answers to Questions Posed at Hearing

    Should exemptions cover content distributed by companies targeting the distance learning field

    If Distance Learning is such a growth area, why does it continue to require exemptions?

    Howard Besser
    Associate Professor
    UCLA Department of Information Studies

    address thru August 1999:
    School of Information Management & Systems
    102 South Hall
    University of California
    Berkeley, CA 94720-4600
    tel: (510)643-7365
    office: (510)642-1464
    fax: (510)642-5814

    Howard's prior written testimony
    Back to Howard's Distance Learning links