Intellectual Property

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Computers and Composition Blog

The journal Computers and Composition now has a blog! They're even using Drupal, which is now in its third year. I don't intend for this post to be so cheerleader-y; I'm not simply saying, "They have a blog! Yay!" I'm serious here: If this blog is updated often, linked to, and posted to by all the other rhetoricians and compositionists who blog or have more static web sites, that might take us closer to a new model of scholarly publishing--a true knowledge community, without the considerable lag time involved in most scholarly publishing. Peer review will still take place, of course, but it won't be blind (we'll see more accountability, and the notion of ethos will become more significant, I think), it will be more interactive, and we'll see ideas as they form and are refined by communal criticism.

In addition...I can't be the only one who's amused by the irony that C&C is published by Elsevier, yet they went open-source for their blog. A harbinger if I ever saw one--but I don't want to jinx it. :-)

Don't read anything by James Joyce out loud in public...

Andrew Ó Baoill links to a sad story about what happens when authorship and copyright get out of hand:

[T]he Joyce estate has informed the Irish government that it intends to sue for copyright infringement if there are any public readings of Joyce's works during the festival commemorating the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday this June.

James Joyce died in 1941 and the copyright in his work expired in 1991. Then the EU extended terms to life+70 years, and the work went back into copyright in July 1995. The estate has been very active in enforcing their copyright, suing regularly. While some of their actions have been aimed at issues such as protecting the memory of Joyce's daughter Lucia from scrutiny, other suits have been against non-commercial uses of the works by fans. As such, they seem solely concerned with the financial health of the estate [admittedly one of their roles] having no concern for nurturing the greater cultural legacy of Joyce.

Unbelievable. So wrong!

Silence of the Blogs

This article in Salon helps to remind me why I study blogs. I tend to get asked a lot of questions about blogs and blogging; usually people want a list of good resources on blogging, or they want to know what a blog is, or they have questions about software tools or how they can use blogs in their teaching. It's not that I'm not happy to answer these questions--really! In fact, I'm flattered that those who ask consider me to be a resource. But...sometimes it feels like when I worked as a hostess at Logan's, and I had to repeat the same sentences over and over, all day long:

Taking guests by case of raw, red meat because I had to do this for everyone who came in:

"Did you know that our meat is cut by hand every single day by our own meat cutters? Then it is seasoned and aged three days for tenderness!"

When we got to the table:

"Our soup of the day is chicken noodle, and our catch of the day is halibut."

But this article in Salon reminds me of what the right questions are. Of course you have to know something about blogs before you can ask such questions, and I have nothing but love for newbies. I think that in the future, I will throw in with my informational responses a little taste of why blogging is so important to me. The article describes a pro-democracy protest in Iraq that at least one Iraqi blogger wrote about, which didn't get picked up by The New York Times:

"Here is one young man in Baghdad equipped with nothing but a camera and a keyboard who reported on news better than established media worldwide," says blogger Jeff Jarvis. "This shows what citizens media can accomplish." (It was Jarvis who put the digital camera in Zeyad's hand, sending it to him via Federal Express to Baghdad at a shipping cost half as much as the $200 camera.)

"My guess is that it would take years for Westerners to understand Iraq and Iraqis," Zeyad tells me, "but we're working on it and that's what my blog is mostly about." As it turns out, the first step may be convincing Westerners that their own press isn't always (or even usually) the best authority on the subject.

That's what I'm talking about: Blogging brings up issues of hegemony, disenfranchisement, and marginalization. It presents implications for understanding social structures and maybe even effecting social change. I wish I had more specific claims to make, but I'm learning. Those more specific questions and claims are what I'll be working on for the next few years. I know the instrumental questions are necessary, but I'm more interested in the effects of blogging.

Thanks to Jen for emailing me the link.

Highlights from My News Feeds

I love RSS, and I love Drupal for building a news aggregator into its blogging tool. Because of it, I'm able to find stuff like this: Napsterization via Siva, which I'll keep an eye on just because Mary Hodder's posting to it (IP types such as Logie might be interested in it too).

Anne says we should watch Mildred Pierce. I read an article about single mothers in cinema in Bitch once, and this movie was included. I wanted to watch it then, but now I definitely will after that persuasive review. I like reading movie reviews on blogs--Chuck writes them all the time, and Cindy has been known to do one or two.

Flesh and Bones Available Free as a .pdf

AKMA is making his book of sermons, Flesh and Bones, available as a .pdf file. If you want to buy it, the money from the book sales will benefit St. Luke's Church. I've got my Christmas shopping (for my family) done!

2 conferences this month...

...and already, anxiety dreams. In 8 days, I'll be going to Toronto for the AoIR conference, and then the following weekend, to Ohio for the Feminisms & Rhetorics conference. Last night, I had a dream about AoIR, only instead of being in Toronto, it was on the beach somewhere--perhaps a subconscious fast-forward to Computers & Writing in Hawai'i. I lay down in the wet sand very close to the water, mesmerized by the waves. There was a big, high swing set a few yards from the shore, and I swam out, got into a swing, and swung in tandem with the waves. Later I realized I had forgotten to bring my paper, but that didn't matter; I had missed my presentation because I had been out there for so long. Then I found out that the White Stripes were playing and, as I was trying to find the venue, I woke up.

Water is hardly ever present in my dreams. What could this mean?

The Ol' College Try

Yesterday, I finished revising my paper titled "Sites of Resistance: Weblogs and Creative Commons Licenses" for the AoIR conference. It was nominated for a student prize (based on the abstract), so I thought I better revise the paper, which I wrote for a class last spring. The original paper was definitely not my best work; I just did what I could with the time allotted, which you have to do sometimes, right? I was dreading looking at the paper, but I did, because I thought about my general guideline in situations like these: If you don't apply for that job/scholarship/award, you have a 100% chance of NOT getting it. If you do apply, you will increase those odds slightly.

I don't think I've ever revised a paper on such a large scale. I mean I took that thing apart and put it back together again. I took out whole paragraphs, cut whole sections and pasted them in different places in the paper, and added paragraphs and sentences that helped express my argument in a more authoritative voice. In other words, I did what all those writing textbooks say to do, and I'm happy with the results. I'm actually going to submit the paper to the conference archive in a few days for all to see! To friends, I joked that trying to revise this paper was like polishing a turd. It was, but I learned in the process, which couldn't come at a better time, as I'm about to start teaching composition again.

You gotta suck da head on dem der crawfish

Yay! I can now use that phrase with impunity. Mystikal was recently absolved of some ridiculous copyright charges. Mystikal used some Cajun phrases in "Shake Ya Ass," and it turns out that a company called Emanation Inc. "makes a hand-held toy called "Cajun in Your Pocket" that plays several Cajun phrases, and got a copyright for the word arrangements on Dec. 13, 2000."

That's wrong on at least two levels--cajun in your pocket?! How incredibly offensive. And then getting a copyright on colloquialisms? Please. The article goes on to say that

The appeals court agreed with a district judge, ruling that the sayings - "We gon pass a good time, yeah, cher," and "You gotta suck da head on dem der crawfish" - are not original and therefore are not protected under copyright laws.

Well, laissez les bon temps rouler!

Cross-posted to Kairosnews.

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