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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: February ::
Books to Buy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0075  Wednesday, 6 February 2008

[1] 	From:	Larry Weiss <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 05 Feb 2008 00:22:27 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0068 Books to Buy

[2] 	From:	Carol Barton <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 05 Feb 2008 10:48:20 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0068 Books to Buy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <
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Date:		Tuesday, 05 Feb 2008 00:22:27 -0500
Subject: 19.0068 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0068 Books to Buy

 >* I don't mind 'red-baiting', but unauthorized diminutives
 >are a bit cheeky. I started last semester with an announcement
 >in my first lecture about forms of address to tutors and the
 >assertion that "I'm not Gabe." I mustn't have stressed that
 >final plosive hard enough, for I heard distinct mutterings of
 >"Why did he tell us he's not gay?"

It is not only cheeky diminutives and unheard plosives that can plague 
Gabriel. I recently had a conversation with someone who thought that 
*Gabriel* Egan was plumping for canonical recognition of Woodstock.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Carol Barton <
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Date:		Tuesday, 05 Feb 2008 10:48:20 -0500
Subject: 19.0068 Books to Buy
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0068 Books to Buy

On works for hire:

U.S. government regulations make a clear distinction between personal 
inventions and Government-owned copyright when it comes to technology 
and manufacturing.

If I develop software at my own expense, then modify it under contract 
for the Government's use, I retain rights in the original program, but 
the Government owns the modification, and can do with it as it pleases.

If under Government contract, I design and build a widget to Government 
specifications, and in the process make  some tangential discovery 
unrelated to the Government's application, the knowledge I have gained 
presumably belongs to me--but if in the process of building a better 
mousetrap under contract, I invent a more economical or humane approach 
to the applicaton, that belongs to Uncle.

I know that, despite Larry's accurate legal description of the 
invalidity of assertions to copyright of images that are considered to 
be "in the public domain," libraries and archives and other "makers" 
like EEBO still insist on their right to charge permission fees for 
reproduction of the images, arguing that they purchased the equipment 
and expertise that enabled the images to be digitized, and therefore own 
the process, not the work per se. The costs (to users) can be 
prohibitive, as we all know, and in the case of something like the Yale 
edition of the _Complete Prose Works of John Milton_, which is long out 
of print, but at $100 or more a volume for the ones most often used (if 
you can find them), is still the "authoritative text," they invite 
piracy. How is someone who doesn't live near one of the few libraries 
holding all eight volumes supposed to do his or her work without access? 
And how is he or she supposed to get access, if the books can't be 
purchased, and are not digitized and available online? It would take 
nothing to OCR this text, which is in modern print--but Yale refuses to 
do so. I will leave the customary solution to your collective imaginations.

As an independent scholar, I can well appreciate Gabriel Egan's position 
on this subject. There is a major difference between digitizing _The 
Canterbury Tales_ and offering it to the public at no cost, and 
digitizing the Harry Potter series, however: I'm sure that, were Rowling 
to die unexpectedly, her heirs would demand, and should retain the right 
to, her royalties in those works . . .  and just imagine how much 
wealthier Shakespeare's heirs would have been, had his estate retained 
royalty rights to his works! I think the 50-year limit is reasonable, 
and that after that, the work should be free for use (with appropriate 
credit to the author, of course). And there should (but doesn't seem to 
be) a distinction made between the fees applied for reproduction of a 
print or graphic in a scholarly work in the humanities intended for 
resale (which is typically written pro bono, and earns a pittance for 
its author, no matter how brilliant it is) and all other kinds of 
publications (such as Rowling's), which have the potential to earn 
millions of dollars. The costs of such things for use in a manuscript I 
have recently completed come entirely out of my pocket, and will not 
likely be recouped, if the book stays in print for the remainder of my 
lifetime. My only tangible reward will come in the hoped-for positive 
reception of the scholarly community. For me, it isn't even a matter of 
"publish-or-perish"--so why should I have to pay such astronomical fees 
to make something available to the patrons of the Folger Shakespeare 
Library, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, British Library, 
or Guildhall for free available to students in Tokyo or Buenos Aires or 
Honolulu?

'Tis a puzzlement.

Best to all,
Carol Barton

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