Friday, June 26, 2009

June 26 - Book crisis!!!

Cathy's Story:

Something was nagging at me about the book. Tyrone and I were so proud. We had made hundreds of revisions -- translations, pictures (which turn out too dark because they want you to pay their professionals to make it look better), and typos in English and Portuguese to even inclu
de an extra space between words. We had our test copy with the logo on front and it looked good. We went through dozens of additional revisions once we had the book. But something wasn't quite right.

Let me back up. Early on in the project when all of Brooklyn 188 was getting ready for the visit from the Brazilian principals, I found Microsoft clip art that had flags, each with a skyline in front -- it had flags from several countries. I cropped and redesigned it with just USA and Brazil. Very clever -- school project -- no problem. Well, as I continued with Tyrone and his class, this came to be our project logo -- still no problem. Then we decided to print the book through

It was only natural to put this logo on the front of the book. But you know how it is when something is kind of eating at you and you don't know what? Well, I am sitting at my desk, finishing up work for summer school, with the book by my side ready to take to DC even though it was not a final copy) when suddenly out of the blue, I realize that this logo belongs to Microsoft. In a panic, I e-mail Tyrone and a mentor in Maine. Then I go on the Microsoft legal site, and it says that it is okay for class assignments and school projects but not for redistribution -- now did that mean only for money? I went to our tech coordinator and our tech contractor -- both of whom felt like it would be okay, but I still was not sure.

When I returned to my e-mail, there was a message from Jim -- "gut impression -- don't do it!" So, panicked, just hours away from the trip to DC, I proceed to redesign the cover -- I put together a collage of a few pictures from the two classes. E-mail comes from Tyrone -- be sure to include the flags somehow in the re-design -- believe it or not
, I found a picture with two Lovejoy students carrying the two flags.

So I printed up copies of the new design, deciding this is a good lesson for teachers and s
tudents -- and headed for DC. I was reprimanded by one teacher who laughed and said it was silly to use a clip art when I had the creativity to make something myself -- that that was just plain lazy and I should be ashamed. After all, she said, the new cover is far better. She was so right. The reaction of most was "what a lesson for the kids!" -- and it is. They need to know the teachers must also abide by the copyright laws.

I still wasn't satisfied. Would there really have been a problem? I hate to leave something unfinished, so I took the book with the logo and copy of the new cover to the Microsoft booth at the Expo and talked to them. As I was explaining that the book actually could be sold for profit through, but we were not going to do that... It suddenly hit me. Lulu might be making a profit off of our book when they print it -- and the Microsoft people agreed that this would be in violation of fair use of their logo.

Crisis over. Results - an awesome cover. (Almost a problem - I forgot that the same picture was on my title page. Thank goodness, one of the guests at our booth happened to turn to that page -- I would have been quite upset to have printed our huge order with it still wrong.)

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