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Sites of Resistance: Weblogs with Creative Commons Licenses

Here's the abstract of my presentation for this fall's AoIR conference...Saturday 4:00-5:15 if anyone wants to see it! :-)

Recent scholarship about intellectual property has taken issue with recent legislation that extends the terms of copyright and has argued that, in order for creativity and innovation to be possible, the public needs a realm of ideas and content to use freely. Long-term copyright delays the entrance of ideas, images, and songs into the public domain. To demonstrate resistance to current legislation, Creative Commons (CC) was established. CC licenses allow creators to give up varying degrees of copyright protection to create a "Some Rights Reserved" model. In this essay, I will explore the growing trend of weblogs that have CC licenses and why bloggers are choosing alternatives to "All Rights Reserved." I will state ways that bloggers and weblogs are making a particularly important contribution to the realization of the Web as an intellectual commons: first, influential bloggers whose weblogs are widely read and linked to have gotten CC licenses, which has produced a mimetic effect; second, the weblog is a genre that lends itself to building upon others' content and does not operate on the assumption that one needs a financial incentive to create; and third, it is significant to note that with popular blogging tools Movable Type and Userland, CC licensing options are built in at the software level. I argue that part of what makes blogging a public-domain-oriented genre is its cultural context: the fact that blogging evolved pari passu with the rise of open source and publicly licensed software, the tightening of copyright restrictions, and the popularity of peer-to-peer networks.

I know that's Very Broad. My presentation will be mostly about bloggers with CC licenses in particular, with just a few remarks at the end about the intellectual property implications in general.

Deadline for blog collection: TODAY

I haven't posted this CFP here yet, so thought today would be a good time to do it! :-)

Call for Papers
Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs

Ed. by the University of Minnesota Blog Collective
Smiljana Antonijevic, Laura Gurak, Laurie Johnson, Jim Oliver, Clancy Ratliff, Jessica Reyman, Sathya Yesuraja

The editors invite submissions for a new online edited collection exploring discursive, visual, and other communicative features of weblogs. We are interested in submissions that analyze and critique situated cases and examples drawn from weblogs and the weblog community. Although we are open to a wide range of scholarly approaches, our primary interest is in essays that comment upon specific features of the weblog and that treat the weblog as always a part of a larger community network.
Categories around which essays may cohere include:

  • Social and Psychological Perspectives
  • Visual Features, including Interface Design and Navigation
  • Rhetorical and Linguistic Features of Weblog Discourse
  • Pedagogical Implications
  • Intellectual Property
  • Race, Class, and Gender
  • Intercultural Communication

Because blogs, like the Internet, have a global reach, we encourage an international scope as well.

Along with this being the first scholarly collection of its type focused on weblog as rhetorical artifact, we are also taking an innovative approach to publishing and intellectual property. Weblogs represent the power of regular people to use the Internet for publishing. The ethos of blogging is collaborative and values the sharing of ideas; bloggers are not dependent on publishers to get their words out. In the same manner, the editors of this collection will publish the collection online. We will use a peer-review process to ensure scholarly quality. But like a weblog, the collection will be available to all, although authors will retain their own copyrights. We intend to obtain a version of a Creative Commons license.

The members of the collective welcome the opportunity to discuss the scope of the collection or directions for essays with prospective authors. We may be contacted at

Abstracts of approximately 250 words should clearly identify the disciplinary focus as well as the specific case or artifact to be studied. Send abstracts via email by midnight, June 30, 2003. Our editorial collective will review the abstracts and make an initial selection. We will respond by early August. Full submissions of approximately 3,000 words will be due in November; these essays will be peer-reviewed.

I'm not much of a war blogger, but...

I was watching the Today show the other day, and Matt Lauer was interviewing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). Lauer started off asking Frist about the new Medicare prescription bill with the "doughnut hole." Then, Lauer steered the interview toward the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that many are starting to doubt seriously that Iraq has or has ever had. Lauer asked Frist where the WMD were, and Frist was saying that they're minute amounts of chemicals, tiny, tiny little germs and viruses...that they're invisible. Talk about Orwellian!

