Friday, December 29, 2006

Preamble: On Writing, Being Read, and Copyright

My first question to the world: I have no idea what I should do about licensing. Here I plan to write essays on literature, religion, teaching, and other subjects, as well as post my translations of Old English poetry, and I am torn between two principles, and, of course, sub-principles. First I do not want to lend my thoughts to anyone without remuneration, but I know this is selfish. The opposite of course is to give everything I have away freely, but in this too is a little madness--do I disdain myself to the point where I am content as an unknown, writing anonymously and wishing to always be known as such? I do not wish to be anonymous completely, and though it is my pride that tells me this, I listen, knowing that there is sometimes wisdom in dark things. I accept that pride is what motivates me to write, to suggest to the world that a thing that I produce is worth the time to notice, and so I accept the prideful nature of wanting credit, although I deny the idea that credit is due at all points. I ask, but do not demand, because I believe, even if I do not at all times adhere to it, in a polite society, where "demand" is a foreign word when applied anywhere but to the inward self.

But still, I desire first of all things that what I write be read, and what I admire be admired in turn. As my desire is to translate Anglo-Saxon poetry, I find my root belief is in the quality, the originality, the goodness, of Anglo-Saxon poetry. That it cannot be easily read by an audience over a thousand years linguistically removed proves a problem, so I wish to translate it so that it can be read, enjoyed, and savored. I want to make it as easy to find and read as possible--not simple, but as far from inaccessible as can be done. This means that I wish to translate into a modern, contemporary language (although not necessarily a contemporary idiom), but that even more I desire my translation to be easily disseminated. As such, I lean towards Public Domain, which is about as free as free gets, copyright-wise. If I publish on the web in Public Domain, theoretically Dover Thrift, Barnes & Noble books, and even you (if you own a publishing company) could publish what I wrote and not give me one fat nickel, and be legally fine.

So what do I ask? What are the guidelines of this post, and of others on this blog? My authorial mandate is truth and my authorial request is to be recognized. I ask that anything I post be regarded as All Rights Reserved, in accordance with U.S. law, until I note otherwise. I plan that any translations that I produce be a lesser license, possibly even fully Public Domain, but I will note as such in each entry in the header. For now, the bracketed ARR represents that this entry is All Rights Reserved, and any post marked PD will be immediately and permanently public domain.

[6-24-2009 edit--I'm going to rescind on this and remove the bracketed ARR from the title--titles are too serenely simple to muddy with such nonsense. I'll instead use...]
--All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Spike said...

Didn't you hear that thing on NPR? Apparently it's really easy. You could probably find that info on the NPR website, I think...it was on the "Education of Rico" thing.