In my book review essay last week (the full version rather than the cut down submission) I was writing about what McKenzie Walk terms the vectorist industries (those entities, be they corporate or powerful individuals) who control the vectors of communication. I rather like the term as opposed to the rather more politically loaded capitalist – I mean, according to Gov UK, greed is good…sorry, capitalism is good for economy. You know the sort of corporations that make up the vectorists, the big multinational media empires for one, academic publishers etc. The kind of folks who demonize piracy because it is EVIL, while of course everything they do is above board, ship shape and Bristol fashion (to continue their nautical metaphor).
Which is why it always amuses me when the mask slips – as it as in the case of JoCo and Glee in the past week. Reflexivity moment here – I’m a fan of both Jonathan Coulton and Glee (though I stopped watching it a while back when it got a bit too repetitive . Some time ago JoCo did a cover of the song Baby Got Back, along with a new melody; hence a derivative work and under the US 1st amendment for free expression and parody a permitted act. Now we have Glee covering this song, with a melody that pretty much sounds the same. Both sell the track for cash, but Glee is a product of a huge vectorist industry, and JoCo a niche geek parody song writer and musician (all be it an especially gifted one). Now this is pretty much a performance of a work, rather than a derivative work – so surely you’d think there’d be an acknowledgement, credit and payment. Oh no, in this case the stated vectorist position is that a cover of a cover is pretty much fair game to use, almost as if it’s shorn of anything like the copyright that they’d so tenaciously defend if the reverse is true. If what I’ve read is true from their response it does rather smack of Big Corporate telling the little people “Everything you produce is in the commons for us to exploit. Everything we produce is ours for you to purchase.”
I’ve somewhat simplified the issues above (not being an expert on US (c) law) but all the same I’ll be following the debate that comes out of this, to see where it all ends up. JoCo is someone with a lot of allies among the free culture movement, so I would be surprised if it just goes away quietly.
Spent the day reading a few papers (which made a nice change) and then got back on with editing my brief RPC version of the research proposal. Only need to cut 50% of the words to make it fit within the 1,000 word limit. *sigh*
Elsewhere I see that some scholarly societies have finally decided that open access might be a threat to their funding stream. As one of my old bosses used to say, “These societies were set up to promote their members’ profession. Overtime they started using their journal income to prop themselves up and in order to keep their membership fees down. Now they’ve backed themselves into a corner and need people to buy their journals to keep themselves afloat.” Less an attack on academic freedoms, more a need for societies to diversify their economic base perhaps? I know there are quite a few societies that are doing just that, but given the focus the government has been making on OA being about “Science!”, I can’t say I’m shocked that non-STEM societies might feel themselves backed into a corner.
Woke up feeling a bit groggy this morning, suspect I might be coming down a cold. Bad news in some respects as I hate having to waste days sitting there feeling snotty and sorry for myself, but good news in that this could be the first cold I’ve had since I became a student again. Makes a change from working in a library where I’d come down with easily two or three colds a term on average, and sometimes more (due to the constant traffic flow of students with germs, and yet management always wondered why the sick rates were so high – duh!). So the plans for the day will be editing of the short form research proposal as much as I can, and if I hit a point where my brain is just too fogged, I’ll call it quits and crawl into bed/hot bath and hope for the best.
[Later] Well if it was a cold it went away rapidly, so I’ll chalk it up to incomplete night’s sleep. Today as planned I edited away on the short-form proposal, had a brief chat on the course discussion boards on the topic of word counts (still 400 over but think I can sort that tomorrow AM), a longer chat on twitter about various things, got a mention on the Simon Mayo radio show after being ambushed by the chickens and pushed in the mud and had just wrapped up things when Mrs Llama returned from her day out (first job interview of the week – there’s another one on Thursday!).
Oh, and this week’s post title is inspired by the Carry on… movie series and a throwaway comment I made today. If they were still making the films today I dare say Carry on Editing would be right up there with Carry on England in terms of laugh potentially. Those of you who’ve seen that film will know exactly what I mean.
