Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves – In the Library with the Lead Pipe:

Vocational awe describes the set of ideas, values, and assumptions librarians have about themselves and the profession that result in notions that libraries as institutions are inherently good, sacred notions, and therefore beyond critique. I argue that the concept of vocational awe directly correlates to problems within librarianship like burnout and low salary.

I think I’ve seen and felt a lot of vocational awe in the teaching profession as well. I imagine it’s true for a lot of other more “idealistic” jobs too.

Coyote vs Acme and the blockbusters that may never be seen

…if Coyote vs Acme was finished, why not release it, anyway? The answer, apparently, is that distributing and promoting a film adds so much to the overall cost that it is hard for it to make a profit. It can be cheaper for a studio to dismiss the film as a “tax write-down”, and claw back millions of dollars. But the strategy is only legal if the film is never shown. Effectively, it has to cease to exist.

Films, it seems, are no longer being seen as works of art – or even as pieces of entertainment. They are being seen as items on a balance sheet, minor details in a global corporate strategy, and small components in a portfolio of intellectual property.

Reminder that large entertainment conglomerates are not your friend.

…the only way I can understand Rodriguez’s incredibly thin-skinned reaction to my article is that he has managed to rise to this status of apex visibility without any kind of critical writing about him at all. It’s all just been feel-good profiles, so that the first critical word feels like a huge crisis. That’s a relatively new kind of situation for an artist to be in, and worth analyzing.

The music business used to be characterised by artists disappearing into the studio for months on end and emerging with an album for expectant fans to get their hands on at some time in the future…Streaming and social media combined to turn that model on its head, heralding the era of the always-on artist. Now, artists fear the consequences of not putting out a single every month.

(English version follows | Angla versio sekvas)

[La interna ideo estas ke] sur neŭtrala lingva fundamento forigi la murojn inter la gentoj kaj alkutimigadi la homojn, ke ĉiu el ili vidu en sia proksimulo nur homon kaj fraton. Ĉio, kio estas super tiu interna ideo de Esperanto, estas nur privataĵo, kiu povas eble esti bazita sur tiu ideo, sed neniam devas esti rigardata kiel identa kun ĝi.

Ĉio cifereca kion oni kreas en Esperanton estu senpaga kaj libere kopiebla, speciale en la epoko de la interreto. Estas tiom multe da bonaj esperantaj rimedoj (libroj, kantoj, tradukoj, lerniloj, kulturaĵoj, kaj tiel plu) kiuj oni ne rajtas kunhavigi ĉar ili estas “protektata” pro kopirajto. Sed kunhavigi alian kopion ne havas koston, kaj kunhavigi alian kopion ne forigas kopion de alia, do kontraŭ kio kopirajto protektas ciferecan verkon?

Ĉi tiu kredo ne instigas ke homoj ne povus esti pagata por laboro por esperanto, tio estas ke se oni estas esperanta guvernisto aŭ organizanto aŭ verkisto aŭ muzikisto kaj tiel plu, nur ke verkoj kiuj povas esti kopiata ne havu protekton kontraŭ kopiado.

Ĉi tiu kredo ankaŭ ne signifas ke oni ne povas vendi konkretajn esperantaĵojn (tio estas libroj, kompaktaj diskoj, artaĵoj, kaj tiel plu).

Ĉi tiu kredo ankaŭ ne instigas ke oni povas alproprigi la verkojn de aliaj aŭ ke homoj perdu sian statuson kiel originala verkisto.

Ke tiu ĉi kredo estas “super” la interna ideo mi ne kredas. Ĝi estas bazita sur la ideo, kaj celas helpi ĝin. Esperanto celas forigi la murojn inter la gentoj; kopirajto (de ciferecaj esperantaj verkoj) celas teni tiujn murojn.

Copyright is against the internal idea of Esperanto

[The internal idea is that] on the foundation of a neutral language remove the barries between peoples and accustom people that everyone from their point of view is a person and brother. Everything that is above this internal idea of Esperanto, is merely a private matter, which can possibly be based on this idea, but never should be regarded as identical to it.

Everything digital that one creates in Esperanto should be without cost and freely copiable, especially in the internet age. There are so many good esperanto resources (books, songs, translations, learning materials, cultural works, etc) which one isn’t able to share because they are “protected” because of copyright. But to share another copy doesn’t have a cost, and to share another copy doesn’t delete another’s copy, so what is copyright protecting digital work from?

This belief doesn’t mean that people can’t be paid for their Esperanto work, that is that if one is an Esperanto tutor or organizer or author or musician etc, only that works that can be copied shouldn’t have protection against copying.

This belief also doesn’t mean that people can’t sell physical esperanto works (that is books, CDs, works of art, etc).

This belief also deson’t mean that one can appropriate works from others or that people should lose their status as the original author.

I don’t believe that this belief is above the internal idea. It is based on the idea and aims to help it. Esperanto aims to remove the walls between peoples; copyright (of digital works) aims to maintain those walls.


From Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free by Cory Doctorow

In the creative arts, though, the lack of any reasonable marketplace for one’s “product” is rarely a good enough reason to give up on it. Look at poetry (to name just one field): there was never much of a market for poetry, and today the market is as bad as ever. There’s practically no commercial poetry. But today, more poetry is being written than ever before. People spend real, folding money to learn to write better poetry. They devote hours and days and weeks of their lives to it. They are driven by it. In many cases, they can’t stop…Humans seem to make art reflexively.

This is an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while now. While Copyright may have worked well enough in the era of its creation, it is so far behind the current state of the world.

[In the 1986 movie “Back to School” by Rodney Dangerfield], Professor Philip Barbay…explains that they’ll spend the semester creating and running a fictional manufacturing company. “What’s the product?” asks the pragmatic Melon, who won’t let the point drop. “Let’s just say they’re widgets,” snaps the professor. “What’s a widget?” asks Melon. “It’s a fictional product,” Barbay replies. “It doesn’t matter.”

At some point a few years back, an unholy union of like-minded tech bros, studio suits, media water-carriers and social media personalities settled on their own “widget,” a catchall phrase that would both encompass and minimize the various forms of entertainment they touch: “content.”
But studio and streaming executives, who are perhaps the primary users and abusers of the term, love to talk about “content” because it’s so wildly diminutive. It’s a quick and easy way to minimize what writers, directors and actors do, to act as though entertainment (or, dare I say it, art) is simply churned out — and could be churned out by anyone, sentient or not. It’s just content, it’s just widgets, it’s all grist for the mill.

LibGen’s massive infringement completely undermines the incentive for creation and the rights of authors…

The idea that copyright infringement somehow inhibits people from producing creative work always seemed ridiculous to me.  People have a desire to create and make regardless of whether their work might be pirated.

People were still writing books before copyright law was established, and they continue to write books in an age of digital piracy (early copyright laws only applied to books before covering other creative works).

This remains true even in other disciplines.  Was there a decrease in the amount of music produced during the Napster era? No, because having exclusive copyright of one’s work isn’t actually the motivational tool large corporations think it is for artists.

Modern copyright law and its enforcement is a tool to extract as much monetary value from art for large corporations rather than the creators themselves, as demonstrated by the fraction of a cent that artists make on legal streaming platforms that are supposed to help them.