Monthly Archives: November 2008

Ten Blessings

At Thanksgiving, it is customary to take stock of the past year and think about those things for which you are grateful.  It is particularly important this year, during a time of serious upheaval for our country and for many individuals.  Thus, I will attempt to enumerate some of the many blessings that I have received over the past year.

First, I am grateful to have been able to share a traditional family thanksgiving feast with my dear sister-in-law Sharon and her family.

Thanks to the miracle of video chat,  I was able to virtually “visit” on Thanksgiving with my daughter Andy, who is teaching school in Haiti, and my daughter Lindsay, who lives on the West Coast.  My other daughters Carrie and Meredith were at the table.

Carrie is thriving in San Francisco, where she is working at as a legal assistant at a large law firm, and applying to law schools for next year. 

Meredith is following her passion for the preparation of food  into a career in organic gardening and will begin an intensive course in animal husbandry and “slow food” in January.

I am proud to have two sons serving in the military, and grateful that James, a Marine with the 24th MEU, returned safely from his first deployment to Afghanistan.  I am also happy and proud that my son Alex was “selected” for training as a Medic in the Army Special Forces, and that he has brought Alicia into our family as his partner in his many adventures.

Shortly after James’ return from Afghanistan, our family grew with the addition of Veronica, who James wed on November 8th.  I can’t imagine anything better than getting a new daughter!  Welcome to the family, Veronica.

We were also blessed to welcome two babies into the family this year.  Our granddaughter Alden was born to Matthew and Robbi in March, and our grandson Orin was born to Lindsay and Casey in May.

Ori

Ori

I was able to be present at Ori’s birth, and to see him grow and change every day for more than four months, because Lindsay and Casey decided to come east to become parents, arriving in early April (with a menagerie of animals that included three large dogs)  and living with us for six months.  (Dean says to add that while we miss Casey, Lindsay, and Ori, he is grateful that the dogs are now back on the west coast.)

I am most fortunate that my parents are both alive and living independently in Georgia.  They are both in their eighties, but have a rich life and a large circle of friends.   I am looking forward to visiting with them in a couple of weeks.

I am grateful to Phillips Academy for granting me a sabbatical this fall and next spring.  It enabled me to travel, to take some excellent bike rides, and to immerse myself in the study of copyright law.

Most of all, I am grateful to my friend and beloved partner, Dean, for sharing all of these excellent adventures with me over the past year, and for being my greatest blessing.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Implications for Libraries of the Google Book Project Settlement

On October 28 a settlement was announced in the class-action copyright infringement suit brought against Google by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. The settlement applies only to books published before January 5, 2009.  It has not yet been approved by the presiding judge in the US District Court in New York, but early indications are that the settlement will be approved.  Since 2004, Google has scanned the full text of millions of books in the collections of its partner libraries and has enabled users to freely search the Google Books database. Books in the public domain are presented in full.  Books under copyright are represented by small snipets of text which include the search terms.  The suit contended that Google’s practice was a violation of copyright.  Google claimed that the scanning and presentation of material constituted “fair use.” Continue reading

Biking in the Keys

For the past week Dean and I have been in the Florida Keys, riding our bikes as part of a group called Bubbafest. Bubba is a real person, a former policeman who now provides “pampering service” on state bike rides.  Having gotten to know him on Cycle North Carolina, we decided to sign up for his Keys Ride, billed as “Seven Days, 41 bridges, 200 miles”.  Bubba’s motto is “It’s all good.”  It was. Continue reading

An early Thanksgiving

Today we are grateful for two small miracles.  Our son James, who joined the US Marines in February, 2007, has just returned safely from his deployment to Afghanistan with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

When James came home last week, he brought a young woman with him, who he introduced to us as his finance.  This morning, we were present at the joyful celebration of the marriage of James and Veronica.  Welcome to the family, Veronica!

Not so fast

Recently, I wrote about the historic settlement reached last week in the class-action suit against Google brought by the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers.  On balance, I have reservations about the terms of the settlement.  However, I have decided to adopt a “wait and see” attitude, since it is clear that the fat lady has not yet sung, and that the eventual terms of the settlement might bear scant resemblance to that agreed to by the parties. Continue reading

Celebration

Barack Obama acceptance speech

Barack Obama's acceptance speech

I awoke very early this morning, and, as has been my habit during my sabbatical, I spent the first hour with a cup of coffee and the (print!) New York Times.  But this morning was different.  The decisive election of Barack Obama as our 44th president signals that in many essential ways, this country has finally come of age.   I am emotionally drained after nearly two years of closely following the presidential campaign, and I read the post-mortems paper (and later in my favorite online news sites, including The Daily Beast) with a box of tissue at the ready.

For the first time in a long time, I can say without reservation that I am proud of my country.  I am proud to be an American.  I am also really proud of my state of Massachusetts.  I had been afraid that the current economic troubles would lead to the adoption of Proposition 1, which would have eliminated our state income tax.  But 70% of my fellow citizens voted with me, against our own narrow self-interest, against a plan that would have had ruinous consequences for public services in the state. Continue reading

Getting Permission

It is a safe assumption that not under the copyright law we will sometimes have to request (and pay for) permission to use materials in support of teaching.  (Even though, interestingly, Georgia State University seems to be arguing that ALL educational use inside a CMS is fair use in defense of the copyright infringement lawsuit brought against it by three academic publishers. ) A few years ago the OWHL developed an algorithm for identifying when it is necessary for us to obtain permissions to use copyrighted materials in teaching, which involves eliminating those materials that are in the public domain, made available through Creative Commons or similar licenses, included among the tens of thousands of electronic resources licensed by the library, or covered under “fair use.” Continue reading