Monday, September 15, 2008

Alice through the Copyright Office

Do you ever leave somewhere feeling like you spent the last hour banging your head against a wall?

My wall went something like this:

Copyright Officer #1:  So, since you're with the Institute (the department I've been working with for two weeks) maybe you can tell us some other ideas for how we can get information to the students about copyright law

(Me thinking: hmmmm, maybe if they learned about in art or music class, when they're creating.  Wait?  Do they have art or music class?)

Me speaking: Do the students have art class in school?

CO #1: Art class?  In school?

CO #2: In Nigeria?  No, I don't think they have.

CO #1: No, there's nothing like that.

Me: Ok. Do they do art projects in their other classes at all?

CO #1: Art projects?

Me: Yeah, like, let me think of an example.  Ok, like if they're learning about cities, maybe they'll draw a picture of a city.

CO #1: No.  They won't draw a picture.

CO #2: No, nothing like that.

CO #1: They won't draw pictures of them.  But they know them because they have cds at home where they play them, but they don't really understand what it is.

Me:  (Trying not to laugh)  Oh, ok.  (Thinking again)

CO #1 and CO #2 start discussing the creation of a list of topics for teaching high school students about copyright.  They ask me to give them an order for the list of topics.  I suggest starting with an explanation of what copyright is.  CO #1 agrees.  Then CO #2 interjects.

CO #2:  We need to start with the harts ("arts").

CO #1: Oh yes.  We do.  That's ok.  They'll know about the arts because they have fine arts class in school.

Me: (in my mind rolling my eyes and shaking my head) They have fine arts class in school?

CO #2: Yes, they have harts.

Me:  What grades?  (Thinking maybe it's only college.)

CO #1: All grades.  Even from primary school.  They do paintings and drawings and dip newspaper in water and starch to make sculptures out of it.

Me: ah, paper mache.

CO #1: No. (continued explanation of paper mache.)

Then they hand me some text books.  The first page of the book I open describes a city and tells students to draw a city.  By this point, I'm ready to go home.  But no, we haven't finished.  We need to develop the program.  So the meeting continues for another half hour or so, in basically the same fashion.

CO #2 and CO #1 had been discussing why we needed to start with the arts, but had fallen silent.  I tried to stay positive and do whatever I was supposed to be doing.

Me:  Ok, so we want to start with the arts.  Do we just want to follow the order that's outlined here in the book and figure out how best to break up the sections?

CO #2:  No, we can't just start with the arts, we have to talk about copyright first.

CO #1: Yes, otherwise it will be all segmented.  They can't come one week and learn one topic and come the next week and learn another.

CO #2: They need to know about the economics so they'll be encouraged to create.

By this point, I wanted to scream, "MAKE UP YOUR *&^# MINDS!!!"  But, I didn't.   I let them decide that we didn't need to come up with a program until the project proposal is approved. 

Great, we can have this conversation again next week! :/

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I have had conversations where I wanted to hit my head on the wall, but those are not similar to yours where you say something and then they repeat it later. Mine consist of arguing with Creationists when they refuse to acknowlege any opinion other than theirs and after you tore down thier position, they still keep bringing up the same point.