Notes on CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus

The Intellectual Property Caucus at CCCC was quite productive this year, as always. Thirty-one people attended, and we started the meeting off by plugging our projects and celebrating the year's accomplishments when it came to intellectual property issues:

First, there's the publication of Stephen Westbrook's collection Composition and Copyright: Perspectives on Teaching, Text-making, and Fair Use . Also, Charlie Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky have created Writing Spaces, an open access, Creative Commons licensed space that can be used in lieu of a textbook (or in addition to one). Then, following our usual format for the meeting, we heard from the Intellectual Property Committee. The big news there was that we've been invited to write a regular feature for the NCTE Inbox, and Martine Courant Rife volunteered to spearhead that effort. (By the way, if you click the link, you'll see that you CAN subscribe to the Inbox on RSS. That was at issue during the meeting.)

Then we introduced our action tables, met for our breakout sessions, and reconvened to plan actions for the next year. For the purposes of the notes here, I am going to paste the abstract submitted by the action table leader, then right below it put my notes from that action table's report. The notes are notes I took during their reports in the caucus meeting, and since I didn't sit in on these discussions, they're kind of choppy and note-y. And as always, some of the action tables ended up merging, so what I have here isn't exactly what was in the original proposal re action tables.

Exposing Misunderstanding of Fair Use in the Case of the Harry Potter Lexicon

It's disappointing that Steve Vander Ark's proposed HARRY POTTER LEXICON
is coming under fire from Potter creator J. K. Rowling. However, the
attacks on the lexicon from the general public---visible in comments on
news stories and weblogs---are far more disturbing. Vander Ark has been
called a plagiarist, a thief, a crook, and a liar. The lack of support
for his work shows a profound misunderstanding of fair use Speaker #1
wishes to engage in two ways: (a) by sharing strategies for discussion
of fair use; (b) through encouragement of use of the rights all of us
have to create similar works which fairly use copyrighted content.

Notes and Next Actions:

different kinds of misunderstandings of fair use:
1. partial knowledge: some knowledge but misapply it
2. conflating legal and ethical issues: plagiarism of something in the public domain: ethically problematic but legally OK
3. ppl not knowing who to appeal to, governing bodies relevant. vague notions of punishment but not knowing where auth lies
4. misunderstanding of terminology
5. not understanding purpose of fair use

action items: fair use for dummies document
list of common misconceptions for teachers
more formal study: look @ court cases

Copyright, Fair Use, and Digital Delivery of Class Reading Materials

A recent lawsuit brought by a group of academic publishers against
Georgia State University has brought to our attention the dangers of
limiting educators’ Fair Use rights to distribute class reading
materials in digital form (Cambridge University Press et al. v.
Georgia State University). Speakers #2, 3, and 4 will discuss what’s
at stake in the recent debate over application of the Fair Use
exemption to the use of copyrighted works in coursepacks, library
e-reserves, and other forms of online delivery of reading material to
students. They will then take comments that may contribute to the
development of a position statement, directed to academic publishers,
that would encourage a rethinking of the current business model for
copyright permissions for educational use.

Notes and Next Actions:

concerns: for education: what can we do, what can't we do when it comes to digital delivery of online materials
article in CCC in 1998 on fair use. "Use Your Fair Use: Strategies toward Action." 2009
reissuing of article like that in light of course packs, ereserves, etc.
advocacy issues: 4Cs position statement would make a stronger claim re fair use guidelines and digital materials
georgia state case: intervention? 4Cs could begin exploring/supporting defendants in that case?
4Cs educate organization. american library assn. web site. write to house judiciary cmte regarding that decision. action letter. NIH, but implications for government sponsorship of research.
listservs: request to write

Open Access Publishing and Institutional Repositories

Speaker #5 will report on the progress of an OA Task Force that has
been brought together to educate CCCC/NCTE constituencies about OA
options and about mandates to provide open access to federally funded
research, as well as to develop guidelines for meeting those mandates.

