Abstract by Azuka Nzegwu
Emerging technologies are introducing new ways of critical engagement that are posing challenges for the academic community. Essentially, works produced using new media technologies have produced its own set of copyright problems for students who utilize these new technologies in their academic work and for administrators who enforce rules. In particular, new media technologies are blurring the line between copyright violation and fair use. This line was recently blurred at Binghamton University, after an art exhibition spurred the creation of an online parody exhibition by a graduate student. The parody exhibition was created to address the problems of misrepresentation and imperial arrogance inherent in the original exhibition. The university summarily shut down the exhibition after a few hours even though it had deployed the argument of free speech to stem the controversy arising from its own official exhibition. Since the issue of fair use is critical for academic work and scholarship, this paper will examine the circumstances of the case to show how one university administrator applies the charges of copyright violation and misuse of the university network to muzzle criticism and to limit the creative use of possibility offered by the Internet. Two questions that frame this essay are: how are administrators drawing the distinction between network violation and fair use? And how do administrators tell the difference between official and non-official websites?