The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Dick Kawooya

Theorizing and Practicing Fair Use: Copyright Challenges for Africa’s Higher Education

Dick Kawooya
Sch of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee

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     Last modified: August 23, 2006
     Presentation date: 10/31/2006 4:00 PM in NT Manchester
     (View Schedule)

The doctrinal basis for fair use in the copyright system is anything but clear. What constitutes fair use and intent of the doctrine remains contentious. Even when fair use is somewhat defined in the law, courts still assess incidences of fair use on a case-by-case basis. The copyright system is premised on ability to access privately owned resources. Fair use notwithstanding, the copyright system creates room for rights owners to set access terms. Africa’s higher education system, already constrained by resources to serve impoverished communities may not accommodate the strict interpretation of the fair use. For instance, high demand levels for photocopying, occasioned by high costs of educational materials beyond what students and faculty can afford, have led to ‘Petty Photocopying Businesses,' in some cases, outside ‘conventional’ fair use provisions of the copyright system. Virtual, open or distance education, fronted as remedies to Africa’s human resource needs add another dimension to the copyright crisis in Africa. How should Africa Higher education deliver educational content within acceptable copyright system? Does the ‘conventional’ interpretation of fair use work in Africa’s context? These and more questions will be raised for participants to ponder Africa’s option vis-ŕ-vis copyright and education on the continent.

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