This paper presents a social media campaign called “Right to Study” (#DerechoaEstudiar), aimed at opening a debate in Uruguay on access to learning resources, promoting the Copyright’s Reform (CR) and Open Educational Resources (OER) adoption among university student population. It was carried forward from the academy, aimed at empowering students with information based on a former study (LATIn, 2014) that would allow them to promote public educational policy changes, and also sought to collaborate in the current debate on the amendments to harmonize the Copyright Law (No. 9,739, 1937) in Uruguay to current needs and practices, including the exceptions to use resources for educational, research and library purposes.
Different approaches have been developed around the idea of the abundance of content (Duval, Verbert & Klerkx, 2011). However, this was challenged by the nature of intellectual property and the global battle against public domain and open licenses, and greater protection for authors’s rights than users’s rights.
Traditionally, promotion of OER has been presented independently from the promotion of CR. This could be related to the history of the open movement, which began as a response to the copyright law itself, open licenses have been seen as a replacement for a inequitable law (Tarkowski, 2016). These separated paths have in recent times seen members of the open movement begin to participate in debates on CR with the Right to Education as a goal (Tarkowski, 2015), (Tarkowski, 2016), (Vollmer, 2013).
#DerechoaEstudiar also conceived CR and OER as complementary dimensions to guarantee the Right to Education. Promotion of exceptions and limitations ensures legitimate access to the sources of knowledge and gives a framework to educational practices in the digital age (LATin, 2014) (Czerniewicz, 2016). Promotion of OER seeks the creation of public policies and other models of publication for the public educational institutions and the States.
During Open Education Week 2016, a series of infographics based on data collected from (LATin, 2014) were published in social media in institutional accounts of Udelar and the Federation of University Students of Uruguay (FEUU). The first infographic presents types of texts used by UdelaR students, showing a “gray zone” (Czerniewicz, 2016) in access to academic resources. Second infographic presents data on the problem of access to the study materials and the third one alludes to the high impact of the purchase of textbooks in student’s budget. The fourth addresses the features of Open Educational Resources, and last one show students preferences in respect to digital open textbooks.
During this period we delivered 20 tweets from different accounts obtaining 14600 interactions, with an average of 1300 impressions per day. This generated an average interaction rate of 3.9%, with the maximum peak being 4.2%. On the web, a related article had 3500 visits in the period.
As results, the campaign was not only appropriated by students, it also reached impacts in the general population, and taken up in the press. This public impact shown the importance of an integrated approach in copyright reform and OER public policy advocacy. A new law, including exceptions and limitations for educational and library uses, was approved by the majority of the Senate and today is under discussion in the Chamber of Deputies. Its promulgation would place Uruguay in agreement with other countries of the world that allow different exceptions to properly regulate the subject.
Czerniewicz, L.(2016) ‘Student practices in copyright culture: accessing learning resources’, Learn.Media Technol, vol.0, no0, pp. 1–14.
Duval, E.;Verbert,K. & Klerkx, J.(2011) ‘Towards an Open Learning Infrastructure for Open Educational Resources: Abundance as a Platform for Innovation’, in Rainbow of Computer Science, Eds. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 144–156.
LATIn Project (2014). ‘Iniciativa Latinoamericana de Libros de Texto Abiertos LATIn’, ESPOL, Guayaquil,[Online]. Available:http://www.proyectolatin.org/pdfs/final_document.pdf
Tarkowski, A.(2015) ‘Securing user rights in education – reflections from our policy debate.’, International Communia Association, [Online].Availablehttp://www.communia-association.org/2015/11/27/securing-user-rights-education-reflections-policy-debate/
Tarkowski, A (2016) ‘Two sides of the same coin: open education and copyright reform: How did we get involved?”, Medium, 01-Dec-2015.
Vollmer, T. (2013) ‘Supporting Copyright Reform’, Creative Commons blog, 16-Oct-2013. [Online].Available:https://creativecommons.org/2013/10/16/supporting-copyright-reform/