A few hours bringing the short-form research proposal to the very edge of the word limit finally (although still about 90 words over) before I was off to my double lectures of the week. Sadly the anticipated session on case studies got cancelled and replaced with one looking at writing the short-form research proposal. Something that would have be useful around the start of December, and succeed mainly in giving me loads of concerns that I’m never going to have the short-form or the full proposal in shape. Think I’m hitting the 20% of the 80:20 rule, it’s almost there but this last 80% of the effort to finish it sufficiently is getting to me a bit; so on a bit of a low note this evening.
The session was followed by this week’s philosophy session on Queer Theory and Judith Butler. To be honest I’m unlikely to ever use it, so the session was rather wasted on me. However, some of the things my fellow students said during the session did nearly make my eyebrows pop off! Seems I’m far more reconstructed and politically correct than I thought I was, I blame years of reading The Guardian. So to counter that apparent shocking revelation, it’s time for something totally non-PC on gender identities…
Clearly yesterday was far too exciting for me as I had simply a dreadful night’s sleep where my brain would not quieten down or shut off. Finally got to sleep around the time I normally wake up. Consequently I was not firing on all cylinders today. Which in itself wasn’t too helpful as I had to drive into uni to talk through my proposal with my supervisors. Since I finished it two weeks ago and had focussed on editing down and revising the short-form I had a feeling they’d have a few comments. And they did, seems my logical progression of arguments and overall clarity are rather at a low ebb in it, although they consider the information is all there I just need to make it far clearer and accessible to read. Which rather says to me…(skip to 1min – the embed code is ignoring my request to do that!)
They also said I can stop reading anything much else and just focus on getting this right, which is handy. For once there’s something I don’t have to do, rather than trying to keep all the plates spinning at one.
Came back, lunched and then forced myself through eyes that were desperately wanting to close to write up the meeting notes and share them with Dave and Andreas; just in case I’d got anything arse/tit (technical PhD term there). And then called it a day before I made a big mess of everything and crawled into bed to doze…
Recommended reading for today: a good article on the Jonathan Coulton/Glee issue from earlier in the week by Cory Doctorow in the Guardian.
A more solid night’s sleep last night (6 and a bit whole hours!) means I’m feeling somewhat more human today. First things first – wrote and submitted my non-mandatory, non-credit bearing second philosophy PDP entry. Only 150 words so a quick write and light edit is all it takes. Why did I do it? Am I addicted to feedback? Nah, but I am interested in what Patrick (philosophy course leader) has to say, as this whole area is still so new to me that any and all guidance or thought is rather useful. Also finished transferring across all my book notes from RefWorks onto the NOW (uni VLE) system as a collection. Which means I’ll be able to submit that in a couple of weeks as one of my mandatory, non-credit bearing research practice PDP entries. Hoops, hurdles, obstacles – we’ve got the lot!
In other news despite the activity around the Finch report last year, and a House of Lords inquiry last month (hello February) we’ve now got the BIS Committee having another inquiry. Again all grist for my research analysis down the line.
Spent the day (in between visits from two postmen and two window cleaners – the excitement never stops in my office) working on the methodology section of my research proposal (full fat, RD1PA version). As this has always been the bit that I was most concerned with, I wanted to lick it into shape before tackling the context and rationale parts again. In many respects I know what I want to do, so next week I’ll just have to write about why I should be doing it. For some reasons this backwards logic makes sense to me. It also means I’ll start a new week fresh on the bulk of this that needs to hang together logically, where as the method is a little more standalone. Think I’m almost there with it and on target for my 500 words as well, though one of the words in my research questions just doesn’t seem right to me today; so something to revisit after the weekend.
Yes I am down to worrying about individual words, but as my philosophy course touched on having the right word can mean all the difference in meaning. But that’s it for the week as Mrs Llama has just arrived home so I’ll call it a day and go tidy up my papers downstairs.
And then on Monday, why I’ll…Carry on Editing…