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An Invitation to the Intellectual Property Caucus at CCCC in Las Vegas

If you are planning to visit the annual Convention of the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Las Vegas this March, please consider attending the Wednesday afternoon meeting on Intellectual Property in Composition Studies. This session, sponsored by the Caucus on Intellectual Property and Composition/Communication Studies (CCCC-IP), explores issues of copyright, fair use, openness, remix, access, and the ownership and use of intellectual property (IP). The Caucus is the public and open counterpart to the work of the CCCC Committee on Intellectual Property, and since 1994 has sponsored explorations of IP issues pertinent to teachers, scholars, and students. All are welcome to the practical and action-focused meetings, where participants work in roundtables to discuss topics such as plagiarism and authorship, student and teacher IP rights, open access and open source policies, and best practices in teaching students and instructors about IP. Roundtable leaders provide overviews of their topics, and participants then create action plans, develop lobbying strategies, and produce documents for political, professional, and pedagogical use. At the end of the workshop, participants reconvene to share their plans and recommendations for future action.

This year’s Caucus will feature four roundtables. The first, on Legal and Legislative Developments, will host a discussion of the year’s legal and legislative IP developments as they affect students and educators. In previous years our colleagues at this table have discussed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which under some circumstances can have an adverse impact on what students and faculty are able to accomplish in the classroom. Other subjects of discussion have included the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), each proposed in 2011 and withdrawn in 2012 in the face of intense criticism. Discussions have also touched on court cases being closely watched by the educational community, such as one involving Georgia State University’s system of electronic reserves. No matter what the specific topics, discussion will revolve around finding ways to safeguard the ability of students and teachers to make appropriate use of copyrighted material in
furtherance of legitimate educational goals.

Participants at the second roundtable, Sharing IP Stories: Teaching IP, Copyright/left, and Openness, will be invited to share their stories, resources, and successful pedagogies for teaching the complex and overlapping issues of intellectual property, plagiarism, and copyright in composition classes. Participants will also be invited to join in planning ways to distribute these pedagogies, as voices that can counteract the rhetoric of fear and criminality pervading discourse on IP. Examples of sharing include IP stories uploaded to the DALN (Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives) to reach a large community, perhaps even beyond composition studies.

At the third roundtable, Advocating for Open Access in Composition Studies, participants will seek to identify strategies composition and rhetoric teachers and scholars might use to foster greater acceptance and use of Open Access practices within and beyond our discipline. Open Access (OA) practices are increasingly important in an economic climate of rising subscription fees for scholarly journals and initiatives for the privatization of public knowledge, as evidenced by Reed Elsevier’s sponsoring of the Research Works Act that sought to close off public access to taxpayer-funded scholarship. Discussion focuses on issues of Green and Gold OA, funding concerns associated with scholarly publication (including attention to OA-aligned imprints such as CCDP and Parlor Press that publish composition scholarship), citation impact, and aligning possible lobbying strategies with NCTE’s DC office.

Participants at the last roundtable will examine the Evolving IP Policies for Journals that are shaping scholarly journals and publication practices. Discussion will focuses on two cases. First, publishers of scientific journals have begun to establish new IP policies as they respond to greater numbers of authors; distributed, open-access venues for displaying data; a perceived rise in scientific fraud cases; and new templates for article formats. These developments are noteworthy as the policies of scientific journals tend to influence academic publishing as a whole. Second, some journal publishers are now requiring copyright permissions be secured for article epigraphs, treating them as different from quotations analyzed within the body of a text. This roundtable updates participants on the latest policies and their potential impact on Writing Studies.

The roundtables will take place on Wednesday, March 13, from 2-5:30 p.m., on the first floor of the Riviera Hotel, in Grande Ballroom C. This year’s meeting organizer and senior chair of the Caucus is Dr. Mike Edwards, assistant professor of English at Washington State University, who can be reached at He has been assisted by the junior chair, Dr. Kyle Stedman, assistant professor of English at Rockford College, who can be reached at


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