Saturday, April 3, 2010

Shows just how little I know about publishing.

I saw this Op-Ed in the New York Times today about copyright problems for digital books. Being a naive academic, I would have assumed that rules similar to academic rules regarding citations and proper attribution would have prevailed. While I'm unclear about the exact limits on usage, from this op-ed it sounds like the actual rules used by publishers are far different from what I was trained to do in academia. It wouldn't have even occurred to me that if I ever finish writing a book that I may have to worry about using a short line from a song or snippet of poetry. Same would go for artwork used. If it is an ancient painting or image why would there be a worry about publishing it? This really needs to be addressed since these rules don't seem to be appropriate to the digital age. It seems crazy that I couldn't say, imbed an image of a famous work of art and link through to the museum where the physical painting is located in a hypothetical e-novel or work of non-fiction (It's not clear to me from the op-ed whether or not I could do this without paying, though my reading of it leans towards this not being allowed). Though since I have basically no background in this area I may very well have an exaggerated sense of the limitations from this single op-ed.

1 comment:

  1. I know as little but that doesn't sound right. Public domain is public domain, and there is a fair use waiver for small snippets of copyrighted material. My guess would that Aronson is either talking about, for example, the right to a particular photo in an owned archive (you might need to go take your own photo of King Tut's tomb if all the online ones are protected property) or he is hyperbolizing. Certainly, not all images or pieces of text have owners.

    Consider the lilies of the fields, which neither toil nor spin, for example.