Intellectual Property

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International Journal of Web-Based Communities

Via Torill: I'll be keeping an eye on the journal primarily for its subject matter, but I'm also happy to see that the full text of all the articles in IJWBC is available and that the publisher, Inderscience, supports the Open Archives Initiative. They even have RSS feeds for the journals.

From around the globe to your frontal lobe

Just some linking:

The Directory of Open Access Journals, via Byron.

Give Us Real Choices, a new NARAL campaign. Although I support the cause, the tactic -- protest "Chastity Awareness Week" in Pennsylvania by requesting a chastity belt -- seems about as rhetorically effective as crowning a sheep at the 1968 Miss America Pageant. I don't and have never lived in Pennsylvania, so I have no real sway over members of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, but I'm posting this anyway. An employee of M&R Strategic Services emailed me asking me to post it, and as it didn't read like link-exchange spam to me, I decided to email her back and ask her a few questions about her organization, including: Did you send this email to other feminist bloggers? What does your organization think of weblogs as a way to disseminate information, awareness, etc.? How does your organization view weblogs' role in activism? She wrote a substantial and very friendly note back and explained that M&R believes it's important to engage the blogosphere in its outreach efforts, and she said she was sending the link to other feminist bloggers. Anyway, I thought it was pretty interesting.

For lack of funding, Wellesley's Women's Review of Books ceased publication with the December 2004 issue. I don't think this should go without being duly noted. Navigating through the directories is cumbersome, but you can access the archives online, or you may search by reviewer name, book/essay title, or author name.

New Literary Journal: Dislocate

Just passing this new literary journal along to those who might be interested.

Dislocate was founded as a new media journal of the arts in 2001 by students in the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota. In the spring of 2003, a group of new students got together to brainstorm ways they could develop a high-quality print journal on campus. They spoke with faculty, staff, and students past and present. The former editors of Dislocate were interested in handing their journal off to new energy. In the fall of 2004, the newly reinvigorated Dislocate completed its first web issue. The first print issue of Dislocate is due out in spring 2005. Dislocate is committed to publishing high-quality work in many different styles and forms. We publish both established and emerging writers in each of the three genres — fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — in which University of Minnesota students specialize. Each issue publishes an interview with a featured writer who has recently visited our campus, alongside a selection of his or her work.

I looked but didn't find any copyright information anywhere on the journal. It should be obvious that I hope they'll offer authors the option of licensing their work under a Creative Commons license.

Which reminds me, I haven't yet blogged about how pleasantly gobsmacked I still am about the fact that not one, not two, not three, but four journals in my discipline are letting authors choose CC licenses 8): Kairos, Computers & Composition Online, The Writing Instructor, and Lore (if you ask).

Weblog Authorship and Agency in "the Unfolding Action of a Discourse"

Here's my submission for Computers & Writing 2005, which is part of a panel on authorship-intellectual property-collaboration-open source, tap tap: and all that jazz! :)

Recent critiques of authorship have yielded the following insights. First, authors do not exist outside a social and historical context; social and material conditions enable and constrain authorship. Authors are, historically speaking, usually men, usually white, and usually economically privileged enough to afford the leisure time it takes to write. Second, a text is not the product of a sole author. Barthes argues that texts consist of "multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation." The field of composition has moved from the understanding
of authorship as a solitary act resulting in a product owned by an individual to an understanding of authorship as a weaving together of other texts the writer has read and voices he or she has heard in conversation. Lunsford (1999) takes up these critiques of authorship and calls for new ways of thinking "a view of agency as residing in what
Susan West defines as the "unfolding action of a discourse; in the knowing and telling of the attentive rhetor/responder rather than in static original ideas" (as cited in Lunsford, 1999, p. 185-186). Lunsford argues for "owning up" rather than owning, agency in
"answerability," and a view of self as always in relation to others.

This presenter will bring these ideas to bear on weblogging communities and practices. Weblogs emerged pari passu with the rise of open source and publicly licensed software, the backlash against the tightening of copyright restrictions in the 1990s, and the popularity of peer-to-peer networks. This influence can be seen in the widespread use of Creative Commons licenses on weblogs and in the rhetorical practices of weblogging, which take place in a network and for an audience who is invited to respond. Weblogging communities value accountability, exchange in the form of comments or trackbacks, and authority as situated in the connections one makes among discourses and the selecting and interpreting of content.

Intellectual Property Links for Compositionists

Several of us are working on revamping the blog for CCCC-IP, and part of what we want to do is to have a nice big portal of resources on authorship, intellectual property, copyright, public domain, open content, open source, and collaboration for people in composition. For my part, I'd like the CCCC-IP portal to be the best, most comprehensive IP portal on the entire interweb. We're eventually going to divide it into subcategories, but here are the links I've thrown together for now, in no particular order:

Arete and This Public Address also have a portal with some IP links that I'll have to check out. (NOTE: I will be adding links to this entry and reorganizing the links as I see fit.) We also need links to campus IP policies for instructors (for distance ed, etc.), more articles (esp. on theories of authorship, e.g. Foucault, Barthes, etc.), collections of public domain content, material on libraries and IP, articles on open-access scholarship, anything you think is appropriate. Please comment! Even just pasting in URLs would be great.

