Association for Learning Technology Online Newsletter
Issue 13 July 2008   Monday, July 21, 2008

ISSN 1748-3603

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by Alice Gugan

  • Do Intellectual Property (IP) rights exist in a virtual world and, if so, who owns them?
  • What happens if you can’t find the rights holders?
  • How can risks associated with content re-use be sensibly managed?
These are just some of the questions that a brand new support project has been advising JISC projects on, as well as portraying IPR and copyright information for projects in a new way.

The Web2Rights project is an initiative funded by the JISC Users & Innovation programme. It was initially established to develop a practical and relevant IP toolkit to support the programme’s own projects in the arena of social software and web 2.0, has turned IPR advice on its head, with a pedagogical, pathway-led approach. 

Screenshot from Web2rights

Figure 1: Screenshot from Web2Rights

“It’s about a different way of presenting information” explains Naomi Korn, IPR Consultant, “and about thinking about user needs first and foremost. Rather than those using new technologies having to make sense of copyright issues, the Web2Rights project provides more practical user-based help, providing ‘pathways’ to information.”
As well as the more traditional fact sheets and templates, a core part of the project toolkit is the use of interactive diagrams, diagnostic tools and other image-based materials such as animations and videoheads. “These have only just been launched but we’ve introduced these as part of the pedagogical approach” continues Naomi. “Not only can individuals access these tools and make use of them, but they can also be used in educational contexts, actually in the classroom, and we’re more than happy for this to happen.” Other more established services, such as JISC Legal and the Open Source service OSSWatch, are also referenced.

The Web2Rights model has a broad appeal, evidenced by the fact that several hundred users from around the worldhave already taken an interest in the project’s website. “Although this was developed for the Users and Innovation programme, it’s already clear that there was a real need for a new way of showing how IPR fits in to everyday new technologies, and we’re delighted it’s attracting such a strong amount of interest in the early stages,” says Lawrie Phipps, Programme Manager.  
Projects likely to find the Web2Rights tools useful are those which are adapting and deploying pre-existing tools, technologies and software, developing new ones, adapting and using their own content, or using that created by a third party. The toolkit can be found at or through the JORUM repository.  

Alice Gugan,

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