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May 5th, 2012 01:38 pm - Century-old mummified frozen lobotomized corpses
Okay, so I know I said I'd be posting Part 2 of the How To Homestuck thing, but a) there was some stuff pointed out to me in a discussion in the comments that I'm still thinking really hard about, and I don't want to do any more with that until I've figured out how to make a peace with those things; b) I think most of you are handling it on your own by now anyway :P and c) I have been mostly out-for-the-count with a dread lurgy of doom for much of the past week, so anything requiring serious thinking (or serious physical effort. Or ability to look and/or listen with concentration for more than an hour or so, or at some points be awake, or indeed be asleep, for that long) has been shelved for now.

So, uh, that's indefinitely delayed.

Anyway, with doing anything productive out of the question, and my normal occupy-brain-online sources slowly filling up with tempting, tempting Avengers spoilers, I instead turned to some old standbys of mine: rifling through printed cabinets of curiosities and watching old BBC documentaries, with the result that I made a seriously bad life choice while unable to sleep last night and spent several hours reading up on the search for the remains of Mallory and Irvine atop Mount Everest.

(Bad life choice = images of old, frozen mummified corpses of explorers after midnight are one of the few things that reliably give me nightmares. Childhood trauma.)

Anyway, I was in the middle of reading about this Great Unsolved Mystery of Heroism and Human Endeavour, and what to I run into?

An epic, epic discussion of why copyright law is irretrievably screwed up, of course! So who wants a special Broken Frozen Lobotomized Corpses edition of our occasionally continuing series, Copyright Law Is Irretrievably Screwed Up?

the Mallory and Irvine copyright question )

Okay, once you've solved that one, we can move on to "Who theoretically holds copyright to the original footage, direction and cinematography in works of art like Octopus Steals My Video Camera And Swims Off With It While It's Recording?"(a question of more hypothetical importance than you might think to some in the cryptozoology community...)

Also, as a result of trying to come up with anything else to think about last night, I decided there needs to be a modern-day Holmes AU set on top of Mt. Everest entitled "The Adventure of the Yellow Band". The 'yellow band' is apparently a geographic/geologic fature near the top of Everest, but clearly it needs to be a "Speckled Band" AU. The Stoner sisters would make excellent high-adventure mountaineers, and modern!Holmes would totally love wandering around being forensic on the highest point on Earth, which is at this point basically an amusement park for privileged danger junkies. (There are something like 120 well-preserved traumatically dead bodies up there, of course he'd love it.) ...okay this is mostly due to me wincing like crazy every time somebody on one of the search-for-Mallory-and-Irvine expeditions went stomping carelessly through irreplaceable, until-then-untouched historical sites, but Holmes AU makes everything better.

Okay not BBC!Sherlock, he lacks certain of the Victorian virtues of his predecessor (and not my fuermosi!AU Holmes, who has slighty more self-preservation instinct) but another random modern AU holmes? Well the ACD one spent two years wandering around the Himalayas just because he didn't have anything better to do, it wouldn't be out of character.

(I'm not writing this, obviously. It would require me to figure out how long an unprotected Livestrong bracelet would survive above 30,000 feet. And I tried (and failed) to research that re: Wriststrong and low Earth orbit for another bunny years ago, I doubt ultra-high-altitude would be easier to find out.

...why do I do these things?)

Anyway I originally planned to end this entry by promising to try very hard to get to some of my several outstanding online obligations in the near future, but I keeled over in the middle of writing it and slept for six hours of very strange dreams, and I am probably going to keel over again shortly, so perhaps this is not the time to commit to getting things done. :/

(16 comments | Reply)

December 4th, 2011 08:43 pm - No.
I was going to make an interesting entry full of interesting things, but then I stumbled across the National Jukebox, and my brain is full of nothing but NO.

The National Jukebox sounds like it's really cool - it's a collection of streamable music from the early years of recording (1901-1925) made available over the internet through the Library of Congress. Sounds awesome, right?

The thing is, none of the songs are downloadable. It's streaming only. Why?

"Recordings in the Jukebox were issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which has granted the Library of Congress a gratis license to stream acoustical recordings."


There is no reason on God's green Earth why the Library of Congress should be accepting conditions from Sony on how they distribute music that was recorded and published 110 years ago.


