Sunday, 5 November 2006


I have a few questions for which "Jesus Christ" is not a satisfactory answer.

(1) I've looked at a few blog posts about Michael Berube's new book, which I haven't read, but it appears to be partly about recountings of classroom discussions. Some of the posts I've seen seem to indicate that university students in America put up their hands when they want to say something. Is this true?

(2) How do songwriters register or claim copyright on their lyrics in the USA? Do they deposit a copy with the Library of Congress or something, and if they do, is that material accessible electronically? Do they deposit a recording of a performance, or are the lyrics registered independently? I'm mainly interested in a group of songs written and recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. This is just a mild curiosity type question, which is why I feel justified asking it of the internet rather than devoting the time to finding out the answer myself.

(3) If you were on holiday in a city in a different country to the one you live in now, and you were walking on a street and you saw your cat or dog sitting on the edge of the footpath, but to the best of your belief the animal was at home in a kennel or cattery, do you think you'd actually recognise and know your pet, or would you decide it was a coincidence and the animal just looked like yours?


JM said...

1) Berebe's book is good. The raising hands thing depends on the type of class in general and also the lesson for the day. In a lecture, almost always hands. In a seminar, there's spontaneous discussion. It also differs by department. In other words, I can't give you a matrix or other sort of breakdown of how it works. What's it like in AU? Vague, sorry.

2) Yes, lyrics go through the US Copyright Office. Also, there's ASCAP and BMI which are sort of licensing clearinghouses for their members. That's why you'll see something like "copyright XYZ, licensed by ASCAP" and so on. Even more vague, sorry again.

3) I would know my pet.

JM said...

gah. BerUbe. I'm not an idiot, I swear.

Scott Eric Kaufman said...

In undergraduate classes, that's certainly the case. Thirty students all talking at once would get out of hand. I'm curious, though: do people in Australia not raise their hands?

lucy tartan said...

Thanks, Julie, on all counts. I hadn't considered lectures - here there's not generally a lot of student speaking in lectures, but someone asking a question at the end might put up a hand to draw the lecturer's attention in a large lecture hall.

Students in Enlish at La Trobe University definitely don't raise hands in any other circumstances. I can't be sure about everywhere else but I think it's very unlikely that they do.

Sometimes first-years straight from school will do it, but someone says "it's ok, you don't have to put up your hand here."

Sometimes people talk over the top of each other, but not for long. Tutorials almost never have more than twenty people in them.

Kate said...

Funnily enough a while ago we were at the video store and we SAW OUR DOG tied up outside of the store, when we'd just left her not 20 minutes before at home.

Closer inspection revealed it was of course not our dog, just a very similar one with extremely similar markings to Jasperella the Uberhund.

So I think that I might mistake another GSP for Jasper, but only from a distance. So the answer is, if I were allowed to get reasonably close to the dog I am positive I'd know if it were her or not.

But that's not your question really, is it?

jac said...

(1) I don't remember putting my hand up in lectures in NZ (I was probably asleep on my desk at the time). Tuturials: no hands, there were only about 8 people in my tut groups as I took insane things like Medieval Arthurian Romance. And Inorganic Chemistry.

(2) Jesus Christ.

(3) I would call the pet. I do this to random animals on the street anyway, so no loss. The Brown Dog has puppies, which are grown up and some look very similar to him, so I know that weird feeling when you see YOUR dog, but he's skinnier and doesn't recognise you and he's got black feet and ... wait, that's not my dog.

JahTeh said...

I don't know if I'd recognise my cat but I do know when I get Baz-lotto.

David said...

(1) And on television, every time a class is in progress, the bell goes after about a minute.

(2) Surely it's like all copyright? You just have to prove you did it and/or did it first.

(3) What a horrifying notion, I will have a nightmare now. But I would know my pets and they me.

lucy tartan said...

Jac, I have always enjoyed the fact that while you yourself use your real first name on the internet but your animals have gone by pseudonyms.

Jahteh, congratulations on your good luck! Hope it made up in some small way for any Spring Carnival disappointments of the weekend.

David everything I know about American universities I learned from watching Tommy-Lee Goes To College.

About the song question, I guess I was wondering whether songwriters register a particular version of the words & or is there some other way of establishing in a sort of legal way what the standard lyrics are of a song that generally has lots of improvised words when it's performed.

Meredith Jones said...

I would know Sailor anywhere & wouldn't be surprised if she followed me to Paris, it's her kind of town.

Ben.H said...

Until quite recently (late 80s at the earliest) songs and other music *had* to be written down to be copyrighted. Recordings were not accepted, certainly not in the 50s and 60s.

I was just watching a late 1970s interview with Philip Glass, where he was explaining how, to secure copyright for Einstein on the Beach (and other early works taught through rehearsal more than by a written score), he had to write out all the themes and claim it was the lead sheet for a jazz composition.

This also explains the prevalence of very vague-looking "listening scores" for lots of avant-garde electronic music of yesteryear.

lucy tartan said...

Thanks Ben.