information debate: copyright is obsolete

Both of my classes this term have a lecture component, in a large auditorium, and a small-class "tutorial" for discussion. I find it very annoying, since for two classes I have to be in the classroom on four separate occasions.

One of my tutorials is structured as a series of debates. From a list of topics, we each chose a proposition, and signed up to argue for or against. We meet with our debate partner to prepare, then engage in a formal debate for the class. Our own debate, plus participation in the rest of the debates, constitutes 15% of our grade for the course.

Most people seriously dislike this format, and wish the profs had decided on a discussion format instead. But I find it very interesting why most people feel this way: because they dread speaking in front of the class.

I understand that the fear of public speaking is widespread, but it's difficult for me to see speaking to a class of 20 people as public speaking. I'm fortunate that I conquered my fear of public speaking by doing it, repeatedly - and often baring very personal feelings to a large audience. So chatting in front of a class is not a big deal for me. But I see I am in the minority there!

The debate topics are drawn loosely from the week's reading. Some examples: "The internet is inherently ungovernable," "Information wants to be free," "'One Laptop per Child' is a neo-colonial Trojan horse," "We live in a surveillance society, "You have zero privacy anyway, get over it".

I've signed up for "Copyright is obsolete".

Turns out I'm lucky. One person switched to a different tutorial, so there are only three of us, rather than two teams of two. The professor said that two- or three-people groups should decide for themselves how they want to structure their debate, and our three-person team decided we will all debate both for and against. I like this!

I don't know if this will fly, but I'd like to open up comments to this topic. "Copyright is obsolete". For or against, and why?

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