Current Mood:: NO.
Current Music:: Make a noise like a hoop and roll away.

(26 comments | Reply)

September 7th, 2011 11:38 pm - Some Minor Historical Notes on Copyright and Censorship
[community profile] otw_news recently posted a link to an article which discussed Arthurian legend as fanfic. It was neat to see that being acknowledged, though as we all know of course fanfic goes back much farther than the 13th century: it goes back to the Aeneid (an early Gary Stu), to the Argonautica (early crossover crack), to the Book of Job (the original example of Snacky's Law), to the Epic of Gilgamesh (which I tend to describe as the world's first recorded slash fic, since earlier Gilgamesh stories were somewhat less myopically focussed on the manly devotion of Gilgamesh and Enkidu.)

Really, it's a bit silly to talk about the history of fanfic, since it wasn't until just the last three hundred years or so that anything other than fanfic has been regularly acknowledged as proper literature.

So let's talk about media piracy instead.

The patron saint of media piracy, of course, is St. Columba of Iona, who borrowed a psalter from St. Finnian, sometime in the 6th century CE, made a copy, and refused to give St. Finnian the copy when he returned the original. St. Finnian demanded the copy back, St. Columba declared it was his, and they appealed to King Diarmait of Ireland, who declared "every cow its calf, every book its copy," in favor of St. Finnian. This being 6th century Ireland, it ended in Columba raising his clan in rebellion against the king, and around 3,000 men died in the Battle of CĂșl Dreimhne before Columba went into voluntary exile in Scotland to avoid excommunication.

He took his copy of the psalter with him when he went, though!

I've never really been able to work up much guilt about media piracy, because a) I've gotten well under 3,000 people killed as a result, and b) none of the arguments against it apply to me. That's been driven home with real numbers to me lately: LibraryThing recently added a column to its catalog listings where one can input where one acquired a book, and I've managed to fill it in back to Christmas 2009 (so far.)

Of about ~500 items added to my library in that time (yes, I know I have a problem, but I also still have a few inches of shelf space :P), here is where I got them: Spoilers: nowhere that let to profits for Borders or Amazon. )

I get most of my music the same way I get my books: passed on from friends, from the library, or found while thumbing through boxes and boxes of old LPs and slightly-less-old CDs at flea markets and thrift stores. I can't give you the numbers, because I buy a lot less music than books, so I don't bother to track them the same way, but I think the last music I bought new was a Tom Lehrer CD with a gift card I got for high school graduation. I have found some really amazing stuff in those boxes of old LPS, and, yeah, I do need to get back on track with digitizing some of it to share.

So a few months back I was in a new thrift store that recently opened in the area, and I found a record that was slightly different than any I'd seen before - bigger than a 45 or 78, smaller than an LP, and heavy. The label was printed with "Duodisc aluminum base", and under it, in handwritten ball-point pen, "3-22-47, Bing Crosby, Dennis Day, quartet"

I very quickly realized that what I had in my hands was popular music that had been stolen by immoral copyright pirates sixty-five years ago. No wonder the music publishing had completely died out by the 1950s, if people were making copies of stuff and passing them around for free! Just imagine what music today might have been like if there had still been a profitable recording industry when Elvis and the Beatles were performing.

Obviously I bought it. )

Current Music:: Bing Crosby and Dennis Day - Always
Current Mood:: [mood icon] bouncy

(31 comments | Reply)

January 24th, 2011 02:57 pm - I can do five things. Sure.
1. Ebook piracy: the latest hot topic. I have been staying out of this discussion, mostly because: I have been listening to pirated audiobooks since before I could *read*, since pirated audiobooks meant "check the LP out of the library and copy it on to reel-to-reel tape." I worked through all my moral and ethical questions about the issue by the time I had hit kindergarten, with the assistance of the fact that *all* of my peers and authority figures did the same things; I had picture books that were photostat copies bound with brads; I had Boxcar Children books that were bookstore remainders with the covers stripped.

My father was a math and programming teacher in the early 80s; the county-wide department inservice days were the best thing ever, because Dad would come home with 5.25-inch discs holding pirated copies of all the latest Apple II games that all the teachers were trading around under the desks. (True story: I once asked Dad what the "kracker" did in programming, since all the programs we had at home had a "kracked by" credit before the opening screen.) In fact, I have never met a single teacher, at any level, and growing up a TK I've met a lot, who has taught for more than five years and doesn't routinely make illegal copies of things for her classes. When a law is that widely flouted (by pretty much everyone who doesn't directly benefit from its existence, and also often, quietly, by them as well), what you need to do is change the law, not human nature.

