4.1197 Copyright Questions on E-Texts (1/56)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 2 Apr 91 20:47:50 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1197. Tuesday, 2 Apr 1991.

Date: Tue, 2 Apr 91 10:50:22 CST
From: robin@utafll.uta.edu (Robin Cover)
Subject: Copyright Questions (ancient etexts)

I have several questions on a perennial topic: copyright of electronic
text. These are questions to which I did not find adequate answers by
examining the HUMANIST topical collections (RIGHTS TOPIC-1 ... RIGHTS
TOPIC-5) from 1988-1989, or by examining the database output of HUMANIST
discussions during 1990-1991.

(1) Does anyone know of specific actions taken by professional societies
to help shape constituencies' awareness, attitudes, scholarly
expectations and professional ethics policies in the matter of "(non-)
ownership" of electronic literary texts? I missed the recent ACH/ALLC
forum in Tempe chaired by Mike Neuman (a summary to HUMANIST would be
most appreciated) which may bear on this question. I am most interested
in MLA, APA and similar societies where committees for (ca.) 'Research
and Publication' may have taken steps formulate ethical standards which
reflect the needs and values of textual scholarship within its purview
-- independent of what the current copyright laws and interpretations
might be.

(2) Similarly, does anyone know of publishers which have formulated and
publicized policy statements on their willingness to support textual
scholarship by releasing electronic texts ( e.g., declaring a commitment
to place primary texts -- pre-modern texts for which they has also
sponsored paper publication -- in public access)?

(3) Can anyone summarize the current policies (publicized or induced) of
NEH or other granting agencies in decidedly favoring research and
publication efforts which commit to placing electronic texts in public
domain? By "public domain" I mean placed in areas of unrestricted public
access, accompanied by "copyleft" kinds of legal instruments to protect
the texts from becoming owned, sold or in other ways proprietarily
controlled. Would it violate antitrust laws for granting agencies to
explicitly publicize such policies?

(4) Among the many variations on Ted Nelson's (Xanaduvian)
"pay-by-the-bit" chargeback scheme to reward personal authors -- and cut
out traditional publishers :-) -- have there been detailed proposals by
textual scholars to strongly differentiate between the primary texts
themselves and scholarly work in editorial comment and exposition (e.g.,
a transcription of an ancient text as opposed to critical apparatus,
textual commentary, philological notes)?

(5) Can anyone supply an analytical outline of all the relevant issues
surrounding the matter of copyright and intellectual property in
electronic text? A nice outline would emerge from re-reading the
HUMANIST discussions, but I don't with to duplicate an effort that more
competent participants may have already done. Does anyone have a
selected reading list for distribution?

Thanks in advance for any assistance forwarded to me personally or to the
HUMANIST discussion.

Robin Cover BITNET: zrcc1001@smuvm1
6634 Sarah Drive Internet: zrcc1001@vm.cis.smu.edu
Dallas, TX 75236 USA Internet: robin@utafll.uta.edu ("uta-ef-el-el")
Tel: (1 214) 296-1783 Internet: robin@ling.uta.edu
FAX: (1 214) 841-3642 Internet: robin@txsil.lonestar.org