My new hobby has got me thinking a lot about intellectual property. When you’re relaxing on the sofa with a ball of yarn, the mind tends to wander. So, I started wondering, who ‘owns’ this cute lil stuffed Totoro I just made?
The pattern for this handsome little guy comes from LucyRavenscar, the British crochet maven who makes among the best amigurumi around. In her pattern, which she gives away for free on the internet, she specifies: “This is a free pattern of my design, so please do not sell it. Otherwise, use as you like, but if you make this Totoro to sell you must include a link to this pattern. Thank you!”
Copyright enthusiasts might scratch their heads. Why would she possibly give this away for free, especially when she already has an online storefront at Etsy? Let’s extend this argument to libraries: why should publishers let libraries “give away” ebooks for free, for instance? Continue reading
“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” – Anaïs Nin
Banned Books Week starts this Saturday, on 9/24! Here’s the book I picked to write about for my library’s banned books feature. Although on the surface they might just look like naughty little stories, Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus and Little Birds represent a breakthrough for women’s lib and a reclamation of female sexual identity. While still often considered a serious taboo in American culture, Eros — sensuality, erotic love — is an integral facet of the human experience, and I believe that we risk losing a core piece of ourselves when we begin challenging and suppressing these voices.
Nin, a French-Cuban author who lived in Paris during most of the 1940s, is hailed by critics as one of the first women to explore fully the realm of erotic writing; before her, erotica written by women was rare, with a few notable exceptions. The story goes that an anonymous patron paid Nin and her friend Henry Miller $1 per page to write erotic vignettes, and that the pair continued writing the stories as a little joke. Whatever the true genesis of Delta of Venus and Little Birds, the income sustained one of the most mysterious, sensual, and feminine voices of the 20th century.
What I admire most about Anaïs Nin as a writer, and these two volumes in particular, is that she had the courage to challenge a masculine construction of the female experience and instead offer something wholly female. She believed in sharing her own unique voice, and then used that authorial voice to create a world all her own. Fearlessly, Nin plunged the depths of an American taboo, staying true to her view that “The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”
What about you — do you have a favorite banned book? ALA has a great list of banned book resources ready to go for Banned Books Week.
(The Daily Show does Net Neutrality, July 19, 2006)
About two weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission voted to enact a new set of Net Neutrality rules that will regulate how broadband companies are allowed to direct traffic on the internet. Although the new regulations don’t go as far as some consumer watchdog groups would like, they do represent the strongest measures taken by the FCC to date. This is great news for consumers who don’t want their Internet Service Providers to arbitrarily restrict or slow down access to their favorite websites!
To commemorate the occasion, I thought it timely to share with you the very first paper I wrote for my LIS program, just over two years ago; it’s a policy paper addressing Net Neutrality. I was still feeling a little rusty in academic writing at the time I wrote this, but I think it does an OK job setting out the issues and teasing out a few of the policy consequences on both ends of the spectrum. Click here to download the pdf, or just follow the jump below.
If you want to know more about Net Neutrality, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge are two great places to start!
Jennifer McLennan, Director of Communications at SPARC, and Faye Chadwell, Associate University Librarian at Oregon State University, came to the Iowa Library Association 2009 Annual Conference to talk about libraries and Open Access in their talk, “Collective Advocacy: Engaging Librarians in the Open Access Movement.”
As McLennan explained, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition) is “an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.” Basically, SPARC takes advantage of the amazing opportunities created by the Internet to advance the conduct of research and scholarship!
Well, it’s official: the Iowa City Public Library 2009 Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival has come and gone. What a great month of events! I just want to say “thanks” to everyone who organized, presented, and attended the festival.
Be on the look out for a PATV / ICPL production of the IFF Remix event, remixed by presenter Tack-Fu himself. Also, shout out to presenter Kembrew McLeod, whose documentary “Copyright Criminals” will be airing on PBS in January, and presenter Pirate Radio, whose original radio drama “Citizen Q” premiers in Iowa City THIS SUNDAY, Oct. 18 at 11:oo pm on 87.9 FM.
Thanks also to fest co-sponsor University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), who did a couple of very awesome write-ups about the events “Public Libraries, Budget Cuts and Intellectual Freedom” and “IFF Remix“!
(2 STARS out of 5)
Mark Helprin is such a nasty, mean windbag in his book Digital Barbarism. As a tattooed woman (2 strikes against me), I’m apparently just one of the millions of riffraff he loathes. However, although it KILLS me to admit it, he does raise a couple of interesting questions about Intellectual Property. So, 2 stars.
But ultimately Helprin is still wrong. The evil that he imagines himself to be fighting when he attacks Creative Commons is a cartoonish villain: a radical, frothing-at-the-mouth, fanatical, nihilist communist. Kind of a foil to Helprin himself, who fancies himself a hero: a rational, noble, courageous, moralist capitalist. The problem is that Helprin gets the Creative Commons movement all wrong.
So I feel like it’s been the Intellectual Freedom Festival Channel over here lately! That’s ok, though, because I’m pretty keen on intellectual freedom.
Tomorrow is our second-to-last IFF event at the Iowa City Public Library (at noon in Meeting Room A), and this event is especially distinctive as it was conceived of, planned, and executed by Yours Truly.
So. . . . ! Tack-Fu is bringing his old 8-track to show us all how sampling is done creatively. (He was also making Kanye-Crashing-the-VMAs jokes during our email correspondence, so I honestly have no idea what to expect.) Pirate Radio will be there with bells on to tell us about how and why they broadcast original radio dramas and nightly bedtime stories without a license from the FCC. Kembrew McLeod from the U of I Communications Dept. is coming to wrap it all up by discussing ways that high license fees and legal intimidation make it harder for ordinary citizens in a democracy to “write” and “speak back” in multi-media contexts.
I’ll be there eating brownies. You could be there, too. We’ll all be eating brownies together.
Banned Books Week is here! My library is celebrating with our Intellectual Freedom Festival (which, interestingly enough, involves very few books).
The Wall Street Journal is celebrating in its own special way, with an editorial by Mitchell Muncy about why he thinks Banned Books Week is, well, silly. He argues that books don’t really get “banned” in the U.S., they are merely challenged by concerned parents who want to guide their children’s reading tastes in unruly public schools.
But books have been censored by the U.S. government — within the last century, even — and continue to be banned by governments all over the world. By celebrating the freedom to read and calling attention to the fact that books have been and will continue to be challenged and banned, we keep this issue at the forefront of American consciousness and prevent it from happening more often than it does.
I’m so excited I can hardly stand it – the Intellectual Freedom Festival kicks off this Friday at the Iowa City Public Library! The Fest is co-sponsored by the University of Iowa Library and Information Science Student Organization (LISSO), and the U of I Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.
What is Intellectual Freedom?
Intellectual Freedom is a basic human right, defined by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The American Library Association affirms Intellectual Freedom as a basis for our democratic system and recognizes the important role libraries play in Intellectual Freedom issues. To be responsible citizens who have the ability to self-govern, we must be well-informed. Libraries provide information, ideas and resources in a variety of formats, enabling an informed citizenry.