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Re: arsclist COPYRIGHT, CONGRESS, DUE DILIGENCE, AND COASE
From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Dear Frank and your readers, we the participants in the ARSClist
> [This was rejected by The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New
> York Times. I think it is comprehensible. If not, please let me know.
> And if my ideas are wrong, let me know also.
----- I think that perhaps your essay was rejected for form, not
content. The style is very readable, but the interjected comments,
almost in jargon, presuppose too much knowledge from the general
reader. If I were an editor I would suggest reworking the text to a
more traditional format.
> [Steal the ideas. Distort my meaning. Claim it as your own. But spread
> the message. This piece is hereby in the public domain, though I may
> succeed in getting it published under my name. --Frank]
----- I do think that the idea is good, but we see the strange
phenomenon happening that copying has become so simple that
there is no longer a monopoly in having the "printing plates" -
anybody may print on demand. The monopoly in the format is no
longer tenable. Hence the monopoly diverts into the actual content
instead, and that means copyright.
I have looked at the various University Presses' policy for clearing
illustrations for publications - it is interesting for me, because I am
working in the History of Technology (Sound Recording mostly),
and I might want to use early illustrations of the most diverse kind.
Some of the University Presses have guidelines and release forms
available on their website - and they take absolutely no
responsibility. I, the author who is an authority on content now has
to undertake the rôle of negotiator for bringing illustrations - a job I
do not want. The same goes for the Audio Engineering Society
where I have given numerous papers. All my later papers are
printed as text only, because I do not want to take the
responsibility of unwittingly infringing someone's copyright. I use a
standard phrase ("Fig. xx, not printed for copyright reasons")
liberally throughout my text, and I give precise references so that
anybody interested can look up the illustrations themselves. The
only luxury I permit myself is to present the illustrations during the
actual presentation of the lecture: I consider the screening of a
slide for perhaps 3 minutes to be a negligible infringement of a
potential copyright. A solution is to make drawings myself, but that
is very time-consuming - a quote from an old publication is both
much more efficient, and it preserves the contemporary style in
which the old publication was made.
I deplore this state of affairs, and I think that it makes academic life
poorer. I would support any initiative that could give access to
material that can only be found in libraries because no-one is
bothering to keep it in print. If Dover Books reprint a book long out
of copyright, and if that reprint is sold out (it has frequently
happened), do they have a priority on accessing that old material
again? Now, a Dover book is a desirable item, because it is proper
offset print and bound in leaves. A reprinted Cambridge University
Press book may be all you can get, but it is not a desirable item,
because it is only a photoreproduction, and the paper is not sown,
only glued. Cambridge University Press provide an important
service, because it gives you everything as to content, but it will
not hold up on your shelves or in your hands.
And we have only discussed books, not sound or other audiovisual
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