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Hi fellow Wikipedians. I'm brand new here and I know there is a very strict protocol for what editors write on the wikipedia, and I also know that I am probably aware of less than 1% of that protocol, so I welcome constructive criticism and all feedback. I plan to limit my editing to this page and sub-pages in accordance with official guidance until I learn more about wikipedia behavior protocol. I welcome suggestions on what to read first as the sheer volume of instructions to new editors is rather overwhelming.
So I'm Kevin and I'm a student in several courses at the edX MOOC platform. I'm also a scientist, health care worker, author, physicist, nuclear engineer, submariner, estudiante de español (sólo un poco), mathematician, C++ programmer, computer scientist, Python student, genomics researcher, cancer survivor, medical school candidate, free software enthusiast, and general all-around enthusiastic guy. I'm really excited about edX, so it's hard for me to be neutral when writing about it, but I promise I'll do my very best. I think it's ok to be partial about some subjects in my user page, though, right?
That said, of course, I do understand that even on user pages, advocacy of certain subjects is forbidden here. Therefore I want to explain right away that although I do not advocate for or against any of those forbidden subjects, I do advocate for one closely related subject: experimentation with alternative philosophies about and implementations of intellectual property law, in particular copyright law. I most definitely do not advocate for anyone to do anything in violation of existing copyright law.
This advocacy stems from my experience in one edX course called HLS1x Copyright taught by Professor William (Terry) Fisher and nicknamed (naturally enough given the edX platform) CopyrightX. The nickname for the course seems to be Professor Fisher's idea (it's the name he uses in the non-edX version of his course) although I think that the 'word' was in use before edX was founded so I believe I'm not infringing on any trademarks in my use of it. And of course I do want to credit him and his course for having been the inspiration for my use of the word in several related contexts that are my own ideas and projects, not his. Professor Fisher published a book in 2004 where he described a number of experiments with and proposed several new implementations of copyright law, and this book also inspired my advocacy for experimenting with alternative philosophies regarding copyright law. And of course the Register of Copyrights of the United States has only just recently finished testifying before Congress on the state of current copyright law. She writes:
My message is simple. The law is showing the strain of its age and requires your attention. As many have noted, authors do not have effective protections, good faith businesses do not have clear roadmaps, courts do not have sufficient direction, and consumers and other private citizens are increasingly frustrated. The issues are numerous, complex, and interrelated, and they affect every part of the copyright ecosystem, including the public at large.— Maria A. Pallante, Register of Copyrights of the United States, March 20, 2013, http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/03202013/Pallante%20032013.pdf
No doubt Professor Fisher was well aware of this planned testimony when he published CopyrightX to both edX and the public at large via the web in January 2013.
So inspired by Professor Fisher, I've proposed a StackExchange (SE) community called CopyrightX to foster the asking and answering of good questions about copyright law through that software platform (which I think is by far the most well-suited for a subject of this scope and magnitude; even edX has adopted SE software for use within several MOOCs).
And I've put up a blog to help people that are new to the SE platform understand the very strict behavior protocol there, for although it is similar to wikipedia in its strictness, it also differs very dramatically in its details from everything else I've encountered on the web, and I don't think that SE has yet made available a comprehensive set of documentation describing that behavior protocol like wikipedia has done. I think most people at StackOverflow or one of the many other SE communities have learned that protocol the hard way.
Because the wikipedia is so strongly affected by copyright law, I hope that I might be able to encourage some of my fellow wikipedians to follow CopyrightX and to post 5 Example Questions there and to vote on some Example Questions too. If the proposed community does not receive enough interest, then it is preprogrammed to close as lacking adequate followers to justify the resources that Stack Exchange, Inc. would devote by allowing it to transition to a beta community.
And I've tried to tie together—in a way that demonstrates the very high stakes—the blog and the SE community proposal with a single static page here. I feel like Aaron Swartz would have had a very great deal to offer CopyrightX, and as so many other people do, I also feel a special kinship with him after fighting my own very similar David vs. Goliath battle (although I would much rather have him be the one proposing all these experiments as I'm certain he'd have been able to do a much better job than I'm doing).
There are several physical and virtual communities comprised of people all over the world (both edX students and non-edX students) who are participating in what Professor Fisher calls satellite courses. For example, there are at least two Google+ communities devoted to this course material, one NB community (email firstname.lastname@example.org for invitations to any of these) and at least one physical satellite course in Jamaica that I'm not involved in.
Most recently, I've also proposed an experiment for the Knight Foundation News Challenge where I hope my proposal wins a share of the $5 million dollar award to be announced in June 2013. I welcome everyone's comments on that proposal too.
So that's enough about me. Let me see how I can improve wikipedia now! Thanks for reading. :)