Which is to say, I got over this topic two decades ago. Can we move on and stop acting like fainting flowers about it? ^_~

2. Still listening to (pirated) Dresden Files! 3.5 books in have reached Step 10 in the getting-into-a-fandom timeline. Current fic bunnies: A Day In the Life of Father Forthill; 5 Times Harry Dresden Narrowly Avoided Learning About Slash; and Ray Kowalski Dances With The Winter Lady. Also did another meme fill, which was probably obvious to anyone who knows me and is reading over there. However, I've reached the point where I know just enough canon that I no longer feel comfortable writing fic without knowing it all, sigh, so that's stalled, mostly.

Luckily, the anon meme is keeping me in fic for now! Actually I was just thinking that maybe Dresden Files has finally cured me of politics RPF, given the relative numbers of times I've been reloading the two memes, but then Dresden Files fandom decided on its own to adopt Rahm Emanuel as a character, so I suspect I'm just cursed to read politics RPF forever. (Oh, Rahm, oh.)

3. I am almost finished with my mending basket! Which means time to start a brand-new sewing project, maybe! (Or go back to a years-old retired one.) The last thing in the basket was the Madelyn Mack dress I wore at con-txt and ripped the hem out of. It's 100-year-old black silk, so thin it's translucent in sunlight. I have a picture of my grandmother wearing it, c. 1930, in an "Old Hometown" history pageant; I have a picture of her grandmother wearing what might be the same dress, 30 years earlier. I was really, really nervous about attempting to repair a dress that's practically an artifact and such fragile fabric, too - until I actually started the repair.

I am at *least* the fifth person who has attempted to repair the hem of this dress! (And a better seamstress than at least two of them.) That makes me feel a lot better, and, somehow, love the dress a lot more, too. In fact, its value as a historical artifact may not so much be its value as a dress, as it is a record of Edwardian and early-20th-century home clothing repair techniques; this dress wears its scars proudly, and I'm learning things about effective and efficient repair just from studying it that even my mother's generation seems to have forgotten. (I never did get a picture of me wearing it last summer. Maybe once the repair is done I'll attempt a photographic record. Repair being done make take awhile - there is literally six yards of hem around this skirt.)

4. Last Thursday was the first 10 O'clock Live! It was not terrible! It could use some settling-in time, but it was legitimately good. It actually feels like it's kind of halfway between wanting to be the Daily Show and wanting to be something more like W$W - a serious but irreverent real current events magazine. Am looking forward to more.

...and then the next day Keith Olbermann signed off for the last time. D: D: He wasn't always right and he wasn't always good, but he almost always said the things that the American left needed said but was afraid to, and shouted them when they needed shouted, and now who's to do that?

5. I joined [community profile] inkitout - the DW community to challenge yourself to keep writing all year - and so far, thanks to Dresden Files, am doing okay. But! This week's support post was to introduce one of your characters, and I was like hooray! I always want to talk about my original characters! Until I tried, and realized I couldn't do it. original character wibbling )

(22 comments | Reply)

June 20th, 2010 05:33 am - Fandom, Copyright and Copyleft
This is the handout I wrote for Sunday's panel on fandom and copyright. I am posting it here because it is fifteen freaking pages long and I hope some people will read along on their netbooks and I don't need as many paper copies. But people not at con-txt are welcome to enjoy.

This is html-converted using OpenOffice; I apologize if it's ugly, I cheated because it's, um, 5:30 AM the day of the panel and I haven't slept yet. If you would rather download a .doc file, click this link: Copyleft and Copyright Handout.

Fandom, Copyright and Copyleft: The Basics of Intellectual Property for Fans )

(16 comments | Reply)

February 22nd, 2010 03:08 pm - Wulf and Eadwacer
So, a long, long time ago, before I had an online journal or interacted with fandom in any way, back before Wikipedia ruled the internets, I used to post on Everything2, which is a wikipedia competitor with a very different structure, ethos, and culture. (As much as I do like the Wiki system, I wish more sites used an E2 framework instead - I think it would've worked really well for fanlore, for ex., with its emphasis on multiple voices and automatic flow.)

