I have always had a great fondness for things that looked like books but weren’t books. In fact, I have a fondness for things that look like things they are not overall. I am remembering beautiful porcelain bowls that looked like lettuce leaves and porcelain cups that looked like solo cups…that’s another post. This one is all about the books. Amazingly, I only have one of these.
Hey, so I’ve noticed that comic postings can sometimes get buried and not be obvious. I’m working on a new way to run my comics on my site, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy these slices of library life:
Before copyright law there were poets and playwrights who bemoaned the theft of their work and words by others while at the same time they stole words to build their poems and plays. Plagiarism was rampant, though, the act of literary theft was only just termed plagiarism, by one poet’s re-purposing of a Latin term for man-stealing or kidnapping. After copyright law was established, there were authors postulating its merits and its deficiencies, in writing, to the public and their peers. Authors were thinking about copyright.
When I discovered that one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, had stood before congress to give his professional opinion on a copyright term extension I was more than excited. But, I found myself arguing with Twain. I could see some of his point, but I did not agree with all of it. I wondered, where were the author voices on copyright today. I’m still searching, but what I’m finding is that most of the well known, professionally published and successful authors are letting publishers and author’s guilds speak for them. Do they really agree with everything that’s being said?
Now that copyright is immediate without registration, the world is teaming with authors. Some write for fun, and to entertain their friends. Some make a living off of it, or perhaps off of other creative endeavors offered up to the public via the web. And just like those poet thieves from before copyright law, all authors are users of copyrighted content as well. With this huge population of authors, there is still little thinking and postulating and writing about copyright. I’m not saying copyright theory is crazy sexy or anything…well, no, you know what? It is. It is obsession worthy. It is discussion worthy. I mean, think about it, copyright law is government regulation over what we birth and grow in our minds and give to the world. If Athena emerged from Zeus’ head today she would be protected by copyright law! If art is a conversation, copyright law is keeping checks on what we say!
Anyway, my obsession with finding author voices has resulted in these things, so far. Twain and Tolstoy were contemporaries; and if you think all authors would argue for longer and stronger copyright law, Tolstoy would prove you wrong. He was against copyright. He looked on his writing as a service to the public that both provided him the experiences he used to write and the living that let him write. The burden of his education and leisure was to reach out to people, teach them, and attempt to enrich their lives with the fruit of his literary genius.
As a special close to the week’s activities, Kyle Courtney released “The origin of U.S. fair use,” an artistic rendering of the codification of fair use into the Copyright Act of 1976… , which readers may explore here.
What is Fair Use Week?Each day teachers teach, students learn, researchers advance knowledge, and consumers access copyrighted information due to copyright limitations and exceptions such as fair use or fair dealing. Fair use and fair dealing are essential limitations and exceptions to copyright, allowing the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances. Fair use and fair dealing are flexible doctrines, allowing copyright to adapt to new technologies. These doctrines facilitate balance in copyright law, promoting further progress and accommodating freedom of speech and expression.While fair use and fair dealing are employed on a daily basis by all users of copyrighted material, Fair Use Week is a time to promote and discuss the opportunities presented, celebrate successful stories and explain the doctrine.While Fair Use Week 2016 will be celebrated February 22–26, we believe that every week is fair use week. Fair Use Week is simply a time to promote and discuss the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain the doctrine.
Free access to my recent article:”Copyright Instruction in LIS Programs: report of a survey of standards in the U.S.A,” written with Michael English, until January 14, 2016: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1S5sBMYb61gqR.
And all I could think of was the language from the ‘Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries in archives’ in US Code Title 17 (yeah, I’m quoting copyright law) that says the specific reproduction allowed to libraries for preservation and such if the “existing format in which the work is stored has become obsolete.” ‘Obsolete’ is later defined as the circumstance where “the machine or device necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.”
I realize the announcement was in regard to Betamax cassettes and not the players, but it makes me wonder how long a format clings to life when the regular consuming public leaves it behind, believes it to be dead. If obsolete really boils down to commercially available, then Sony’s announcement is only a depressing assertion that the aging VHS collections of the library world, those that no one is willing or able to up-format commercially, are going to wither away. Can’t we just move on already? I say this, but then I have recently acquired a turntable, cassette, CD player combo, and I know there is a growing nostalgic format movement (at least among my friends).
LeEtta Schmidt, Copyright Librarian, University of South Florida; Kyle Courtney, Copyright Advisor, Harvard University; and Calvin Manning, Managing Editor, Taylor & Francis discussed whether it is possible to be too open in an OA environment.
Today is the feast day of St. Jerome, patron saint of librarians, translators and encyclopedists. The Preus Library article by Jane Kemp skillfully describes his life and library:
St. Jerome’s personal library was considered to be the most important private collection of the period. He was a great bibliophile, interested in collecting both pagan and Christian books. His learning was considered unequaled during the time he lived since he was an insatiable reader and had a phenomenal memory for what he learned. Finally, his scholarship broke new ground with his translations of the Bible and Biblical commentaries.