Code: Intellectual Property, Fair Use and Plagiarism - Open Discussion

Through an open discussion, this panel seeks to address these theoretical complexities, and explore pedagogical perspectives and practical solutions. The scope of this panel will include theoretical perspectives on the differences between natural language and code, legal perspectives on Fair Use and Intellectual Property, and pedagogical perspectives on teaching computer programming.
Dates: 
Thursday, 15 September, 2011 - 09:00 - 10:30
Chair Person: 
Joel Swanson
Chair Person: 
Rachel Beth Egenhoefer
Presenters: 
Zach Blas
Presenters: 
Maja Kalogera

Chair: Joel Swanson
2nd Chair: Rachel Beth Egenhoefer

In her book “My Mother was a Computer,” theorist N. Katherine Hayles has written about the critical differences between natural languages and computer languages. She writes, “...code differs from speech and writing in that it exists in clearly differentiated versions that are executable in a process that includes hardware and software…” (Hayles 52). The rise of digital arts within academic programs has meant that many more people are now learning how to program and write code. Within the digital arts, programming is most often taught through code samples, tutorials, modification and adaptation. But this practice can become problematic as we try to locate intellectual property through regulatory practices designed for natural language, like plagiarism, onto computer languages. Plagiarism is taken extremely seriously within higher education, but rules governing these practices exhibit certain failings when applied to non-natural languages. Within the humanities, there are numerous and highly detailed methods for citation (MLA, Chicago, etc.). Yet within programming, there is a lack of standardized citation practices. Beyond the practical level of citation, how should originality and intellectual property be located within computer code? Additionally, there has been ample dialogue surrounding appropriation and Fair Use of imagery, but again, code stands in contrast to the logic of the image. For code, what is original, how should authorship be located and demarked, and what concepts fall under the auspices of Fair Use?

Through an open discussion, this panel seeks to address these theoretical complexities, and explore pedagogical perspectives and practical solutions. The scope of this panel will include theoretical perspectives on the differences between natural language and code, legal perspectives on Fair Use and Intellectual Property, and pedagogical perspectives on teaching computer programming.

Bios of the Participants

Zach Blas

Zach Blas is an artist and writer working at the intersections of networked media, queerness, and the political. he is particularly interested in activist art that address the methods and styles in which technologies, bodies, and capital impact, reconstitute, and proliferate assemblages of sexuality, gender, and knowledge, alongside the potentials and possibilities of reshaping these assemblages as well as reconfiguring un/human modes of agency and resistance. his current project, queer technologies, is an organization that develops applications and situations for queer intervention and social formation.

Zach is a phd student in literature, information science + information studies, and visual studies at duke university. he holds a mfa from the design | media arts department at the university of california los angeles, a post-baccalaureate certificate from the school of the art institute of chicago in the art and technology studies department, and a bachelor of science from boston university in film and philosophy.

Maja Kalogera

Maja Kalogera is an artist, curator and community catalyst who consistently places herself at the convergence of art and technology. Born in Zagreb, she holds B.F.A. from School of Applied and Visual arts, Zagreb and M.Arch.from Architecture University, Zagreb. From 1999 she is member of the online collective wowm.org. Her creative work over the past 15 years has included a wide range of mediums including digital and interactive media, photography, painting, video and film. In 2005, she founded Center for synergy of digital and visual arts, a Zagreb based NGO, that provides her unique approach focused on synergy between traditional art media with new, digital media. In her own own artwork she is interested in how people participate in physical and virtual spaces. This has led to digital tools and interactive projects as "Ground of My Studio", "Accessible Happiness", "Is this a picture?" and "Rothko Generator".