OpenEd13 – why is this video not “open”?

Short answer: because intellectual property is broken (and someone should do something)

Long answer:

It would be entirely possible to use exactly the same words as are used in the video, in the same order, and do a traditional presentation. This presentation would be “open”.

It would be possible to link to all of the resources I used in creating the video from a slide at the end of the presentation – this would still be “open”.

It would be possible to type out a transcript of the video, add links to sources, and publish as a blog post. This would be open.

It would be possible to do all of the above, to the backing of the music I wrote for the video (which is yours to have as CC-BY), to camera, and the resulting video would be “open”.

However, as I wanted to use the voices of the people who said the words I am quoting, and as I wanted to show images of the people I was talking about, the video suddenly becomes a licensing nightmare.

It is difficult to know whose benefit is served with this arrangement. The vast majority (all but one clip) of the film I have used was not made with the expectation of financial gain. Most of what I have used clips from films made by governments, agencies and businesses made with the sole aim of being seen as widely as possible in order to pass on information and opinions. By providing a full set of links, I hope that my film will drive people to seek out the sources and engage with them.

There are three main exceptions to this overarching policy:

The material from Adam Curtis’ “The Trap“. I wrote to Adam, and he replied that he was unable to grant me formal permission but was content for me to use the material for the purposes of critique and without the expectation of profit. The whole series is available CC-NC-ND anyway.

We are the people we’ve been waiting for” – this *is* a commercial film, but it was developed to give away free with a national newspaper. It was made to raise awareness, and if by using the film I have made you aware of the film, then surely I am doing the same thing.

Pink Floyd’s “The Wall“. And here you have me. I’ve no justification for using a clip from this film, it is commercially available and you can actually buy it, should you wish. (which cannot be said for any other excerpt). And, to be honest, the start of “We are the people…” looks so similar that I didn’t need to actually use the film itself. But for the point I was making, using “The Wall” as a cultural touchstone was essential. I can’t help but assume that the nod to “The Wall” in “We are the people…” was intentional, and it was noting that similarity that started me on the creative journey that led to part 3 of the film.

I became convinced that ideas similar to those expressed in the “Happiest days of our lives/another brick in the wall part 2” sequence underpin much of the mindset of those involved in education reform. And it represents a part of the dominant narrative about compulsory education, which is amplified and perpetuated by the fetishization of the “successful drop-out” in western culture. So it is there for an artistic reason, if that helps.

I’m sure it’s my use of “The Wall” that will get this film removed from YouTube, and I hope that someone somewhere appreciates that the story I am telling is as opposed to the rigid process-driven conceptualisation of education as Roger Waters is himself.

2 thoughts on “OpenEd13 – why is this video not “open”?”

  1. I understand your reasoning, but it seems like you have a pretty strong case for Fair Use, including the Pink Floyd clip. At any rate, I hope people will just go ahead and treat the video as if it is open!

    1. Fair use isn’t a thing in the UK, or in many other countries. I agree that I’m not actively harming anyone in using in it, or stopping people from buying “The Wall” on DVD… but this is how screwy intellectual property law is globally.

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