April 11th, 2012


Balance in Copyright

my_partner_doug pointed me to this article about copyright.  It argues that the original intent of copyright was to protect the public interest, not the interest of the author.  Current interpretation is to protect the copyright holder (who is often not the author). 

In my observation, balance is necessary for sustainable function: I believe we need a rights management system that protects both  the creator of the material and the general public.  I further believe that people do  have a natural right to their work, which ought to be respected, and that they should be protected from manipulative business practices that rob them of the benefits of their work.  Because otherwise?  Many people will do less work.  They may decide not to share it -- or they may decide to fling it outside the bounds of the market.  And since their labor is not respected, they're less likely to respect the work of others and more likely to treat it as shabbily as their own is treated; in other words, they see nothing wrong with taking for free what is supposed to be sold.  None of that is particularly good for creators or  the general public.

A healthy society is based on mutual respect and cooperation.  A healthy economy is based on equitable exchanges of value for goods and services.  When only the benefit of one side is considered, or is privileged above the other, the healthy process tends to break down.  If you want your society to continue in something resembling its current form, you must make sure that it's healthy and sustainable -- because if it's not, it will either collapse under the weight of its incompetence or be torn apart by people who want something that actually works.

Phrasing in Poetry

Here's an article about phrasing in poetry, with attention to grammar.

My stance, as a writer and reader and editor of poetry, is that in this form of literature the language is fluid.  All rules may be broken in pursuit of expression.  The catch is that the poem still has to work.  If breaking the rules makes the poem less clear and/or less engaging to the reader, that's a flaw.  Same for following the rules.

That odd little thing the author is griping about?  It expresses a concept that English grammar doesn't support in standard format.  It's a half-step between simultaneous and sequential action, with a particular flavor of compression.  I use it -- when I want that exact effect in the flow of the action.  I've also seen people overuse it, and I suspect they've picked it up because they've seen it somewhere without necessarily realizing its precise purpose.  Then again, someone else may have their own interpretation of how it works and what it's for.

Don't use a quirky technique unless you need it; but when you do, don't let people talk you out of it.  Grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation -- those are all just means to an end, communication.  If they don't do what you need straight out of the box, you can rearrange them as necessary.

Steamsmith Vocabulary

This is a bonus perk for the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $400 mark and setting a new record in donations.  I finally polished up one of the Steamsmith extras to where it's suitable for public viewing.

The Steamsmith series of poems contains a lot of terms particular to nether-Earth and the science of alchemy on which so much of the technology is based.  A majority of the foreign words come from Greek, where most of Europe's alchemy began.  Materials or concepts developed primarily in other cultures often maintain the original language such as Arabic or Chinese.  The vocabulary list is presented here to further the audience's enjoyment and understanding of the series, which may be found through the Serial Poetry page.

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Hard Things

Life is full of things which are hard or tedious or otherwise unpleasant that need doing anyhow. They help make the world go 'round, they improve skills, and they boost your sense of self-respect. But doing them still kinda sucks. It's all the more difficult to do those things when nobody appreciates it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our accomplishments and pat each other on the back.

What are some of the hard things you've done recently?