Theories of Law

Executive Summary

The use of unauthorised copyright materials in classes has been a controversial issue, along with such as cheating on exams using smartphones, watches and spy glasses. Although Australia shows a slow progress in regards to using up-to-date teaching technology compare to other countries, innovative teachers and educators are profoundly concerned about the use of copyright materials. Currently, the term ‘fair use’ for the purpose of education in the classroom is not regulated in the current legislation. This essay will discuss the fair use of copyright materials by introducing “fair use” provisions, based on theories of utilitarianism, for educational purposes in Australian schools. It also discusses Bentham’s algorithm, felicific calculus, that calculates the degree of pain and pleasure according to the seven criteria. In this paper, only four major criteria including Intensity, Extent, Duration and Certainty will be addressed as these four factors are directly relevant to the proposal of this essay. In addition, this essay will briefly discuss possible law reforms to improve the educational environment of teachers and students in Australian schools.

 


Introduction

Jeff MacSwan and Kellie Rolstad, a couple at Arizona State University brought a proceeding against Arizona State University in regards to a violation of copyright law, claiming for three million dollars in damages. This occurred because Arizona State University provided an online course, which was developed by Jeff MacSwan and Kellie Rolstad without their permission.[1] This example proves that advanced in technology have not only changed people’s lives but also how technology transmutes teaching methods in schools all over the world. Despite the many great advantages of using up-to-date teaching technology, many issues arise as well. In particular, the use of unauthorised copyright materials in classes has been a controversial issue, along with such as cheating on exams using smartphones, watches and spy glasses. Although Australia shows a slow progress in regards to using up-to-date teaching technology compare to other countries, innovative teachers and educators are profoundly concerned about the use of copyright materials.[2] Currently, the Australian Law Reform Commission (‘ALRC’) is examining Australia’s copyright exceptions to make sure teachers and students are suitable for the digital environment.[3]

This essay will discuss the fair use of copyright materials by introducing “fair use” provisions, based on theories of utilitarianism, for educational purposes in Australian schools. Also, it discusses why stakeholders such as teachers, students, educational organisations and communities should be allowed to use copyright materials in order to provide a quality education service and improve educational environments.

 


[1]  Kaustuv Basu , Two former Arizona State University professors say that the university violated copyright laws by using their online course material without permission (14 March 2012) <https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/03/14/former-asu-professors-threatens-litigation-over-online-course-ownership>.

[2] A large number of schools in South Korea, United Arab Emirate and India have replaced textbooks with electronic books. Each government invests a great amount of money to improve the digital environment for teachers and students. In India, the Indian government has paid government subsidies for students to purchase tablet pcs for their studies since 2010. Students only pay $35 to purchase a tablet pc instead of using textbooks.

[3] Education Services Australia, Copyright and the digital economy <http://www.esa.edu.au/australian-law-reform-commission-copyright-and-the-digital-economy>.


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