So I'm reading a National Geographic booklet aimed at elementary school students, called Looking at Cells by Rebecca L Johnson. In a spread called "Thinking Like a Scientist" that explains how to measure small things in micrographs, I see a picture of a paramecium, labeled "Paramecium x110". Next to it there's the following chunk of text:
Check It Out
Suppose you have permission to photocopy the picture of theParamecium, and you enlarge it to twice its size. Would the magnification of x110 still be correct? Explain.
Note how it says, "suppose you have permission to photocopy the picture," instead of, "suppose you photocopy the picture," or even, "photocopy the picture."
Derrrrrr. Somehow the issue of copyright infringement has made its way explicitly and incongruously into a children's science booklet.
(The inside cover lists the picture credit as "page 27 (middle) ® M. Abbey/Visuals Unlimited".)
I imagine the writer put it more simply before a lawyer or editor touched it up. Because we wouldn't want 4th graders running around with enlarged b&w photocopies of a paramecium taken from Visuals Unlimited. Knowing kids, they might digitize the photocopies and post them on the internets, or store them on their iPods. How would VU make money THEN?
I also imagine copyright-conscious kiddies, attentive to the wording's specific subtext, enchanted by the possibilities of a Creative Commons future. "Suppose you have permission..." Wow! Suppose I have permission! It's telling me to imagine a wondrous world where I'm legally allowed to photocopy this image I hold in my hands! What a spectacular sight that would be! Then I could perform ALL KINDS of measurements on it! But, aw shucks, for now I'm just stuck with my dreams.