From Lognet, issue 90/3.
Three New Workers: The Institute is delighted to welcome three new workers to its corps of volunteers: Kirk Sattley, who will be the Editor of the new La Logli, which is The Loglanist revived under a new name; Jim Smith, who will be taking my place as the Editor of Lognet starting with the December issue; and Stephen Rice, who will be taking over Faith Rich's role as Cerpeu of La Purmao Diigru, and so will be handling the Lo Cninu Purda column in these pages. (For newcomers to Loglandia , let me just quickly say that cerpeu = chairperson, purmao = wordmaker, diigru = deciding-group or council and lo cninu purda = new words.)
Kirk is a retired Massachussetts computer scientist who has been a subscriber of TL since 1976 but hasn't had time to study the language and make it his own until just recently (see his letter in LN90/2:18). He'll be bringing a serious scientific slant to the new La Logli. As he puts it, "we want a serious (but not humorless) and relentlessly accurate journal [whose] content will intrigue and involve people passing by from various areas of specialization....[in part] by letting them see interesting internal interactions, meaning papers and responses, that don't look in any way prettied up to impress." So send him your papers and responses and let's help him make LL that kind of journal.
Jim Smith, our new Lognet editor, is a computer consultant and contract programmer who lives in Northern California. Jenny, Evy and I met Jim and his wife Meg at the First Contact Meeting in 1983, and I think that was when they became interested in Loglan. But it wasn't until the Fourth Edition came out, with its gaggle of new learning tools, that Jim (and I think Meg) really began to learn the language. Jim plans to make LN primarilly a communication channel among members and between them and The Institute, as well as to involve as many of you as wish to be involved in Institute affairs. That sort of networking should be possible now that LL will be absorbing the longer articles.
Stephen Rice, our Alaskan linguist--and, as many of you know, rather a specialist on the structure of international languages--has kindly agreed to take Faith Rich's chair on the Word Makers Council (La Purmao Diigru), which has been vacant since her fatal heart attack last March (LN90/1:19). He'll be doing her LN column, too, of course, and it is Steve to whom you should now submit new words. Dr. McIvor and I are still ex officio members of the Diigru, as we were in Faith's day. But doubtless Steve will want to see the Diigru grow again to include all our active word-makers, as it did in the days of the Eaton Interface work. So plan to join us, you aspiring word-makers, in carrying out this important decision function for the language.
"Loglan Zero": Steve Rice, our new Purmao Diigru Cerpeu, has also taken on our biggest outstanding creative task, namely the writing of that elementary introduction to Loglan that I've felt we've needed for some time. The in-house name of the book Steve is writing for us is Loglan Zero. Of course it won't really be called that. (I suspect that only mathematicians can contemplate a zero subscript with equanitmity!) But a title like Loglan: A Language for the Computer Age—or something equally single-themeish—might do the trick. (Send in your suggestions.) But by whatever name, Steve is planning to make Loglan Zero the sort of book that "anyone who runs can read", that is, a book that will require no technical preparation of any sort on the part of the reader.
As Steve's work on this important new book progresses, I hope we'll be able to publish excerpts from it in one or the other of our serial publications.
Four Other Helba Logli: Four other people have been doing helpful things for Loglan these days.
Rob Duff, a Canadian logli living in British Columbia, has built a new input list for MacTeach 2, which I believe teachs both simple and compound little words. Dr. McIvor and I haven't had a chance to examine it yet; but when we do, and find it good, we'll announce its availability for a few extra dollars to M2 owners.
We have two logicians among our new members: Vincent Sprague, who lives in Ohio, and Randall Holmes, an American scholar living in Belgium. They both have letters in this issue's Lo Lerci. I've talked to both of them about our needing someone to run a Lognet column to which people can send in questions about logical usage in Loglan; and while Vincent has demurred, he has already begun a vigorous study of the logical structure of Loglan, and Randall has accepted the challenge of helping us shape up good logical usages. I've put them in touch with one another. Together or separately, I expect they will keep us on our logical toes.
Finally, there is Alan Gaynor. Alan is an early logli who was going to be my fifth apprentice in 1978 when that program had to be abandoned for lack of funding. He has just returned and is full of ideas about how to help The Institute (a) build membership, (b) generate new revenues, and (c) teach Loglan at a distance. His basic thought is that we can use "computer conferencing" to do all three. This is apparently a fairly new software technology with which he is involved as a graduate student at one of New York's universities. He's willing to guide us through the technical thickets and I'm willing to be led. Anything that can help The Institute teach Loglan classes at unlimited distances—as I gather computer conferencing can do—is something we'd better look into. Alan's enthusiasm is infectious and I have volunteered myself and Dr. McIvor to be The Institute's teachers for a trial run. Alan will arrange the first conference for us through his graduate school. Who'd like to join us? It might cost a couple of hundred dollars a head for, say, a two-weeks course. But The Institute will earn part of that, and who knows? We may learn how to teach Loglan at a distance to anyone who has a computer, a modem, and a telephone. That would at least be our goal. Write me if you're interested in being one of the early birds on this exciting new limb.
The Institute's Copyright & Trademark Policy: I said in LN90/1 that I would explain these policies in LN90/2 but, in the event, they got squeezed out. So I'm doing it this time.
