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Archiver > apg > 2009-08 > 1249834984

From: Ray Beere Johnson II <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Tweeting the lecture
Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 09:23:04 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <84F8B349153142DB862173A1145B051E@acer511eba12df>


--- On Sun, 8/9/09, LBoswell <> wrote:

> But Ray with emphasis on this list always turning to copyright issues,
> I think we have to remember that we aren't multi-million dollar
> players, we're genealogy lecturers. Copyright infringement may be
> personally reprehensible but no genealogy lecturer would be able to
> successfully mount a lawsuit based on financial losses due to copyright.

I'm not a lawyer, and copyright law is very tricky, so I won't even try to guess whether or not a lawsuit would succeed. However, if there are lecturers who depend on additional income from repeat lectures, it stands to reason that a certain percentage of the potential audience would find a sufficiently detailed summary of that lecture enough to satisfy their interest.
This is true _even if_ that summary is inaccurate. The important point is not the accuracy of the summary, it is the _public perception_ of the value of that summary. If I _believe_ that I've learned what I wanted to from a summary, I am less likely to pay to attend that lecture.

> Quite the opposite, a good lecturer will tend to be reported
> positively, even if that includes errors and some digital version of
> plagiarism, yet the benefit to that lecturer financially would
> outweight any losses.

I think you're both right and wrong here. Right, in the sense that a good _review_, or even a few tantalising tidbits, might help increase attendance at repeat lectures. Wrong, in the sense that a more _detailed_ summary, one that left the reader with the feeling that "I've learned what I wanted to from that lecture" would tend to decrease later attendance. Certainly, a series of tweets based on the lecture handout, assuming that handout was a good, detailed one, would tend to leave many with that impression.
In a broader sense, "all publicity is good". If a lecturer gets more visibility, more people are likely to think "I've heard of them, so they must be good", and may be more likely to attend another lecture. But the problem here, as I understand it (I am not a lecturer), is that the investment of time and money involved in developing _any_ new lecture must be recouped over _several_ appearances. If this is accurate, then any reporting of a lecture which contained enough detail to reduce attendance at later presentations of that lecture would harm the lecturer - they would then need to develop a _new_ lecture, starting the cycle all over again.

> Instead of seeing these new 'live' options as being dangerous, and
> concentrating on circling the wagons, why not welcome them as
> opportunities to bring more attention to the lecture and the lecturer.

Actually, I think _any_ new technology offers danger _and_ opportunity. _Some_ live options may indeed prove beneficial. What anyone whose interest is at stake must do is four-fold: identify the opportunities, then exploit them, and identify the dangers, then educate the public to discourage them. Publicity is good. Removing the demand for a lecture is bad. There is a balance to be struck there, and I believe that balance may be more easily arrived at by discussion than by ignoring the matter and leaving every individual to flounder on their own.

> If it could be shut down then the more important issue of censorship
> arises. I find it interesting that most genealogists want more open
> access to public (and even private) records, yet are among the first to
> yell "copyright infringement".

Public records are just that, _public_, created using tax dollars. Even the private records we seek access to were nearly always created in the course of doing something else _which our own ancestors paid for_. Funeral homes, for example, were paid and kept records as a part of that business.
Equating this type of record with a lecture, book, or any other creative work an individual laboured over, investing time and money they need to somehow recoup if they are to have the means to continue creating similar works, is a false comparison. And censorship is preventing an individual from saying what _they_ wish - not intervening to prevent them from stealing _another's_ words.
I'm sorry; I totally disagree with you here. If I write a lecture, non-fiction book, a screenplay, a novel, whatever, it is not censorship to demand that I have the sole right to determine who may reproduce and distribute it. There is a fiction author, Lindsey Davis, who sued another author for a _brief mention_ of her series character, Falco. _She won_. It was not censorship. Why? Because _she_, and she alone, worked and developed that character. No one else has a right to use him without her permission.

> I say these new options (and the ones coming down the tube) will change
> the nature of mass communication in ways that open up new opportunities
> for those who are willing to pursue them.

Opportunities? Yes, I agree completely, and I apologise if my earlier message left anyone with the impression there were no opportunities in developing technologies. But there are also challenges - and the only way to take advantage of any opportunity is first to _understand_ it. Just accepting it, and hoping it will work out well for you, is risky. Sometimes it _will_ work out; other times it will not.
It is for that reason that I think this is a discussion anyone with intellectual property rights needs to take part in.
Ray Beere Johnson II

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