Friday, September 9, 2011

David Orr Wanders into the Tangled Web of Copyright Permissions

In this NY Times Op-Ed, David Orr tells of discovering what anyone who's written a book about the arts in the twentieth century knows—the world of copyright permission licensing is quite a can of worms.  Hmm... I wonder how much of the Op-Ed I'm allowed to quote here without paying for a license from the NY Times:
The difficulty is not so much that the copyright system is restrictive (although it can be), but that no one has any idea exactly how much of a poem can be quoted without payment. Under the “fair use” doctrine, quotation is permitted for criticism and comment, so you’d think this is where a poetry critic could hang his hat. But how much use is fair use?
If you ask publishers, the answer varies — a lot. 
 I'm surprised the words "safe harbor" don't appear in Orr's piece.  He might find Susan Bielstein's book a source of solace, if nothing else...  And he should count his lucky stars he hasn't tried publishing a book about James Joyce.

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