Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Creative commons

Once again, I'm noting items that I will want to look at myself again, and at the same time sharing with any readers this blog might have (more, I hope, than the two who have declared themselves!).  This article reports the arrival of creative commons licensing in Singapore, and includes a handy summary of what CC is all about.

It also contains a nice quote: “For him that stealeth or borroweth and returneth not this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.” I'd prescribe the same justice for the students who used to tear out pages from the law reports or journals, presumably to prevent their classmates having access to them, a practice which appalled me when I discovered it (how naive I was) back in the days when I taught at a decidedly third-rate university.  (I was also appalled at colleagues who gave students long reading lists comprising articles in copies of journals they had taken out of the library, invoking staff privilege, and failed to return: when I remonstrated with one, she shrugged and remarked "life's a bitch".)

Actually, there's more to the quote than that, and the source (all this according to the result of a Google search, so it must be true) is so ancient and anonymous that no copyright (inclduding moral right) considerations arise (although the translator might have somethng to say about that):

For him that stealeth,or borroweth and returneth not,this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.
Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted.
Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to this agony till he sing in dissolution.
Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his last punishment, let the flames of hell consume him for ever.

Curse on book thieves, from the monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain.

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