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  Overview Chapter Summaries Context Invention Teaching Ideas Extending this Work & Conclusion

Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion: Rhetoric in the Peer-to-Peer Debates


Logie’s research can be extended in a number of ways. His book is novel in its approach to examining the peer-to-peer debates with a rhetorical frame. In addition, other existing research trajectories into copyright issues should be encouraged due to the immediacy of the topic to teachers of digital writing. Historical research at the intersection of intellectual property, rhetoric, and composition should be continued as well in order to provide a coherent baseline of scholarship for the field. Such work might include examining cross-cultural, global, or international intellectual property issues (Logie does discuss Canadian copyright law and the legality of private downloading as well as the Ukraine example). This kind of work could generate both general field knowledge, and also pedagogical arguments important for teaching in cyberspace. I am aware of some work facilitated by Kirk St. Amant (Texas Tech University) and Filipp Sapienza (University of Colorado at Denver) emerging in the area of international intellectual property issues and rhetoric. This work is an edited collection Culture, Communication, & Cyberspace: Rethinking Technical Communication for International Online Environments which will feature some discussion of international issues, including copyright issues, relevant to teachers of digital writing and rhetoric. Also, Steve Westbrook, PhD and Timothy Hodge, Esq. have a collection in process, Composition & Copyright, that will provide an overview of how some of the issues Logie raises in his book continue to impact our work.

While basic trajectories should be built upon and continued, we also need to create a research trajectory in composition and rhetoric that includes empirical research in the context of intellectual property issues. Empirical research would compliment the goals Logie sets forth because it is the type of research that is often understood and valued by policy makers. (The choice of research methodology is always rhetorical). It means one thing to posit that composition students cannot properly learn due to restrictions of the TEACH Act based on a few cases or personal experiences (not that this does not count: it does--especially under the lenses of "tacit knowledge" and "intuition"); it’s quite another thing if we could say that 85% of all writing students have their learning impaired because of the TEACH Act. Such empirical findings might result from use of qualitative methods (as is typical in composition and rhetoric) or mixed methods (employ quantitative methods as well in order to learn if anything is typical across a large population). Mixed methods has a number of benefits in that it tries to address biases in any one method, and it also meets the needs of knowledge claims coming from pragmatists more concerned with the problem rather than the method (See Huling Ding’s [2007] recent piece for a discussion and use of mixed methods; Confucius’s virtue-centered rhetoric. Rhetoric Review, 26[2]: 142-59). Logie's book sets the stage for further exploration on issues such as: how is copyright law shaping the production of knowledge? Once we know this, we will know what, if anything, to do about it. Logie’s book provides important scaffolding for future work at the intersection of composition, rhetoric, and intellectual property, and it is certainly a “must-read” for anyone in rhetoric working in the area of intellectual property or authorship.