Intellectual Property

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CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus

John Logie began the CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus with a tribute to Candace Spigelman, co-chair of the Caucus, who passed away last year. Candace never lost sight of students in the process of talking about rhetoric and intellectual property. Institutions are here for the benefit of students. He set up a Candace Spigelman Memorial Fund, which will benefit the Caucus. Directions on how to contribute to the fund will be on the web site soon. Then he reviewed the MGM v. Grokster case and explained why we, as rhetoricians, should take an interest in it. He held up two sheets of paper, one in each hand, that said, "THE INTERNET IS A PEER-TO-PEER NETWORK." The Grokster case, he argued, represents the threat of suppressing technologies that merely have the potential to be used for copyright infringement. Jeff Galin (I think) posed these questions: Can we engage our students to get active in this as well? Can we imagine ways that free use and fair use might intersect? What roles are we going to play to challenge Congress and the entertainment industry?

Because Charlie ended up not being able to attend the Caucus, I presented on the new CCCC-IP web site (I attached my transparencies to this post). Charlie and I moved the content from the old site to this fancy new Drupal site. Basically, I encouraged everyone to register with the site (looks like three or four people did register since then) and contribute content: posts about IP/copyright news, source annotations for the Resource Guide, etc. After that, I introduced the "Just Ask!" campaign. Prompted by a Kairosnews thread, four journals announced that they'd be offering authors the option to license their articles under Creative Commons licenses:

  1. Computers and Composition Online
  2. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy
  3. The Writing Instructor
  4. Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing (not official, but nb the CC license here, granted me because I asked.)

All this happened because people asked. I also have it on good authority that Enculturation would very likely let an author CC license a work if he or she asked, as authors who publish there retain the copyrights anyway. So ask! Remember to ask. I think a lot of people tend to forget that there's another way to do this, and that asking doesn't constitute an ultimatum (do this or I won't sign!!). In fact, I think authors should ask for CC licenses, Founder's Copyrights, etc. especially when they're sure the publishers will say "no." That at least lets the publishers know that scholars want this option. I'd like to emphasize the need for senior scholars, who have a wide variety of choices when it comes to publishing venues, to choose these journals, and to note, either in the body of the article or in an endnote, that they published in this particular journal because they support open access and Creative Commons (Logie has also made this point).

Owning Knowledge

I chaired a session at CCCC titled "Owning Knowledge: New Intersections of Intellectual Property, Technology, and Academia," with Mike Edwards, Krista Kennedy (whose paper was read by John Logie), and Charlie Lowe presenting. I didn't take notes at this one, as I was watching my cell phone's clock to make sure no one went over time. I do want to point to Charlie's presentation, Open Source-Open Access as Social Constructionist Epistemology, and Mike's, titled How Much Should You Pay for a C+ Paper? The Production, Circulation, and Ownership of Student Writing. Luckily, they've provided their presentations, so those of you looking for that feeling of being there will hopefully find some of that. Maybe next year I'll have enough money for the necessary gadgetry (and hosting space) to podcast the whole thing...

Writing Not Allowed? Lessig's Address at CCCC

UPDATE: Janine has audio of Lessig's talk!

Everyone's been raving about Lawrence Lessig's featured address, and I'd like to chime in and do the same. When the IP committee announced that they were able to get him to come and speak, I was thrilled; one of my serious convictions about IP scholarship in the field of rhetoric and composition is that we need to do a better job communicating with other R&C scholars about how the current copyright system affects them, and how alternatives to the default copyright would benefit them. We haven't adequately explained what the stakes are. I wish someone who has more expertise in this area than I do would make a good, clear bulleted list that contains specific things composition instructors get to do now, no problem, that an unfavorable decision in the Grokster case or some proposed change in legislation would change. Something like, "If the Grokster case is decided in favor of MGM, this affects you because the decision's precedent will make it so that you are no longer allowed to..." Or, maybe a list of possibilities: "If the Digital Millenium Copyright Act had not passed, you (as a composition instructor) would be able to..." "If the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act had not passed, you would be able to..."

Couplea Links

Check out rhet.net, a portal of resources for rhetoricians.

Also, I notice that there's now a new CC Wiki License. According to Lawrence Lessig, wiki contributors are "looking for a license that was (1) share alike, but (2) required attribution back to the wiki, rather than to the individual contributors to the wiki." He notes that this "could be achieved with a very slight change to our existing Attribution-ShareAlike license: rather than requiring attribution back to the copyright holder, require attribution back to either the copyright holder or a designated entity." That's fine, but I'm wondering why we need a separate license for this distinction. Couldn't the distinction just be added to the Attribution-ShareAlike v. 3.0 license with an "as the case may be" stipulation? One of the objections to copyright law is that it is too needlessly complicated, and we need a simpler solution. I guess it's just a choice between having more simple licenses or fewer (more complex) licenses.

workworkwork

I'm a busy gal right now...working on my CCCC presentation, a couple of other projects that demand my attention right now but that I hope to put to bed tomorrow, and some domestic tasks, including laundry and lots of cooking meals to freeze in individual portions. For one of my projects, I've been doing reading about women and wikis and women in open source development communities. Here are some links I've collected so far; if you (esp. Heather, Sam, and Shelley) have some more, I'd love to have them.