Research Methods and Wikipedia

I'm fully aware of the extent to which I'm showing my geekiness here, but lately I've been noticing that Wikipedia doesn't have many entries on qualitative research methods. If I were teaching a graduate course in research methods, I'd assign 1000-2000 word articles on the following topics -- and more as I think of them -- to be written for submission to Wikipedia (this assignment could be collaborative):

For the past few weeks, I've been following Clay's book reviews with interest, as he's rereading texts on methods in preparation for his Spring 2005 research methods class. I hope he'll consider having his students write articles for Wikipedia. Besides being helpful for the students, it would put information and knowledge into the commons and benefit others.

Edited to link to Clay's course description and to add that Wikipedia does have decent entries on case study and ethnography.

The Unfolding of the Discourse

A couple of friends and I are putting together a panel on technology and new models of authorship and intellectual property for Computers and Writing 2005. The deadline is October 28, but one person on the panel emailed us suggesting we get started with the panel and added, "I know Clancy likes to get started early." :D This is my reputation now? All because I'm paranoid that my proposals for CCCC won't get accepted, so I always try to goad people into getting a draft ready by the coaching deadline? Okay, I guess I do like to get an early start. Here's the nascent idea -- a feminist analysis of weblog authorship -- which has been floating around in my mind off-and-on for a few months now. Because of said nascence, I'll do much meandering before I get to the point, if I even have one yet.

In "Rhetoric, feminism, and the politics of textual ownership," Andrea Lunsford critiques the solitary, originary, proprietary model of authorship and warns readers of the implications of the appropriation of authorship by corporate entities such as Disney and Microsoft (for a preliminary exploration of these ideas, see her 1997 keynote at Feminisms and Rhetorics). The article first appeared in College English in 1999, and much of it is a review of debates within postmodern theory about authorship and recent changes in U.S. copyright legislation. Postmodern/poststructuralist and feminist theorists, most notably Barthes and Foucault, have de-reified the Authorial Genius, showing him to be an historical construction and yielding two significant insights:

  1. Authors do not exist outside a social and historical context; social and material conditions enable and constrain authorship. "Men of letters" are, historically speaking, usually men, usually white, and usually economically privileged enough to afford the leisure time it takes to write.
  2. A text is not the product of a sole author. As Barthes writes, "a text is made of multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation." The act of composition is exposed as a weaving together of other texts the writer has read and voices he or she has heard in conversation.

Lunsford juxtaposes these theoretical claims with large-scale efforts on the part of corporations to assume the role of author and hyperprotect content, e.g. Mickey Mouse and the Windows source code, and she rightly insists that in practice, the author is alive and well, so well that fair use (including for educational purposes) and the sharing of knowledge are threatened. This review is intended as a wake-up call for scholars in rhetoric and composition; five years ago, these issues were not discussed as often as they are now. (I'd still argue that intellectual property debates aren't as high a priority as they should be on the discipline's scholarly agenda; what do others think? Colleagues sometimes say to me, "I still don't understand why I should care about intellectual property." How can the stakes be better communicated? Does one have to have a direct encounter with "permission culture" before he or she fully understands?)

Article on Academic Blogging in The Guardian

Via Crooked Timber, an article in today's Guardian about academic blogging: It's basically an explication of the academic blogging phenomenon, but Jim McClellan also addresses the concern of some academics that others might steal their ideas. :evil: :P Sorry, I tend to get a little flippant in the face of this postulate because Torill and Jill debunked it years ago:

The current reward system depends on certain formulas of academic
publishing that encourage exclusivity and the fear of being robbed of
thoughts and ideas. Since the real currency in the trade of academia is
originality of thought and imaginative development of theories, there is
more to lose than to gain in exposing your own ideas too early. The
danger of having thoughts, ideas or questions copied before they have
been published is not just a matter of some petty game between jealous
professors with too little time on their hands, it's a very real matter of
being robbed of the currency which measures academic success.

From this point of view a weblog that reveals the thoughts, arguments
and questions of the scholar continuously during the process of
research and long before academically accepted publication in print
seems like a waste of perfectly good imagination and theory development, an invitation to having your ideas looted. On the other hand,
published and archived in the World Wide Web, the same ideas and
thoughts are in fact published and as such better protected than if they were
for instance given away over a cup of coffee, randomly at a conference.

Into the Blogosphere gets a mention, which I'm happy about; we (the editors) were interviewed for this story a while back, but McClellan didn't end up using any of the interview. He took the story in a different direction, and that's cool, I'm not complaining. I do want to try to find the interview, which is floating around on my hard drive or one of my flash drives somewhere, and post it here for those who might be interested.

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