MANIFESTO: Technorhetoricians and/as Copyright Activists


With the debates described, the issues looming, and the promises of digital composing practices that rely on pastiche, remix, and appropriation, we offer the following recommendations for technorhetoricians, new media writers and designers, teachers, and students who want to participate in copyright activism and the protection of Fair Use:

Implications of Digital Copyright Issues for Writing Classrooms

As writers and as writing teachers in this historical moment, we find ourselves negotiating the labyrinth of copyright law alongside students. The tenets, values, and beliefs we have discussed here outline areas for writing instructors to pay attention to as we address authoring; authorship; authorial rights; existing digital copyright law; and the rights, roles and responsibilities of authors and creators in digital spaces.


Folding digital constructs of authorship, copyright, and ethics into our writing curricula will require additional research and writing about these issues to teach—and do—digital composition in all of its complexity. We will need to consider and/or reconsider, for example, the types of tools we teach as we both teach and model responsible use of digital media. We will have to coordinate class time to teach students various software, hardware, and integration of digital media that will best situate them for responsible use of others’ creative work. Students’ digital compositions will be geared increasingly toward a much larger and more authentic audience as their work is stored or posted online as a Web site or to a filesharing space, and this in turn will require more than an awareness of digital copyright issues. Rather, digital media pieces published via public forums such as the Web will necessitate both a familiarity with copyright and attribution, but also deeper understandings of audience, context, purpose, delivery, and other variables that have certainly played a role in our writing classrooms, but which migrate and evolve in interesting ways in digital spaces.


We will and must continue to re-define what we think of and count as “original composition” and concentrate our attention more on the acts of connecting taking place between digital media pieces that have been strung together to best communicate a new argument. Although the debate surrounding digital copyright is tricky and indeed creates an ever-changing, convoluted labyrinth for teachers and students, the affordances digital media offer for innovation and creativity to any rhetorical situation seems worth the time educating ourselves and our students as to the changing ideas and practices surrounding authorship and attribution.



>> next: references and links >>

casey's piece

Casey's Work

adam's piece

Adam's Work

grace's piece

Grace's Work

amy's piece

Amy's Work

jason's piece

Jason's Work

matt's piece

Matt's Work