Women and Wikis

GirlsDontWiki
GirlsDoWiki
UseRealNamesForWomen
UseRealNamesForWomenDiscussion
StarlaPureheart

Women in Open Source Development Communities

HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux (by Val Henson, and the more I read about her, the cooler I think she is.)
LinuxChix
Women in Open Source
Debian Women wiki
Interview with Deb Richardson, founder of LinuxChix
Building and Maintaining an International Volunteer Linux Community (PDF)
LinuxChix Live

Orphan Works: Tell the Copyright Office Your Stories

I thought of Krista when I saw this; she'll probably have some insightful things to say about Orphan Works, a site where you can share your stories of copyright's becoming an obstacle when trying to use orphan works (works whose copyright holders can't be found). The deadline is March 25, though, so please share your stories soon! I plan to submit my story of trying to use the poem "Roseville, Minn., U.S.A." by Marcela Christine Lucero-Trujillo. The acknowledgement in the book I found the poem in is: "Copyright 1976. Reprinted by permission of Patricia Trujillo-Villalobos." The copyright clearance center at my university was never able to track her down.

Via Intellectual Property and Social Justice, a mighty fine new blog by a group of students at the UC Davis Law School. Their post about orphan works is well worth reading.

Michael and Julia

The new, real-life Griffin and Sabine? Artists Michael Mandiberg and Julia Steinmetz have decided to publish their correspondence online under a Creative Commons Attribution license. From the about page:

IN Network is an extended cell phone life-art performance about distance, communication, intimacy, telepresence, and living together while apart. In August 2004 artist Michael Mandiberg moved to New York; Julia Steinmetz remained in Los Angeles, postponing her move for a year because of commitments to her job and her collaborative art practice. Faced with a year apart, and the prospect of a long-distance relationship, the two artists got their frequent flyer numbers handy, and switched both of their cell phones to a provider with free "IN Network" service.

Michael and Julia started out having normal conversations, giving each other updates about their days, and sending cameraphone pictures back and forth, etc. As they switched to using hands-free microphones, they began using the phone differently. They started doing things together at the same time, 3000 miles away, via cellular connection: driving to/from work, eating dinner, giving lectures to students, going for a walk, having a cocktail, reading books in silence, falling asleep and waking up.

What began as a pragmatic attempt to make their relationship last the year of separation through good communication, turned into something less about communication and more about intimacy through (misuse of) technology, and sharing (sonic-virtual) space.

During the month of March the artists will present this cell-phone life-art performance via a Photo Moblog and Podcast on Turbulence.org. The IN Network site will host a Podcast of recordings of their phone conversations. . There will be several live webcasts of audio of the artists sleeping together on their cellphones. They will route all text messages and picture messages sent to one another through the IN Network site.

More about the artists here. Via Jill, whose response is perceptive and well worth reading.

Blog Post Online Readers, CC Licensed

There's a good discussion on Kairosnews about free, collaboratively authored, online, Creative Commons-licensed, open-access composition textbooks. As you might guess, I like the idea, but the planning and execution are going to be very tricky if a group actually gets together and does this thing. But as I was writing my comment, it occurred to me how easy it would be to assemble an online reader for a first-year composition course. There's so much writing talent in the blogosphere, and many bloggers have Creative Commons licenses. I might just do it: Find great, essay-style posts that model qualities of good writing style and argumentation, group them into themes, and copy them into my course site. I could use Drupal's collaborative book module. I'm excited! I'm already thinking of posts I might want to use, like for a unit on the war, I'm thinking of Mike's post titled The Photos and Jeanne's And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink: A scattered and contradictory post on responsibility and Abu Ghraib (To be sure, Jeanne doesn't have a CC license, but maybe she'd give permission for her work to be reproduced for educational, noncommercial purposes.). I'm also thinking of Jeanne's recent post titled Democrats, Aristocrats, and the Torturer's Assistants.

Such a reader could be assembled for any class; I'm thinking too of an intro to Gender Studies class. I might use something along the lines of Dr. Crazy's "Why Women's Studies Sucks" series (Part I and Part II, and hat tip to Jonathan for those), and the responses from The Little Professor and others. Ummmm, yeah, my argument would be stronger if these blogs actually had CC licenses, I know (heh), but again, they might allow their work to be used for this purpose. If not, there are many with CC licenses who have excellent work on their blogs, like Rad Geek, Lauren, and many more. The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. Reduced cost to students, more freedom for the instructor to design the course around themes, and more opportunity for the students to be an active audience, conversing with the authors of the work if the students also blog, or even if they don't, as most bloggers have an email address displayed.

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