Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guest Post at The Infornado!

Hello readers!
I thought you all might be interested to know about my guest post on Micah Vandegrift's blog, The Infornado. He's been doing a great series where LIS students contribute their thoughts on the topic 'what I learned in library school.' These posts are such a wonderful resource for new students (or not-so-new ones too!) as they help provide a variety of perspectives from a group of writers with diverse backgrounds, and give great information on how others have found their niche in their programs. Micah's other posts are great too--he has some wonderful insights on current trends in LIS, and also created this post, which is a wonderful comparison of all the different blogging platforms that are big right now (I learned a lot from it!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Copyright Criminals

Last night a group of SLIS students went to see Copyright Criminals, which was absolutely amazing, followed by a Q&A with Kembrew McLeod, an event that was part of the Iowa City Public Library's Intellectual Freedom Festival. I am so excited about this film that I wanted to write a bit here. First of all, I highly recommend that folks should look at the website and watch the film. It's very well done, and it calls into question our current copyright laws by looking at the history of sampling in music.
A couple great questions were raised in the Q&A that got me thinking about licensing. Liz Holdsworth asked if RJD2's sampling was illegal at a live show, and the answer is 'no,' because music venues have to pay ASCAP & BMI licensing fees in order to host performances. What I didn't know though (and this was another question that was asked) was that anywhere music is played (i.e. plugging your iPod in to an ice cream store's stereo system) should technically be paying those fees. I started looking at the FAQ's on the ASCAP site, and apparently they can charge for just about anything, including using hold music on your business telephone! I don't want to suggest that artists not receive credit and/or money for their work, but this seems so restrictive and even somewhat invasive (Dr. McLeod mentioned that ASCAP and BMI have employees who will go in to businesses at random to see if they're in violation.) There must be a better way to go about this, but since I'm not a copyright expert I'm not sure what that better way is!
Also, as a hip-hop fan, I was really excited to see interviews with a lot of wonderful, innovative artists. I have friends who create hip-hop or other types of music using sampling, and it was really interesting to me to learn more about it (for example, the fact that it's legally easier to cover a whole song than to sample 2 bars from it.) I was definitely surprised by examples of artists who were very, err, insistent that their work only be used in a certain way. I guess it's just a mindset different from my own, where I see my work as something I am sharing with the world and others can take it and do what they would like as long as I'm credited (and as long as no large company yoinks my work out from under me and makes a bunch of money off of it, which is highly unlikely). All this talk about sampling and licensing and copyright got me thinking about libraries (as I am wont to do), and I would love to hear back from other LIS students and professionals about this. Do libraries have to pay licensing fees in order to let patrons check out DVDs and CDs? What are some ways libraries can promote sharing without running afoul of the law? Obviously we are sharing materials with others free of charge, but I'm curious what other ways libraries can get involved.
And finally! I love Creative Commons, and it is mentioned in the film, but I have a few Creative Commons questions. Because I am one of the editors of B Sides, I know about the different types of licenses and have a pretty good sense of what they entail for the author. What I'm less clear about is their implications later on. The Share-Alike feature is for those wishing their work to only be used with compatible licenses. However, what if someone is sampling (or quoting in a paper) from sources with incompatible licenses? I've also heard of CC licenses being argued against because they hold rights into perpetuity, unlike copyrighted materials which pass into the public domain after the author's death + 70 years (I think it's 70!) I wonder when (and if) CC licenses become public domain, or if it's something the author manually has to go in and do.
It occurred to me also that I don't have a CC license on this site, so as of today, I shall!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Speak Loudly

For my regular blog readers, I apologize in advance as this post is a bit off topic in that it isn't directly related to LIS education or to my own (current) research. However, it is related to my previous life as a researcher in loss and trauma, and my work at a rape crisis team. It is also, of course, related to my dislike of censorship. I encourage constructive comments at the end, and I also encourage you to check out the other blogs below as many folks are saying a lot of very powerful stuff in response to this week's book challenge.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Highlights from Library History Seminar XII

I just got back from an awesome conference experience at Library History Seminar XII in Madison this weekend. All of the panels were incredible, and the people there were so supportive and welcoming of me (especially as a new researcher!) I feel so excited about the whole thing that I wanted to jot down some thoughts I had about the topics, and some questions the presentations raised for me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

LIS Classroom Resources on Censorship

In honor of ALA's Qu'ran reading in protest of the book burning that's scheduled for September 11, I thought I would post a couple things to spark discussion about censorship in the U.S.
The ALA announcement for the reading can be found here. It gives you an insight into why the ALA decided upon the reading, and why ALA members think it's important.

I love this map because it provides a visual aid for understanding the distribution (and the rather large number!) of books bans and challenges in the U.S. from 2007-2009. It's a Google Map, so you can click on each of the incidents for more information.

The OIF Blog (from the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom) has quite a few posts related to censorship. These are a good jumping-off point for learning about and discussing censorship because you get to read the views of multiple people from the office.

Recently, my classmate Billie Cotterman passed this news report along to me that talks about declining internet freedom around the world. It's based on the Google Transparency Report, which is an interactive map of government requests to remove information, and is a great tool for learning about and discussing censorship internationally.

Does anyone else know of any other sites that either educate readers about censorship or that would be useful in a classroom discussion? I would love to see them!

That's all I have time for right now--I'm on my way out the door to talk at (and enjoy!) the Libraries and Print Culture conference in Madison this weekend. I'll post about my thoughts when I return.