Class Notes for September 10
- Wikipedia assignment
- Some preliminary thoughts about collaboration
Intellectual Property and Ethics
- Eric Faden, “A Fair(y) Use Tale”
- Cohen and Rosenzweig, “Owning the Past”
- Focused Freewrite: what is the relationship between fair use and digital history?
- Define keywords:
- “The Commons,” Creative Commons, public domain, fair use, DMCA/SOPA.
Though it is dangerous and unethical to play fast and loose with fair use, it is equally a mistake to proceed too cautiously. As historian David Stowe points out in a perceptive article, those who unquestionably agree to every demand from rights holders “simply institutionalize a property right that doesn’t exist.” And their unquestioning compliance undercuts the ability of others to claim fair use rights. “Without being exercised,” Stowe argues, “the right to fair use will simply atrophy.” Even the more cautious Chicago Manual warns against seeking permission where there is on the slightest doubt because “the right of fair use is valuable to scholarship, and it should not be allowed to decay because scholars fail to employ it boldly.“
Okeh Records, which pioneered the “race” record market with the first recordings by African American blues singers in the early 1920s, was later taken over by the Columbia Phonograph Company, which was, in turn, taken over by the American Record Corporation, and then the Columbia Broadcasting System, and most recently, Sony. Thus, if you want to make use of now obscure blues songs from the 1920s originally released by Okeh, you will find yourself negotiating with Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and sending your payments to a multinational conglomerate, not the heirs of the original bluesmen.