[bksvol-discuss] Re: venting my frustrations

  • From: "Gerald Hovas" <geraldhovas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 14:49:52 -0600


I understand that not all books are in the Copyright Office's online
database.  That is why I meant to recommend verifying copyrights through
www.copyright. gov when it's an option.  I had written it that way, but must
have deleted it by accident when editing the message.

I agree that in most instances I would be perfectly comfortable with taking
a volunteer's word that the copyright is what they say it is.  In fact, that
is what Gustavo does nearly every time he sits down to approve books.  There
is no way for him to approve 5000 books in a year if he had to verify every
single copyright on his own rather than taking the volunteer's word for most
books and simply questioning the info which appears to be an instance of
someone filling out the form incorrectly.  In Gustavo's defense, I believe
he's not making that many mistakes when he questions copyright information,
and it is only proper for him to err on the side of caution.

As for what is reasonable proof of copyright, I would say that would depend
on each individual instance and the volunteer who is providing the proof.
In many instances Gustavo will not be familiar with the volunteer and will
require more proof than he might if he is familiar with someones work.  In
the instances where he is very familiar with a person's work, then it might
only require a brief note in the comments stating that they have verified
the copyright with no additional explanation.  In other instances, he might
require a particular volunteer to walk into Bookshare's office and show him
the book which they scanned before he would feel comfortable with approving
their book because he has seen them make to many mistakes with copyright
info for him to take their word that the copyright is correct.
Unfortunately, there are a few volunteers like that out there, and those
volunteers make it more difficult sometimes for the rest of us to get books
approved without going to a little extra effort on our part because it has
become all to obvious to Gustavo that not everyone understands the concept
of copyright notification.

My advice is to always include a note in the Comment field when the
copyright isn't held by the author.  Doing so informs Gustavo that you are
aware of the information you have entered.  However, that doesn't address
the issue that you understand how to properly identify a copyright holder.
Adding additional information about how you verified the copyright helps him
know that you understand the difference between copyright holders, titles,
and  publishers.  The reason I recommend verifying copyrights through
www.copyright.gov when possible and informing him when you do so is because
it allows Gustavo to easily verify the copyright independently on his own if
he wishes.  It's not practical for him to speak with the sighted individual
who verified the copyright for you in order for him to establish that that
individual understands how to identify the copyright holder.  In the
instances where a book isn't listed on www.copyright.gov you might
substitute a note about a website which contains a scanned image of the
copyright page for that book.  I believe Cindy has stated that she has found
these on Amazon.com.  That would allow him another way to independently
verify the copyright if he chooses since Gustavo isn't visually impaired and
can read the scanned image without the aid of OCR software.  In the instance
where it is not possible to provide proof through the internet, then I'd
suggest copying the copyright notice into the comments field, having a
sighted individual verify that that text appears in the book, then including
a note informing Gustavo that a sighted spouse, relative, or friend has
verified that the text in the comments match the copyright notice in the
book.  While all of this may seem too much effort to have to go to in order
to establish reasonable confidence that the copyright holder is correct, it
probably takes less time than volunteers usually spend discussing the issue
when a book does get kicked back.  Also once you establish that you know
what you're doing, it should take less proof to make Gustavo confident that
you know what you're doing and are responsible enough to make sure that the
correct information is being entered into the database.  That's really what
it boils down to: Gustavo having confidence in you knowing what you're doing
and confidence that you are acting responsibly to ensure the correct
information has been entered into the fields on the form.

When you get right down to it, this isn't that big of a deal.  Based on the
message traffic on the list, I'd guess that less than one percent of the
books actually have trouble making it onto the site, and a little extra
effort should be able to help get these books approved.  I'm not aware of a
single instance where getting help from the right volunteers couldn't help
get a book approved, only instances where volunteers weren't interested
enough in getting a particular book into the collection to help.  After all,
even the poster child of copyright issues, Boot Camp For Christians finally
made it into the collection once other volunteers got involved with
verifying the copyright.

BTW, we're attempting to address the lack of understanding of how to
identify the copyright holder by including examples of copyright notices in
the new volunteering instructions along with the correct information to
enter into the Copyright Name and Copyright Date fields similar to what
Carrie did with the title and author fields in her Guidelines for Submission
Fields message.  The info from Carrie's message will be included as well
since it's info that volunteers need to know.  I've made a note that
quotations from reviews shouldn't be included in the long synopsis, and I'll
try to write a tip for the Comments field which can be included in the new
instructions as well.  That should ensure Gustavo reviews the suggestions
above and makes any changes or additions that he deems appropriate.

In the mean time, I'd suggest that volunteers ask for help on the list for
what to include in the comments if they think they might have a problem
getting a book approved due to an unusual copyright holder and are unsure
how to handle it.



-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Mike Pietruk
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 6:37 AM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: venting my frustrations


I understand that submitters and validators can and do fill out forms
incorrectly.  I do understand that scanners/ocr software can and do
scan/recognize incorrectly.
And, yes, I do understand why, under the exemption BookShare operates
within the copyright law, why the copyright being correct is important.
Having said that, however, there are many instances that books do not make
the copyright office database allowing for a simple verification as some
publishers and authors simply don't bother with that registration for
whatever reason.
Yet, of course, they are still copyrighted.
I guess what floors me is why one would doubt the stated copyright within
the book itself.
If the book itself on the printed page says xxx is the publisher, then it
is safe that xxx is the publisher.
It is one thing to doubt the competency of the submitter/validator in
filling out forms, it is another to doubt the printed page itself.
I think it is this latter point that has many of us scratching our heads.

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