More on "Where are the WMD?" and doubts about Iraq:

10 Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq

Where Are the WMD? by Robert Novak

Where Are the WMD? (Thread on Wicked Good)

Iraq's Free Fall from Yellow Times

Where's the WMD? from the Council for a Livable World

Blogs as Talk Shows

I've been thinking about this lately. Some time ago (in the mid-1990s, probably), I was listening to a panel of people talk about the phenomenon of talk shows. They were exploding back then; every celebrity (and has-been celebrity) was getting his or her own talk show. Someone said, "I think, in the future, everyone will have a talk show." I think blogs are kind of like talk shows, in a funny way. The blogger chooses a topic, puts it out there, and then has a comment function--an analogue of the microphone that the host passes around to the studio audience. :-) Eh, just a thought. Up next--shocking paternity test results! Makeovers to make butchy girls look more feminine so their parents will be happy! :-P

In other news: Ms. Lauren is hilarious.

CultureCat is back!

Hey, everyone! My site was down for a couple of days because of an issue with the server, but is back for good now. :-) Not being able to blog was a little frustrating for me; I didn't realize how much I rely on blogging as an outlet. At any rate, I'm back, and now must finish preparing for class!

New Blog: Rhetsci

I got the heads-up for this new blog from the AARST listserv. It's maintained by McClain Watson, a Ph.D. candidate in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He also has a site about his dissertation called Dis My Diss, heehee. Worth a look!

Edited to correct the name of McClain's university! :-o

Parody of A-List Bloggers

Ha ha ha! Actually, I don't like what they say about Lessig because those are issues I care about, but other than that it's funny.

Blogrolling, More Summer Course Preparation

I've been meaning to say this for a while...thanks a lot Cindy and Torill for putting me on your blogrolls (and to other folks who link to me). It means a lot, especially in light of this intellectual slump I've been in lately. I got some comments on my seminar papers last semester that were, while definitely intending to be constructive and helpful, a little alarming having to do with my authoritative voice or lack thereof. I've been wondering if I have any voice at all, anything meaningful to say at all. I wonder if I have any innovative opinions other than I agree with this or I don't agree with that. I know it's a common sentiment in grad school, and Cindy's June 11 post (permalinks in Blogger don't seem to be working so well) makes me feel less alone. Here's an excerpt:

There is a lot of discussion going on at baraita, Frogs and Ravens, and elsewhere about the ability of grad school to destroy the intellectual self-confidence of students. As someone who experienced this, I'm always happy to jump on the grad school bashing bandwagon, but I'm also self-aware enough to recognize that some of the personal demons I was harboring helped the process along. Nonetheless, the number of blogs I'm discovering which either focus primarily on what I'll call "the grad school blues" or which return to the subject again and again tell me that my experience of grad school as a largely gloomy part of my history isn't entirely a self-created reality.

Nor can I say good things did not happen in grad school. It is, of course, where I discovered my love of teaching. It is where I met my best friend. It is where I discovered I am--or perhaps where I named myself--a feminist. But it is also where I often felt isolated, intimidated, and small. It is where I learned what intellectual masturbation is. It is where I cried myself to sleep many nights because I didn't believe I was good enough to be there. And while a few wonderful professors did everything they could to instill in me a sense of worth, neither I nor any of my friends ever felt the department nor the profession as a whole gave a damn; hence, the systemic problem, no, illness, noted at Naomi Chana's blog.

To change the subject to something more imminent than the future of my voice, I'm in the process of moving to an apartment down the hall with my friend Jessica, and I'm still working frenetically on my syllabus. I met with Sandra Becker, the Course Coordinator for Rhetoric 3562, and now my head is swimming. She was great about answering all my MANY questions. I'm seriously considering using Bernadette Longo's idea of having each student be the manager of another student. It sounds like a good way to ensure accountability. Bernadette's course materials are excellent; I recommend looking at them if you're teaching technical communication or want to someday. She told me I can use anything I want from her materials too, which was wonderful of her.

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