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May 1991


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 1 May 91 19:38:17 CDT
Resent-From: Jeremy Butler <JBUTLER@UA1VM> Originally-From: Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear <[log in to unmask]>
Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear <EDITORS@BROWNVM>
text/plain (133 lines)
Here's a (the beginnings of a?) copyright discussion going on over on
the HUMANIST list.  I thought it was close enough to our SCREEN-L's
discussion of the Kinko's case to warrant distribution here.
Does anyone know of screen-oriented e-texts out there?
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1302. Tuesday, 30 Apr 1991.
(1)   Date:     Sat, 27 Apr 91 15:32:10 LCL                   (39 lines)
      From:     "Dana Cartwright, Syracuse Univ," <DECARTWR@SUVM>
      Subject:  Copyright
(2)   Date:     Sat, 27 Apr 91 16:13:07 -0400                 (73 lines)
      From:     Joel Goldfield <[log in to unmask]>
      Subject:  Copyright discussion
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:         Sat, 27 Apr 91 15:32:10 LCL
From:         "Dana Cartwright, Syracuse Univ, 315-443-4504" <DECARTWR@SUVM>
Subject:      Copyright
Roy Flannagan raises the subject of copyright again.  On the one hand, it
has been discussed at length.  On the other, it is hardly a resolved
issue, and surely is important to all of us.
The US Congress is at present interested (again!) in this subject.  Last
year the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA, an arm of the US Congress
which studies technologies and reports to the Congress, with the intent
of having the members make informed decisions) was asked to study it in
the context of computer software...members of Congress being concerned
that the United States, once the dominant player in software, is losing
market share to other countries.  And the advent of the EC (1992) will
probably affect the software industry and markets in the US.
Among other things, OTA assembled a panel of interested people,
representing various segments of the industry.  About 1/3 of the members
are faculty or administrators from major US universities.  I happen to
be one such.
The panel has met twice (once last fall, once just a month or so ago).
OTA expects to issue a final report to Congress sometime this year.
The relevance of all this to Humanist members is unclear to me.
Certainly OTA is studying software rather than texts.  However, the
study has widened to include databases, including databases of texts.
I have found the past discussions on Humanist helpful, as they have
provided real-life examples of problems besetting scholars.  And the
international flavor of Humanist helps too, because copyright is an
international issue (this is very clear when speaking with the OTA staff
and with the Washington legal folks).
So one reason for carrying on discussion of copyright on Humanist is that
it does potentially influence, in some small way, what happens to us
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:  Sat, 27 Apr 91 16:13:07 -0400
From:  Joel Goldfield <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:  Copyright discussion
Inspired by Roy Flannagan's recent HUMANIST contribution, let me stoke
the fire a bit with the following queries and comments.
How much chaos would we create if we really did organize a group of
mutually supportive scholars and computing centers focused on providing
e-texts at little cost (shipping & handling), perhaps partially in a
bartering system?  This would be purely for the purpose of scholarly
research and assurance of availability of electronic materials so that
we could verify results in a collegial and not financially burdensome
What role would the Princeton-Rutgers project, the Gutenberg one, NEH,
and other organizations play in this effort?  What will happen when
Xanadu is in operation (or might this be irrelevant to a non-profit
A Colloquium on Computational Approaches to Textual Studies held
recently at the Institute for Academic Technology revealed in the round
table discussion that attitudes had changed somewhat since last year's
meeting where 99% of the attendees agreed that our #1 priority in
computer-assisted textual studies was gaining access to machine-readable
texts.  This year the #1 priority takes this priority for granted, given
all the scanners, effective OCR software, e-text clearinghouses, similar
groups, and for-profit publishing houses with these materials.
This year, people were most concerned with avoiding legal improprieties
in using e-texts to reach their scholarly goals.  Appropriate legal
concern is to be praised.  Nonetheless, several attendees noted that
some of the best resource groups--publishing houses and
clearinghouses--impose onerous restrictions on the use of their
materials.  Two of these are ARTFL and the InaLF ("Frantext," etc.),
because of agreements with a government and/or publishing unions.  There
is great concern in France that its literary "patrimoine" might be
circulated beyond government control if the information is not
controlled properly, apparently.
The main database, containing 183 million word occurrences, can be
consulted at various stations throughout France as well as in Finland,
Belgium, Portugal, England, Japan and Sweden, mainly in universities.
Access to "Frantext" relies on the STELLA querying system.
Though this remains to be verified by first-hand examination of the
product, the "Frantext" derivative CD-ROM, "DISCOTEXT," contains 400
works of French literature drawn from the 19th and 20th centuries and
will be sold by Hachette starting in the Fall.  The CD-ROM would seem to
be a good resource for scholars who either cannot consult the ARTFL
database (which has a much less robust querying system) nor the INaLF's.
If scholars wanted to run queries other than those available, the CD-ROM
would permit this freer experimentation.
However, according to a highly-placed source in France who should remain
nameless here, the structure of "DISCOTEXT"'s software or that of the
CD-ROM itself prevents scholars from displaying any structured
("reconstructed"?) text.  This means that you can analyze the text
stylo-statistically to your heart's content, but you CANNOT READ IT.  I
imagine that the idea is that scholars should have that publisher's
hardcopy text on a copy holder next to the computer screen to follow the
page indications or whatever.
The sentiment voiced by colleagues in academic seems to indicate that
unless the morass of legal impediments is alleviated and settled
mutually constructively, we're going to hit a brick wall in our research
very soon.  My colleagues' comments seem to indicate that it's looming
awfully visibly just a few meters down the road.
                                Collegially yours,
                                Joel D. Goldfield
                                Fellow in Foreign Langauges
                                Institute for Acad. Technology/UNC-Chapel Hill