3.770 copyright, cont. (99)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Tue, 21 Nov 89 17:45:28 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 770. Tuesday, 21 Nov 1989.

(1) Date: Tue, 21 Nov 89 00:41:00 EST (30 lines)
Subject: Re: 3.762 copyright, cont. (73)

(2) Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 21:09:42 EST (18 lines)
Subject: Re: 3.762 copyright, cont. (73)

(3) Date: Tue, 21 Nov 89 12:06:36 GMT (26 lines)
From: Donald Spaeth 041 339 8855 x6336 <GKHA13@CMS.GLASGOW.AC.UK>
Subject: Copyright

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 89 00:41:00 EST
Subject: Re: 3.762 copyright, cont. (73)

May one inject, again, a note of reality into the copyright discussion?
The language is in the impersonal; thus finessing the problem of cost:
who pays to let the mandarins have their conveniences, e.g.,
machine-readable texts? Anecdote to illustrate: in 1984, a dear friend,
a fine poet in Hungary, took me to hear Janos Starker at the Liszt
Concert Hall. Wonderful to see and hear the great cellist. Tickets
cost practically zilch. Hall filled with the intelligentsia of
Budapest, many of whom I happen to know, poets, critics, etcetera,
novelists, professors. When I asked my friend how it was done so
cheaply (I knew the answer), he remarked that it came from taxes, the
government, etc. I asked him if the "people" had any say in the
matter. Why no, he replied, startled. He a dramatist writing popular
rock musicals, for the people too, to make a living; it hadnt occurred
to him that the people dont necesarily want to pay for us relishers of
fine things to have the tix cheaply. They pay for scientists to have
their complex toys, billions for research, or hundreds of millions.
But I am not so sure that they would pay for the machinery to support
the transfer of all the public domain texts we would would like to
have. Publishers sure dont give it away. The machinery, the juice, the
manufacture, costs something, a lot, in fact. And we know, in our
universities, at least in mine, the Humanists dont get much support,
let alone hardware! let alone a computer. So, who will pay for the
production of the scanners, the keyboarding, the etceteras...? Dont let
the taxpayers know. Let us keep it among our modems here, friends...?
Yours at UCLA, Kessler

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------27----
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 21:09:42 EST
Subject: Re: 3.762 copyright, cont. (73)

Why don't we forget about copyright for a moment and think about
contracts? I am not a lawyer, but I certainly think that someone could
distribute his electronic texts with a proviso in the contract that they
not be copied for others to use without his/her permission. Why on
earth not? Why should only intellectual labor be considered as giving
someone the right to his/her labor? If I spend 20,00 dollars getting
some text on disk, why shouldn't I have the possibility of recovering my
investment by selling copies? Again the analogy seems to me the
situation where I publish in hard copy a transcription of an ancient
manuscript. I can't prevent someone else from publsihing that text of
course, but I *can* prevent them from photo-offsetting my edition. er
Isn't there a humanist lawyer out there who can tell me whether my law is
correct here?
Daniel Boyarin
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------39----
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 89 12:06:36 GMT
From: Donald Spaeth 041 339 8855 x6336 <GKHA13@CMS.GLASGOW.AC.UK>
Subject: Copyright

Chet Grycz's comments seem pertinent. What they revealed for me
is that copyright is NOT the central issue; it provides the parameters
within which we must work. This means that emphasis on legalisms
is important so that we understand the limits but not because
they define proper behaviour (echoing earlier comments on
theft and morality). Taking copyright as a given, what is
needed is an added mechanism/set of conventions for the
exchange of data, so that the interests of someone who
invests a large amount of effort (whether copyrightable or
not) in the creation of a database/machine-readable text
are protected and that person is rewarded for his/her
efforts, and the data is not ripped off. The mechanism could be as simple
as a barter system of text for text. We need to work
to get databases/texts treated as academic creations, like
articles and books, so that using someone else's data without
permission is academic suicide. In other words, we need an
atmosphere of cooperation and exchange with professional checks
to make sure no-one takes advantage of the situation.

Don Spaeth
Computers in Teaching Initiative Centre for History