maura @ 10:30 pm
Right now we’re in the midst of our busy teaching time at work, when most of the English Comp classes (between 60-100 per semester!) come in for a session to learn how to do research in the library. I usually start off my sessions by talking about finding information on the internet. As a segue into discussing library resources I ask the students: “Is there anything, any kind or format of information, that is NOT available for free on the internet?” Usually most of them assert that everything is on the internet, and then I jump into finding books in the library catalog and scholarly journal articles in the subscription databases.
I was caught off guard by one student’s response last week, in an 8:30am class no less! “You can just download anything you need, even books.”
Woah. I do mention a bit about copyright during these sessions and we talk some about plagiarism, but I’ve never had a student bring up peer-to-peer file sharing before. There were a couple of articles about illegal textbook downloading on the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s website last year, but the issue didn’t feel concrete to me until today. With the insanity of textbook prices and students’ limited budgets I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was.
And speaking of pirates, they’re apparently the subject of one of the most popular courses taught in the Anthropology department of my alma mater these days. Course content includes both pirates with peg-legs + parrots as well as the kinds of pirates that the RIAA has in their sights, and copyright issues too.