The meaning of collaborative work in Poetry and Literature.
The author is entitled to ownership of their work. In poetic terms, derivatives do occur, mostly in music and in translations. As stated before on this blog, derivatives are seen as adding to the original works, once attribution is established. The fact that there are appalling non-collaborative translations online of great poets is irritating. The issue of copyright and fair use has been linked here Via the Poetry Foundation and it really is a most important text.
Digitising bodies of works and how derivatives occur
Digitisation is widespread, many authors will need to learn to establish their rights on blogging platforms, and indeed how to use such services as Scribd. Not all original works are necessarily confined to publishing contracts. Thus we have access to licensing services like Creative Commons.
Literary and poetic work is meant to be shared and to be accessible, for that reason innovating is necessary, but there are conventions and respects for authorship in place, which take cognisance of the rights of ownership to original works. Some issues in the GBS row which were not fully discussed were concerned in the area of pictorial, collaborative translation, and forewords! A book or piece of digital-work does not come in snippets and it is really up to the author if they wish snippets to be made available to online communities. Using CC is one way of doing so.
Libraries are mostly works of collaboration and are already digitising at that level !
The ideality of a library making original works available online is a wonderful one in many ways, everyone has seen how vulnerable libraries are to attack, to cuts and to censorship. The idea of building up a digital library should be based in the highest understanding of the merits of literary and artistic works, and to the best in copyright law which takes cognisance of the author’s rights to ownership. This would mean involving authors at a level of understanding which is evinced in my first link above, to the Poetry Foundation.
Code of Best practices in Fair-use for Poetry, Centre for Social-media.
“Poetry is more than a body of writings or a typology of forms; first and foremost, it is an evolving set of practices that engage, and are engaged by, the creative work of others. During the extensive conversations leading up to this document, a few central themes about poetic practice emerged. The first was that poets generally (though not universally) want their poetry to be as widely available to potential audiences as possible, both during their lifetimes and beyond. However, poets, especially those not working in and for new media formats, expressed anxiety about how new media might affect their ability to make money from their work and to establish and advance academic careers. And they were concerned about the ease with which new media enable others to distribute and alter their poems without permission. At the same time, poets urgently expressed their need to use material derived from the poems of others (including twentieth and twenty-first-century writers) in their own work, and their desire to do so in ways that were both ethically and legally appropriate.”
Poetry Ireland Discussion Doc. on The Google Book Settlement (GBS)
“To spread awareness about the Google Book Settlement, Poetry Ireland and the Irish Copyright Licencing Agency have joined resources to provide rights-holders with the most up-to-date, unbiased, and clear-cut information available.*
A number of seminars on the settlement have taken place around the country. One of the most important messages that emerged from these meetings was that whether or not the settlement stands, digital publishing is part of the future, and similar digitalization projects are in progress. Rights-holders need to decide how to deal with Google and other such projects.
With the advice and help of Samantha Holman (Director of ICLA), Poetry Ireland has put together a compact, but in no way comprehensive, fact-sheet on the settlement.”
You may want to begin at the end: the last page is a very useful set of questions that should help to put the dizzying complexities of the settlement into perspective and will direct rights-holders on what their next steps may be.
March 22nd Judgement on Google Books Settlement digitisation.
“While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far. It would permit this class action – – which was brought against defendant Google Inc. (“GoogleI1) to challenge its scanning of books and display of “snippets” for on-line searching – – to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire -2-books, without permission of the copyright owners. Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.”