Okay, this is the action table I participated in, so I can give a more thorough treatment of it. Most of our discussion was about the following:

Open Access and "The Extended CCC"

As has been discussed on the blogs, notably here and here, a lot of people aren't happy with the recent decision to move some of College Composition and Communication's features, such as review essays, interchanges, re/visions, book reviews, etc. online. My main concern is the open-access implications of that, which Karen Lunsford and I discussed in our action table meeting. For example, if I want to read "Rhetorics of Critical Writing: Implications for Graduate Writing Instruction" by Laura R. Micciche, a review essay in the most recent issue, I have to go here and click the title, then if I'm not logged in with my NCTE member number (which I pay an annual fee for), I get the following:

Please log in to view this journal PDF file: /library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CCC/0603-feb09/CCC0603ReviewRhetorics.pdf.

What are the implications for future access to this article, only the first paragraph of which will be in the print journal? Libraries, and by extension teachers and students, who already pay a subscription fee for the print and electronic versions of the journal, will not have access to these features unless they pay to join NCTE. Our action item regarding this issue is to query the Executive Committee: what provision has been made for permanent access to TECCC for libraries? The caucus members generally felt that this was the most alarming and pressing issue related to our field and open access.

We also talked about other issues, though, such as:

1. a letter to the executive committee recommending changes to NCTE's journals' copyright policy:
* change the contract to allow authors self-archiving of copies of their articles on their personal web sites
* allow open access to archives the way that JAC does

2. writing a resolution draft about open access -- open scholarship, open teaching materials, maybe even open access textbooks, but we thought that since many in our field write textbooks and textbook publishing houses give us a lot of support, we might have more buy-in with 4cs membership if we leave textbooks out of it and just focus on research

3. joining the Alliance for Taxpayer Access

Students' Rights and Responsibilities in IP

Students are facing more choices for how to treat their own
intellectual products and those of others. It would be helpful for
both instructors and their students to be aware of the legal, ethical,
and cultural ramifications of those choices. Speaker #6 will examine
students' rights in and responsibilities for treating their work
within the realm of intellectual property law issues.

students thinking of themselves as AUTHORS. plagiarism
if teachers aren't allowed to use it, they'd be forced to teach plagiarism in more complexity
let students opt in or opt out?
teachers don't have the right to use student writing in college english -- would have to get permission.
in what ways does turnitin repurpose student writing?
NCTE Inbox: we wish there was a simple way to teach teachers to talk about turnitin
ways other professors use the service?
something more user-friendly for NCTE K-12 and college
conversations with students about the business model
for paraphrasing exercises in class, ok use of turnitin

There was also an impromptu action table about research projects in IP. Here are my notes on that:

1998 Computers & Composition special issue on IP: plan to revisit that in a new special issue.
cultural cannibalism: CFP out before C&W
visual/digital rhetorics for kairos
CCCC panel together next year
sharing scholarship, continuing projexts: regular discussion table each year on research, momentum.
1/2 hour for everyone about research?
call out on lists: course materials about authorship, plagiarism, copyright, collaboration, contract negotiation, OA, OS, free speech/privacy/censorship

Radio Flyer


Bulge Battle

It would seem that in spite of my Reese's indiscretions of yesterday and the day before, I have lost a pound. I am now only four pounds above pre-pregnancy weight. Pretty much ever since Henry was a couple or few weeks old, I've hovered 4-5 pounds above PPW, which I guess is due to nursing (yeah, that's the ticket!).

My goal weight is actually three pounds below PPW, but still, this is progress. I do think of the whole thing as a battle. Whenever I weigh myself and I'm down a pound or so, I have a Whedon moment, like the finale of Buffy or the flashback scene in Firefly and think, "Hold your position!" like some nerd.

Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing

I'd like to encourage all of you to keep your eye on Writing Spaces. It is the start of an open access textbook for writing courses. They're calling for submissions; here's part of the call for proposals:

Volumes in Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing will offer multiple perspectives on a wide-range of topics about writing, much like the model made famous by Wendy Bishop’s The Subject Is . . . series. In each chapter, a rich variety of authors will present their unique views, insights, and strategies for writing by addressing the undergraduate reader directly. Drawing on their own experiences, these teachers-as-writers will invite students to join in the larger conversation about developing nearly every aspect of their craft. Consequently, each essay will function as a standalone text which will easily compliment other selected readings in writing or writing-intensive courses across the disciplines at any level. Thus with your submissions and the publication of subsequent volumes of essays, the Writing Spaces website will become a large library of student-centered instructional essays on writing for all across our field to use in the composition classroom.

The theme for Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, Vol. 1 will be first-year composition, and we invite authors to submit a proposal for a chapter on any topic about writing suitable for a first-year class. For example,

* College writing vs. what you did in high school
* Freewriting
* Why invention is important
* Finding a topic for your personal narrative
* Drawing on personal experience in your writing
* Understanding the rhetorical situation
* What is creativity?
* What do we mean by that term "style?"
* Developing the appropriate voice for your audience
* Getting to the draft
* What makes a good thesis and how to focus your paper
* Best practices for conducting research
* The Internet as a space for communication and research
* Effective quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
* Re-vision as re-seeing your text
* Why proofreading is important
* Primary research: the I-search paper, ethnography, or interviewing
* Logic in argumentative writing
* Collaborative writing
* New media writing

Because each chapter in Writing Spaces is an essay, authors will want to strike a balance between instruction and creating a text that demonstrates excellent essay writing, with an appropriate and strong, engaging voice for a student audience. An essay could provide students with good writing advice and strategies. Or it might exemplify the type of essay writing that presents perspectives that stimulate critical thinking and invigorating class conversations. Any essay that incorporates outside material should also serve as a student-friendly model for demonstrating effective attribution and integration of sources.

That reminds me: I am continually annoyed by the main problem I see with the reading selections in composition textbooks, which is the dissonance between the readings in the book and the kind of writing we teach (or the writing our universities, I'd argue rightfully, expect us to teach). Usually we're assigning students research papers or some other kind of source-driven paper. For these kinds of papers, we expect information to be cited in the following style, with attributive tags and parenthetical in-text citations:

According to one published study, unemployment rates have "ebbed and flowed in an unpredictable pattern since 1977" (Wilson 5).

We want students to be able to integrate source materials in the above manner. So what kinds of texts do textbook authors put in books? Why, Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" and George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant," of course! Or op-ed pieces from newspapers and magazines, which don't cite sources that way either. Instead, it's simply assumed, based on the reputation of the magazine, that the writing is "researched" and fact-checked prior to publication. The burden of proof is then shared and is not on the author of the essay in the same way it is in academic writing.

Anyway, just grinds my gears. I know that Writing Spaces seems to be interested in literacy narrative types of pieces, but they also appear to be interested in pieces with a "teach first-year writing as an introduction to writing studies" approach, which would lend itself to citations of research in rhetoric and composition. Please, if you submit something to this collection, remember your MLA format.

My Grandfather's Primer

The following material is somewhat disturbing but will be of interest to anyone doing critical race theory and history of rhetoric. These are pages from my grandfather's grade school primer, Geographical Nature Studies: For Primary Work in Home Geography, by Frank Owen Payne, copyright 1898.







Observations about Idiocracy

First, it is the best piece of speculative fiction that has ever been written, if we take best to mean the most accurate predictor of current-future events. But lots of people have said that.

Also, have you been to a Smoothie King lately? Their menu looks exactly like the Idiocracy TV interface.

By the way, this was another too-long-to-Tweet post. Enjoy!

Extended Tweet Re Cardiovascular Exercise

Sometimes there's something I want to write that would be too long for a tweet but too insubstantial for a Blog Post. But why not just deposit those thoughts here anyway?

Here goes: I have a renewed motivation to go power-walking around my neighborhood or at the park or wherever because I have finally figured out two things:

1. how to fold up my stroller (Graco City Sport) for trunk transport
2. how to get my Garmin Nüvi to display the screen that tells me how many miles I've walked, rate of speed, time walked.

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