Monday, August 25, 2008

Student Athlete Offers Payment for Writing His Paper

The penalty for a University of Buffalo basketball star placing a Facebook ad offering $30-40 for reading and writing about a book assigned in a course is a three-game suspension. The Buffalo (NY) News covers this story in its August 23, 2008 edition and features a quote from the "solicitation of academic fraud" Facebook request by University at Buffalo senior guard Andy Robinson (UB’s Robinson Suspended 3 Games). Another University of Buffalo student found the listing on Facebook and notified the student newspaper. Robinson "violated UB’s policies regarding academic integrity." However, he served the team well last season as the top scoring player.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Was Robinson's punishment sufficient for his academic integrity infraction? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think athletes get preferential treatment if they break campus rules?
  3. If he wasn't the team's top scorer, would he receive a more severe penalty?

Prince's Music in YouTube Video Ruled as Fair Use

The San Francisco Chronicle's August 21, 2008 issue reports that "small and innocuous" use of music clips doesn't warrant a demand by copyright owners to remove a video from the Internet (Woman Can Sue over YouTube Clip De-Posting). U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose, CA made this ruling, seen as a major victory for what is considered fair use (see explanation of fair use at the U.S. Copyright Office) of copyrighted material. Federal law from 1998 allows copyright holders to order a "takedown" of unauthorized Internet material without substantiating infringement or filing suit. However, this latest ruling comes after a woman posted a 29-second video of her son dancing to Prince's song, "Let's Go Crazy" and Universal Music Corp. required that YouTube delete it and others using Prince's works.

Discussion Questions:
  1. In your opinion, does the use of a particular piece of music in YouTube videos hurt or help the artist that created that music?
  2. If a YouTube video gives credit to the original performer like Prince, should it be okay to use his music? Why or why not?
  3. If a YouTube video is made "just for fun" and not for commercial purposes, is it okay to use copyrighted music in the video? Why or why not?