I Need to Learn to Honk

This morning, as I was coming into work, a person tried to change lanes right into me. I yelled, and swerved, and avoided getting hit. And then like five minutes later, it occurred to me that I should have honked.

But you know, I wish science would look into the feeling you get while driving that a driver is going to do something stupid. Because what saved me, really, is that I was already watching that person closely, because something about the car–which was just a red late model Toyota Camry, nothing strange–pinged my “keep an eye on that car” sense when it came onto Clarksville Pike from the Ashland City road. So, when a half a block later, it tried to enter my lane right where my car was, I was not surprised. I mean, I was surprised, but I already was watching that car for signs of idiocy.

But I’m not sure what about the way the person made that turn tipped me off that there could be a problem.

A Brief Thing about Copyright

I love academics, don’t get me wrong. And I have little fondness for the publishers mentioned in this post. That being said, I feel like academics need to start having serious conversations about copyright and other kinds of licensing options, like, say, creative commons amongst themselves, before they start complaining and writing letters to publishers about how it somehow should just be obvious when publishers should enforce copyright and when they should not.


If you want your materials to be made available in emerging markets in clear violation of copyright, then you need to either specify that kind of exception in your contract or arrange some other kind of intellectual property rights agreement with your press.

I know of an author–a first-time author–who wanted his book, which is on teaching students to write using wikis, to be able to be uploaded and dissected and transformed by said students on said wikis and he wanted tech people to feel confident that they could reproduce whole chunks in efforts to either spread what he was doing or rail against it.

You know whose book the publisher doesn’t fret about when students copy it for a course pack? His. Why? Because he told them in the contract not to.

But this idea that you sign a contract with a publisher full of stuff all about the copyright arrangements between you and then you complain publicly when copyright is enforced? It’s idiotic.

It’s also idiotic to frame it in terms of money. The issue here isn’t whether you’re getting cheated out of some tiny amount of royalties. It’s whether your intellectual property rights are being protected the way everyone’s agreed they should be.

(Also, in today’s world, it’s quite easy to provide coursepacks for students that are affordable and ensure everyone is happy.)