Intellectual Property

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Today's Minutiae

The new issue of thirdspace on Representation and Transgressive Sexualities just went live, and now they're featuring PDFs of each issue; Laura Gurak has noted that we're seeing this trend of both PDF versions and html versions in electronic publishing because if it looks like print, it's better for a tenure portfolio. She chalks it up to the fact that we're in a state of transition right now in terms of academic publishing.

Another cool little thing...I received an email from the program coordinator of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society's Internet Law Program May 13-15. Apparently I am one of a group of bloggers they're inviting to the program with a tuition waiver (the tuition is $1995, but for me it technically would have been $895 since I'm a student--hey, either way it's free). I'm excited about the opportunity to learn more about internet law than I ever could have imagined. Plus, I've never been to the Boston area before, so that will be nice. I'm still pinching myself with disbelief that they would invite me to this thing. I can't imagine who would have recommended me, but I'm grateful! Part of me still thinks this is a scam, a Who's Who Among American High School Students type of scheme. At any rate, I'll definitely blog my notes from the program and make sure Drupal and the progressive IP/publishing model we're adhering to for Into the Blogosphere get some attention.

Charlie Lowe's Prospectus

Charlie has posted his prospectus, for anyone who's interested. The title is "'The Future Is Open' for Composition Studies: An Alternative Intellectual Property Model for the Digital Age." May it be the inauguration of a movement in scholarly publishing in Rhetoric and Composition.

Copyfighting, Guerrilla-Style

Sotto voce: "Hey! Download Johndan Johnson-Eilola's new book!"

Via Arete. (P.S. Arete, I hear ya--I would like to see some actual documents on how to deal with publishers and secure a more progressive copyright model too. Maybe when you get here in the Fall, you and I and Jeff and Logie can write some.)

The CCCC Post

Many have posted about 4Cs already, including Charlie with his notes on the CCCC-Intellectual Property Caucus, Collin with his well-linked notes on panels he attended, Mike's behemoth-like annotations here, here, here, here, here, and here, Arete's notes on blogging at 4Cs, and Samantha's March 29 and 30 posts. [Update: Jeff Ward blogs about the blogging special interest group, Kress's talk, and he has some nice photos of the Riverwalk. Another update: Answergrape also has posts here, here, here, here, and here.] What could I possibly add? Not much, but I'll try. First off, I attended the Intellectual Property Caucus with Charlie. We brainstormed and ranted, and all was well, but then the conversation took a turn from righteous indignation over the dwindling of the public domain to plagiarism in the composition classroom. I ask the following question oh so timorously: Why must our conversations about intellectual property inevitably take such a turn? I realize that we're still trying to get people mobilized for the copyleft/Creative Commons cause, and to do that we have to sell it and make it relevant to composition pedagogy, but I wish the people we're trying to persuade would approach IP issues with a more open mind, not so constrained by disciplinary blinders. Just my $0.02. I know it's informed by my interest in the public domain and free culture. I think we need a way to explain IP issues clearly while circumventing the plagiarism discussion, something like: I want to be able to use "Stairway to Heaven" in a documentary film, not tell you I'm the one who wrote it. :) Anyway, one of the highlights for me from the caucus was Andrea Lunsford's call for two types of research: detailed case studies of encounters with copyright law (especially hindrances it presents and the way these encounters with copyright law result in work that doesn't appear as well-researched and thorough as it actually is) and historical research on the concept of common knowledge. What is common knowledge? Is there still such a thing? I agree that the research is important; I'd read it.

Trump Seeks to Trademark "You're Fired"

It's true:

Trump said he intended to emblazon "You're Fired" on games and casino services, and "You're Fired! Donald J. Trump" on clothing.

Other tyrannical bosses won't have to alter their vocabulary if the application wins approval, a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office official said, as it will only protect those specific uses.

The article goes on to say that "three other applications for "You're fired" have been filed." I must admit I am a HUGE fan of the show (Go Amy! And if not Amy, then Troy!), but there's no way I'd wear a t-shirt with "You're Fired!" on it.

Spring Break Shorts

  • I need to pre-order the new book by Siva Vaidhyanathan. Also, now might be the time to buy an iPod.
  • Another article on gender in the blogosphere. Consider this thought:

    If you accept the premise of the blogosphere as a true meritocracy, a place where our intellectual (and emotional) impulses can flourish unchecked, then you're buying into the concept of the blog world as a window into human nature. If that's the case, the blogosphere -- with perhaps just four percent female participation in poliblogs -- shows us that while women are just as interested as men in spouting off, they're fundamentally less interested than men in spouting off about politics.

    Or perhaps people don't recognize what women spout off about as politics proper.

  •   Irish Sushi, via Rebecca Blood. Yum.
  • Ann Wizer, an American artist in Indonesia, is making tote bags out of ephemeral plastic bags (grocery bags, etc.). She did this in an attempt to clean up the environment and create jobs. So guess what happened...

    Not all manufacturing companies appreciate Wizer's efforts. Last year, the German soft drink company Capri-Sonne threatened to sue for trademark infringement. They settled out of court when Wizer agreed to distribute her Capri-Sonne bags -- her most popular design -- through schools only.

    "For the big companies, this is the real issue. When does trademark die? When it's thrown away or when it goes up in toxic flames?" she says. "Frankly, they should be paying me for cleaning up their trash."


  • A friend of mine whom I haven't talked to in years just emailed me. I can't wait to catch up with her. One night she and I attended a Gloria Steinem talk at the University of Tennessee, which a bunch of horrid archconservatives had also attended. She and I hung around and met Steinem afterward and then were so wired that we picked up burgers at Wendy's, went back to her apartment, and talked about feminism until about 1:00 a.m. Good times.

Copyright, Access, and Digital Texts

Charlie Lowe has published an excellent article in Across the Disciplines on open content and the state of our current intellectual property model. It's well worth the read, especially for those who are not all that knowledgeable on IP matters and how they are relevant to composition. Charlie has also posted a comprehensive bibliography of sources on intellectual property in rhetoric and composition.

Hodgepodge of Random Reading

From my inbox--a new journal, Critical Discourse Studies:

Critical Discourse Studies has been established in response to the proliferation of critical discourse studies across the social sciences and humanities. We will consider for publication papers that meet the needs of scholars in diverse disciplines and areas of study which develop critical perspectives on the relationship between discourse and social dynamics. Relevant areas and disciplines include: anthropology, communication, linguistics, sociology, politics, political economy, education, psychology, media studies, geography, urban studies, cultural studies, management studies, literary studies, history, technology studies, legal studies, philosophy, gender studies, migration studies, ethnic studies and others. We also welcome papers which connect critical academic research with practical concerns and agendas, including those of activist and grassroots political movements.

Becky has posted her proposal for her master's thesis on Revolve. I like the way she's using Kenneth Burke's theory here.

A...dare I say?...vapid speech given by Alan Greenspan on intellectual property. Via Sivacracy.

Feministe has a thorough post on rape culture with a lot of links.

Many of our convictions on bioethics are no longer being represented on Bush's bioethics panel. As if we needed another reason to boot him out of office.

Hydrogen peroxide discovered in Mars' atmosphere.

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