The 50th Anniversary Celebration

I can only blame it on the fact that I was feeling lousy – still feeling lousy, actually – that I forgot until Friday night that Friday was ten years since my parents’ 50th anniversary. It would be their last one.

My sisters and I decided to surprise them for the event. We called their church, trying to arrange for a room. There was only one problem; someone else wanted the room for the same day. This was months before the date; couldn’t the other party change the date? This is our parents’ 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Well, no, because the other party, it turned out, was our father, wanted to have a surprise gig for our mom himself. So we decided to join forces.

I came down with my wife and my parents-in-law, who had met my parents at Carol’s and my wedding only the May before, when my father did all the decorations and floral arranging. We all wanted to help, and did somewhat, but he had a vision, and it was difficult for us mortals to fulfill it in the way he had in mind. So he did most of the church hall decoration himself, with my sister Leslie’s help since she had worked with him on these types of things decades earlier. The rest of us did some of the heavy lifting. The difference between this event and the wedding ten months earlier was that my father had to rest occasionally, maybe more than occasionally.

Sunday, March 12, 2000, we all went to church, diverting our mother from the building’s assembly hall. We attended the church service, during which a peculiar thing happened: my parents were invited to renew their vows. I don’t know if my father knew about this, but my mother, my sisters and I certainly did not. I think my sisters and I gulped a bit. Would she actually say yes? My father could be…well, let’s say, five decades of marriage always has its complications. There was what seemed to be an interminable pause before she replied in the affirmative.

Afterward, we had the party. There was singing and tributes from various folks. My sisters and I had put together one of those video montages of photos that ran throughout the event.

The next day, the wife, the in-laws and I went home. Well not quite home. We left Charlotte at 6 a.m.. got to the in-laws’ house in Oneonta, NY, 715 miles away, at 9 p.m. and just crashed.

What had been a family tradition was to get a family photo every time the Greens got together if it had been a while. The last one we sat for was on their anniversary in 1995, but for some obscure reason – probably the contentiousness of that day (but that’s another story) – we didn’t in 2000. Since my father died that August 10 from prostate cancer, the lack of the family photo became one of those “coulda, shoulda” things in the family lore.

ROG

November Ramblin’

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about a couple recent podcasts by Arthur at AmeriNZ dealing with the topic, broadly stated: “Are online relationships ‘real’?” I was talking over these podcasts with a couple guys I see on the bus each evening. One suggests that if the relationship generates an action from the other person, then it is a relationship.

Of course, it could be a one-sided relationship. Let’s say you were following Ashton Kutcher on on Twitter and retweeted all of his best lines; unless Ashton reciprocated, it would really be much of a story. But when you are motivated to take some action, and they respond in kind, then certainly, some real human interaction is taking place. I see an article that I believe – because I listen to his podcast, read his blog – that Arthur would interested in for its content. And as often as not, Arthur acknowledges that in some way.

Here’s the odd thing I experienced this fall. There’s a guy in my office. He’s a perfectly nice person. Someone sent out an e-mail asking if we wanted to contribute to a wedding gift. Oh, he’s been engaged? Really? I had no idea. Now this guy sits about 20 feet from my desk, lives (somewhere) in my neighborhood. I say hi to him but I don’t know anything about him, or he much about me, I suspect.

Whereas I know about Scott’s sons, Nigel and new baby Ian, and Greg’s daughters, Norah and Mia; they in turn know a bit about Lydia. I know more about Scott and Greg, and more importantly, interact with them more substantially, than I do the woman who I see on the bus every evening.
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Wednesday, the wife had a follow-up oral surgery. After the ordeal last year, it seems that six of her lower teeth didn’t have enough gum cover for six of her lower teeth. Without gums, the teeth could rot and fall out. So tissue was removed from one part of her mouth to create gum tissue. She’s recovering amazingly well. The in-laws came to our house this year to help Carol and to celebrate Thanksgiving, which was fine.
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I was doing research at work a couple months back, when I came across some New York State law:

EDN – Education
Article 17 – INSTRUCTION IN CERTAIN SUBJECTS
801 – Courses of instruction in patriotism and citizenship and in certain historic documents
§ 801. Courses of instruction in patriotism and citizenship and in certain historic documents. 1. In order to promote a spirit of patriotic and civic service and obligation and to foster in the children of the state moral and intellectual qualities which are essential in preparing to meet the obligations of citizenship in peace or in war, the regents of The University of the State of New York shall prescribe courses of instruction in patriotism, citizenship, and human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery (including the freedom trail and underground railroad), the Holocaust, and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850, to be maintained and followed in all the schools of the state. The boards of education and trustees of the several cities and school districts of the state shall require instruction to be given in such courses, by the teachers employed in the schools therein. All pupils attending such schools, over the age of eight years, shall attend upon such instruction.

