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Top Intellectual Property Developments of 2012

Introduction to the 2012 CCCC-IP Annual

This is the eighth volume of the CCCC Intellectual Property Annual, my sixth as editor. I’m excited about this year’s Annual: not only do the contributors offer their usual thoughtful analysis about developments in copyright law, such as Laurie Cubbison’s article about content industries’ use of bots to detect copyright infringement, Juliette Lapeyrouse-Cherry’s insightful application of patent law in a case of “seed piracy” to our notions of authorship and collaboration, and Jeffrey Galin’s article about the Georgia State University case’s implications for fair use and online coursepacks, but they also help us as teachers. James Porter’s article about MOOCs makes me proud to be the editor of an open-access publication and to help distribute this groundbreaking and timely work to a wide audience. Just read it.

The 2012 Annual also features two articles about plagiarism: I can easily imagine assigning Katie Kottemann’s essay about plagiarism and the Romney campaign in a pedagogy seminar or even a first-year writing class. Steven Engel and Chris Gerben’s analysis of the Harvard plagiarism scandal gives us a wonderfully clear explanation of the mixed messages students receive about authorship, collaboration, and plagiarism, which is helpful for any teacher as well.

The Annual ends with an essay by Cory Doctorow memorializing Aaron Swartz, a dynamic copyright activist who took his own life in early January of 2013. As you’ll read, he was embroiled in legal battles resulting from his efforts to make information free to all. His loss has been felt all over the world, prompting articles about him in Rolling Stone, Slate, Salon, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, and other periodicals. We are republishing Doctorow’s post, which he originally wrote for Boing Boing and released into the public domain.

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