Anyway, one of the things I posted there, over eight years ago (!!!), was an attempted translation of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer into poetic Modern English. I'm no Anglo-Saxon scholar, but I go through phases of reading lots of early English poetry and poking at the language, so it may be a bad translation, but I like the poem, and I like my version better than any of the other translations I've found, and I have nothing at all staked on it being a good translation, so critique it all you want. (I am, oddly, very fragile when it comes to criticism of my fiction - I can get scared into writing nothing for months even by *effusively good* feedback - but have a very thick skin about my poetry - say whatever you want about it, it won't change what the poem means to me.)

So there's this translation, that's been sitting pretty much ignored on a website that's been slowly dwindling in readership, until [personal profile] shanaqui with her riddles on [community profile] poetry inspired me to look it up again and repost my Wulf and Eadwacer there.

And what should I discover but that someone has quoted my translation in an academic paper, as far as I can tell from Google pretty much in full, and published it in the journal "Language and Literature" only this month.

I am trying to articulate why this pisses me off so much. Given that I generally approve of fair use and quotation and derivative/transformative work with or without permission, and am pretty radically anti-intellectual-property in general, and strongly support acafandom in using internet postings in published papers, I ought to just be happy that somebody (somebody who I rather admire as a writer and scholar) has noticed my un-expert little translation and thought it worth talking about.

But, well, what pisses me off? Is that the journal's publisher wants 25 dollars from me in exchange for the privilege of looking for only 24 hours at the article about my work that they published without even notifying me.

<I>That</i> pisses me the hell off (pardon my Anglo-Saxon. And Old French.) Cue rant. )

Short version: if Transformative Works and Cultures was pay-only, I would be a lot less supportive of it, that's for darn sure.

(I tend to think that fanacademia, even beyond TWC, tends to be fairly good about freely sharing info - even when papers are published behind pay-only, it's been fairly easy for me to get copies for free - but that might be because accumulated fanmeta rep has gotten *me* inside several locked walls of access that I don't even see any more.)

(Also, said fan network has already gotten me a copy of the paper about Wulf and Eadwacer that discusses me. I am now officially recorded in the ongoing conversation of Western Thought as "Melannen, a kind of 'groupie' for wit and wisdom" --- I'll take it! Could be worse. Also, my e2 post is "not exactly post-structural exegesis," but rather "a crude recommendation" to "make the empty room exciting with your own furnishings". Hmm, you know, I don't have any titles on my DW journal pages yet... :D But seriously folks, it's a reasonably good paper which is doing pretty much the same thing I tried to do in my e2 post but better - the quotes are actually a compliment, because I'm the only one of six translators - including Burton Raffel - he actually discusses at any length whatsoever. Even if he is baffled by the internets and the way learnings happen there. And he got the date of publication of the E2 entry wrong by five years somehow. And altered my translation in a fairly significant way without, apparently, noticing.)

...er. Speaking of the value of a public domain, last weekend I was at Farpoint - my first ever sci-fi con! - and spent most of the time trying to pretend it was con.txt, which meant hanging around the do-it-yourself panel rooms and figuring out how to talk about fanfic in them without outright admitting I'm a fanfic writer. (Panels I either gave or attended: Writing SF Erotica, DIY Social, SF Worldbuilding, Webcomics 101, Sex and SciFi, Not Everyone's a Pro, Copyright/Copywrong, Convention Sales for Creative Types, and Sherlock Holmes. I want to talk more about the con later, but this post is going to be long enough already.)

One of the coolest ones I attended was The Copyright, Copywrong panel, which was recorded and is available as a podcast. )
...anyway it also features me as "person in audience who wouldn't stop talking". Hear! Me attempt to talk to Marc Okrand without getting squee all over him! Hear! Me slip slash discussion in under the radar by casually mentioning the OTW without explaining what it is! Hear! Me get scolded for talking too much and not letting other people participate! Hear! Me completely fail to mention Interrobang Studios, which is ostensibly why I was at the con!

(and for the record, if I was not so lazy I would officially put all of my work under a creative commons share-alike license, the share-alike being most important and the attribution being least.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

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