Our copyright policy is based on the fact that most Loglan words, unlike the words of natural languages, have been recently invented. Moreover they've been created by acts of individual scholarship or literary invention of just the sort that copyright law was designed to protect. So Loglan words are not just ideas, they are unique and original expressions of ideas. The Institute holds these copyrights on behalf of the original word-makers because those word-makers have all either explicitly or implicitly ceded their rights to The Institute. These days, it is usually explicitly through our Word Maker's Agreement. (Write for one if you're going to be a word-maker.)
But the Institute is not silly about its rights. It seeks to use them only to make it possible for Loglan to continue to develop around a common grammar and lexicon. It therefore extends to all loglanists the right to use Loglan words in any informal, non-commercial way whatever, and indeed in any literary way that is not explicitly didactic. As custodian of the language, The Institute feels it has a vital interest in its didactic uses; for it is through these that the speechways of the next generation of loglanists will be formed.
The agreement The Institute has just made with Stephen Rice concerning his work on Loglan Zero expresses this principle neatly. Let me quote a few paragraphs from it:
"Let me explain how our standard publishing and royalty-sharing agreement actually works. All of us who write or program for The Institute have made one with it, and it expects to have substantially the same agreement with any new author/inventor of didactic works. To illustrate what is didactic and what is not, the list of persons who have written what we consider "didactic works" includes me, RAM, all the other contributors to our teaching software, and any future writers of primers, readers, grammars, dictionaries, etc. It does not include writers of short articles about Loglan, like Cortesi’s 1982 one in Dr. Dobbs' Journal, or fiction writers like Heinlein and Rimmer who used short illustrative pieces of Loglan in their works (Heinlein in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Rimmer in Love Me Tomorrow). It also does not include—mirabile visu!—those who write, or will one day write, wholly in Loglan.
"In short, the group with whom we do seek royalty-sharing agreements does not extend to anyone who is using the language non-commercially, nor to any professional writer who is using it for purposes other than to teach it. In fact with literary users such as Heinlein, Rimmer and Cortesi we wish no formal legal arrangement whatever, and only thank them for the publicity that such work always seems to give the project. Our royalty arrangements are also not intended to cover vendors who may wish to incorporate some Loglan in their products—games, for example—or to use our name on Loglan-related products, for example, on T-shirts to be sold at a Loglan convention. We feel that our interests in these kinds of uses are best protected by our trademark. We will consider licensing these sorts of vendors to use our trademark only if they agree to use only official Loglan in their products. Trade-secret sharing is still a third way of helping people who wish to use our work, whether academically or commercially, and one I've dealt with—I believe comprehensively—in LN90/1:16.
"So let's return to the textbook writers who, like you and me, are among those with whom The Institute wishes to have publishing agreements. The agreements we make with such folks all have the same three elements: The first is that we ask you to acknowledge that TLI (The Loglan Institute, Inc.) has, by virtue of its copyrights, the right of first refusal to publish whatever you produce—with our help or without it—that contains the lexicon of Loglan in what might be called “didactic quantities”, that is, in large enough numbers and in the kind of expository detail that would allow the reader/user to begin, at least, to learn the Loglan language. In short, we ask you to acknowledge that your work is a derivative work based on previous work of The Institute. Second, if we decide not to publish your work ourselves, but nevertheless think it should be published, we ask you to agree now to join with us, in that event, in attempting to interest some commercial publisher in doing it for us, and in asking that publisher for a contract committing da to pay “double royalties”: that is, one standard royalty payment to be made to you as the book’s author, and another of equal value to be paid to TLI for creating, supporting, and continuing to maintain the language with which you worked. Third, if we decide neither to publish your work nor to ask you to join us in finding another publisher for it, then TLI will turn over all its rights in the work to you and you can find a publisher on your own or do whatever else you want with it.
"Those three points are the heart of our agreement with didactic writers. As to the specific royalties to be paid if a commercial publisher does your work for us—and I think that’s where your book, especially, is likely to end up—then royalties are pretty much up to that publisher’s conventions, although we can appeal to the conventions of the industry if da's seem out of line. But if TLI publishes it, then you can count on receiving exactly the same schedule of royalty payments as I or any other book-writer receives from TLI, and to have input, as one of our by this time fairly numerous team of authors/inventors, into the determination of those schedules for the several types of didactic products (books, software, cassettes, etc.) that TLI sells."
I hope these excerpts from Steve's informal contract with us—I confess to having made them a little clearer while quoting them here—explains how we treat our authors and expect to be treated by them. Steve Rice, of course, found the proferred arrangement satisfactory; and so Loglan Zero has been launched as a joint project of The Institute and himself.
What we have tried to do in fashioning and refashioning our copyright policy over the years is strike a balance between The Institute's need to survive as an institution, and in that way remain capable of taking care of Loglan for the indefinite future, and the right of our didactic writers to enjoy the fruit of their creative labor as soon as we can share it with them.
I would be glad to have any of your comments on the fairness or effectiveness of these legal arrangements. As a non-profit company in charge of a constructed language, we are charting new waters and can use all the insight we can get.