Revolution Lullabye

May 26, 2009

Kolko, Intellectual Property in Synchronous and Collaborative Virtual Space

Kolko, Beth E. “Intellectual Property in Synchronous and Collaborative Virtual Space.” Computers and Composition 15 (1998): 163-183.

Kolko discusses the challenges of citing conversations from MOOs (like chat rooms.) These conversations are inherently responsive and recursive (making it impossible to pull one comment out of context), sit on the border between the private and the public (making it questionable whether the person is publishing their words to the whole world, and thus whether or not you can use it), are a hybrid of writing and speaking (also making it difficult to know how and if to cite this material), and have no stable author (use of pseudonyms.) Kolko tries to define how to cite MOOs (which she does in her paper) and what can be used for research through the framework of copyright law, but then, at the end  of her piece, argues that we need to stop using copyright law to determine how we treat these sources, instead looking at the nature of digital MOO collaborative conversations first.

Quotable Quotes

“Definitions of ownership and property fracture when we rethink the relationship of an individual contribution to a larger social space” (164).

Notable Notes

conflation of copyright and plagiarism. Asks two questions: 1. how do we assign rights/ownership to digital Internet conversations (often anonymous/pseudonymous) and 2. how do we cite these conversations – can we?

internet researchers don’t have to go through the same loops as in-person researchers, they can stalk these MOOs and pull off comments and conversations like a fly on the wall, not having to go through all the work

what kind of space is the MOO?

uses feminist theory to talk about the blurring of private and public spaces, collaborative ownership and authorship

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