[TOS] Textbook: author attribution

Matthew Jadud mjadud at allegheny.edu
Wed Mar 24 14:52:52 UTC 2010

On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 10:28, Greg DeKoenigsberg <gdk at redhat.com> wrote:
> We have, however, borrowed gigantic chunks.  Is attributing the authors of
> these chunks in the body of the text sufficient, or do they deserve
> co-authorship status?  Would they even want that?
> Attribution clauses leave a ridiculous amount of room for interpretation.

If you borrow and edit a large chunk of someone else's text, are you
an "author?" Were they an "co-author" of the book?

I think, when borrowing, you should acknowledge the lift at the end of
the chapter where the borrowing took place, and perhaps duplicate that
in an overall ack at the end of the text. This acknowledges their
contribution, but they are not directly a contributor to the new,
unique work that the book you're writing represents. Therefore, I
don't think they would be "co-authors" in the traditional sense. (Yes,
this isn't "traditional," but at some point you might want an ISBN,
and you don't want librarians to have a brain hemmorage when you try
and put something on them that doesn't fit Dublin Core. They will make
it fit, regardless of any new ideas you throw at them...)

I would leave "co-authors" of the text to mean "people who contributed
*directly* to the assembly of the artifact you are calling a book." If
there are people who don't fit the title of author, add a Colophon a
la many O'Reilly texts, where you acknowledge the editors, anyone who
does design work on the book, the tools used, etc. I don't think that
the re-use of CC-licensed text necessarily means that the original
author had any creative input into The Work that the new
book/article/etc. represents.

When you freeze and go to SVN, I'll be glad to provide editing
support, if you want someone to do a front-to-back read of the text.
I'm on spring break, and can break free a few hours to go straight
through. Username "jadudm" is preferred for SVN, if this is desired in
the next day or two.


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