I did not know that. Surely, this is law that must have been passed long after I attended school – though it seemed we did seem to spend a lot of time on the Irish potato famine. Just found it interesting and can only imagine certain people making political hay over it.
***
The bitter tears of Johnny Cash. The untold story of Johnny Cash, protest singer and Native American activist, and his feud with the music industry
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Caring for Your Photographic Collections.
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Hen House Five Plus Two’s In the Mood actually Ray Stevens, the song that first informed me that all music can be done in chicken. The beginning of The Muppets’ Bohemian Rhapsody was a reminder of same.
***
Wonderous invention.

ROG

P is for Photography

And now for something completely indulgent. Hey, it’s a blog; by definition it’s indulgent.

One of my sister sent my five -year-old daughter two one-use cameras, and I had no idea what she was photographing. The only instruction I gave her was to use the flash when she was inside. This is what she came up with, and I didn’t alter them in any way:


These first three items I believe are gifts she received for her birthday.


The ballerina costume – on the floor?


Most of her plushes have very unimaginative names. This is Unoicorn; I blame the TV shows Little Bear and Franklin, where most of the characters have likewise boring nomenclatures.


No Imelda Marcos here.


Not only did she take the picture, she laid out the blanket and arranged the subjects.


Difficult to tell here, but the piece on the right is a piece of her artwork; the item on the left is 1000 years of British monarchies.


Do all only children refer to their stuffed creatures as their sisters?


Chomper


I’m assuming this is the ABC-TV program Dancing with the Stars. I don’t watch it; the child watches it with the wife.


Deerie. (Not to be confused with the late Blossom Dearie.)


There are a whole bunch of self-portraits. Lot of them are just strange mixes of colors. She also took some headless photos of her mother, and one of my back.


I took this one: the photographer.
***
Ringo Starr – Photograph, written by George Harrison and Ringo Starr.



ROG

Fair use

If you follow the comic book blogs, there’s been a war of words over whether the demise of Scans Daily, which showed some comic book pages and commented on them, is a defeat for the comic book consumer or a victory for the comic book creator. (You can read about it lots of places – I’m picking the narrative by Gordon because his narrative is short, concise, not vitriolic – and because today is his birthday.)

All of the articles I’ve seen make use of the term “fair use”. I’ve copied the copyright page brochure on fair use, which I’m going to use in its entirety without concern, because it’s a federal government website and stuff produced by the federal government, with rare exceptions, cannot be copyrighted. The Boston Globe famously published the Declaration of Independence on July 4 a few years back and slapped on a (c) Boston Globe; nice try, that.

But, first, here’s the core paragraph:
The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

“Not easily defined.” That means that, short of taking a recent book, pulling off the cover, and re-covering it as one’s own, it just ain’t that easy.

One of the rights accorded to the owner of the copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the Copyright Act (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” Although fair use was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years. This doctrine has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, which is what Scans Daily was claiming to do, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:
1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

In other words, if I use your copyrighted item, will I be profiting from it financially?
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
Here’s an example. If I find a photograph of a cover of a record album and use it, there’s enough law out there that says that I’m PROBABLY safe. That is UNLESS that photo is “transformative” and captures the album cover in a new and artistic way.
3. amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
As librarians, we struggle with this all the time. A couple of pages is OK; a whole chapter? Well, how many chapters ARE there?
and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

In other words, if I use your copyrighted item, will you be suffering from it financially? It seems that the courts have leaned heavily on this fourth point in determining whether it’s “fair use”.

The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.
In my first year doing this blog, I did a series of pieces about a book by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon in which comic strips were done with a supposed African-American perspective. It was difficult to explain without showing specific examples. So I ended up actually showing about one panel in four. I felt a bit easier about this because, as far as I can ascertain, the book is out of print; certainly, I’ve never seen it on Amazon. Did I make the “right” decision concerning copyright? I dunno.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied;
Parody, the stock in trade of MAD magazine, e.g., is a huge one, not previously mentioned.
summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy;
As a matter of fact, our library HAS done this, rarely.
reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson;
Elsewhere in copyright law, there’s the mention of “spontaneity”. Let’s say you’re a teacher and you happen across an article in a magazine you thought would illustrate the lesson plan. You might make the case for making 20 copies of the article. Say, though, it’s next semester; deciding to copy that same article would hardly be considered spontaneous.
reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.
So a second book on the same historical event as the first is not in violation of copyright unless the second book substantially lifts the WORDS used to describe the event.

The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.
I was surprised to get in a discussion with a librarian about the AP copyright infringement case over Obama’s image. She thought Shepard Fairey should have sought permission from the AP to use the picture. I, having worked with artists, tend to see the work as transformative, tend to side with Fairey. (She also thinks Fairey is arrogant, which is probably true, but irrelevant.) I suspect it would be less of an issue had Fairey not been making lots of money from the image.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation.
Except that this document has already stated that when fair use would “clearly apply” does not exist.
The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.
Thus keeping attorneys employed for another generation.

ROG