September 25, 2004

Fear of copyright litigation strikes again...

Well, it's happened to me again. I have written something -- in this case, an entire book -- which seeks to engage popular culture as part of theological education in a theological/scholarly argument, and the publisher has told me I can't use actual quotes from pop culture songs to do so. I am depressed enough at the moment that I can't even make a good argument back to the publisher about this.

The editor working on my book wrote this to me: "It looks like we are going to have to take out the excerpts from popular songs that open each chapter (and their references in that chapter). We must have permission to use any part of a popular song and the consequences of copyright violation would be quite serious--legally and financially."

I've written back to ask if perhaps we could seek such permission, instead of giving up without even trying, but I'm not very optimistic about their response. I wish I could simply post the whole darn book on my website and make it available that way, but I need a book published as part of my progress in the scholarly guild. Not to mention that I'm trying to reach people who do not necessarily read the web, but might read a book. Sigh. I wish there was a lawyer out there somewhere who understood this stuff and could help me make the argument in the strongest terms possible. But I fear it's lawyers who are the problem, since they are trying to help publishers avoid litigation, and thus are advising them not even to try.

How are we to engage pop culture in serious, scholarly ways if we're not even allowed to quote from it in our arguments? How are we going to persuade theologians that God is revealing Godself in the midst of pop culture if we can't engage it directly in theological inquiry? Argh.

Posted by hessma at September 25, 2004 08:02 PM

I've managed to save up roughly $81628 in my bank account, but I'm not sure if I should buy a house or not. Do you think the market is stable or do you think that home prices will decrease by a lot?

Posted by: Courtney Gidts at February 25, 2006 04:07 PM