OER Is Killing Education And It’s Illegal

When searching Photo Pin for ‘OER’, I came across this image:

Jörg Lohrer: OER is killing education and it's illegal
Jörg Lohrer via Photopin CC BY 2.0

Naturally, I was curious. The Flickr page offers little to go on at first blush. Is this just for some light trolling? What sort of reaction is it meant to provoke, and from whom?

To satisfy my curiosity, I dug a bit deeper, and to pay it forward (or spoil the surpise, depending on how you look at it), I share below the fruits of my research.

Lohrer credits the OER Logo and the Home Taping Is Killing Music campaign. The former is ubiquitous in OER circles, of course, and the latter has apparently been widely parodied (and is twice referenced via Roy in The IT Crowd, which I certainly approve of).

So…parody…which, of course, is clear from the picture to begin with. Threats to OER tend to be a bit more subtle.

What follows is a lot of clicking and reading, which y’all are welcome to do. Google reverse image search was largely useless, but a search for [“OER is killing education”] is fruitful. This shows up on the Web only on 15 January 2013 on both Flickr and Twitter; here’s the tweet that starts it all:

Overall, I expect this image is intended to critique (often hollow) arguments against the Open movement, both from (some) individual producers jealous of their IP rights and from (some) publishers who view themselves as necessarily the best arbiters of quality.

Anyway, that’s enough digital ink spilled over a fairly obvious and fairly obscure picture. It sure is a fun one, though, so I wanted to surface it. I will leave off with a few proposals for further iterations:

  • Fair Use Is Killing Copyright…And It’s Illegal!
  • Open Access Is Killing Publishing…And It’s Illegal!
  • Limited Copyright Is Killing Innovation…And It’s Illegal!

Any takers?

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