“Presentation for Code panel” presented by Swanson and Egenhoefer


Session Title:

  • Code: Intellectual Property, Fair Use and Plagiarism – Open Discussion

Presentation Title:

  • Presentation for Code panel




  • Chair Per­sons: Joel Swan­son & Rachel Beth Egen­hoe­fer
    Pre­sen­ters: Zach Blas & Maja Kalogera

    In her book “My Mother was a Com­puter,” the­o­rist N. Kather­ine Hayles has writ­ten about the crit­i­cal dif­fer­ences be­tween nat­ural lan­guages and com­puter lan­guages. She writes, “…?code dif­fers from speech and writ­ing in that it ex­ists in clearly dif­fer­en­ti­ated ver­sions that are ex­e­cutable in a process that in­cludes hard­ware and soft­ware…” (Hayles 52). The rise of dig­i­tal arts within aca­d­e­mic pro­grams has meant that many more peo­ple are now learn­ing how to pro­gram and write code. Within the dig­i­tal arts, pro­gram­ming is most often taught through code sam­ples, tu­to­ri­als, mod­i­fi­ca­tion and adap­ta­tion. But this prac­tice can be­come prob­lem­atic as we try to lo­cate in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty through reg­u­la­tory prac­tices de­signed for nat­ural lan­guage, like pla­gia­rism, onto com­puter lan­guages. Pla­gia­rism is taken ex­tremely se­ri­ously within higher ed­u­ca­tion, but rules gov­ern­ing these prac­tices ex­hibit cer­tain fail­ings when ap­plied to non-nat­ural lan­guages. Within the hu­man­i­ties, there are nu­mer­ous and highly de­tailed meth­ods for ci­ta­tion (MLA, Chicago, etc.). Yet within pro­gram­ming, there is a lack of stan­dard­ized ci­ta­tion prac­tices. Be­yond the prac­ti­cal level of ci­ta­tion, how should orig­i­nal­ity and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty be lo­cated within com­puter code? Ad­di­tion­ally, there has been ample di­a­logue sur­round­ing ap­pro­pri­a­tion and Fair Use of im­agery, but again, code stands in con­trast to the logic of the image. For code, what is orig­i­nal, how should au­thor­ship be lo­cated and de­marked, and what con­cepts fall under the aus­pices of Fair Use?

    Through an open dis­cus­sion, this panel seeks to ad­dress these the­o­ret­i­cal com­plex­i­ties, and ex­plore ped­a­gog­i­cal per­spec­tives and prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions. The scope of this panel will in­clude the­o­ret­i­cal per­spec­tives on the dif­fer­ences be­tween nat­ural lan­guage and code, legal per­spec­tives on Fair Use and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty, and ped­a­gog­i­cal per­spec­tives on teach­ing com­puter pro­gram­ming.