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Would you like to invoke the authority of Harvard the next time you debate authors’ rights or file-sharing? You might have your chance thanks to a new 12-week copyright course that seeks to mimic the experience of a Harvard Law School class.
The course, offered via open source learning platform edX, will be taught by Harvard law professor William Fisher III and a gaggle of teaching assistants from the school’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The 500 students who are accepted will discuss copyright issues in small groups and receive a Harvard certificate after sitting for a three-hour exam.
While online learning opportunities abound these days, this one is intriguing because it appears to combine the promise of universal access with an elite experience — online learning sites like Coursera and Udacity similarly offer classes from top-tier schools, but don’t require students to apply for acceptance or limit the number of students who can participate. The Harvard offering also represents a welcome way to expand the copyright debate beyond the legal community and entertainment industry.
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