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Breaking things March 16, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Bwargh, Durham, Look what I did, Sheer bloody-mindedness, University.
3 comments

Notably, internal barriers, my sleep cycle, my ability to function as an adult human being and look after myself and everything and – most excitingly – my record for greatest number of hours spent in the library over a 24 hour period outside of exam term.  Record currently stands at thirteen.  It can’t get any higher than that because that included opening time (9am) in the law library, two hours’ break for food and a tutorial, and closing time (midnight) in the main library.

It’s been that sort of week.

In a way, I’ve kind of enjoyed it.  It’s been good to just be single-minded about work, and just concentrate on one thing for hours at a stretch.  In a way, I kind of feel broken.  It doesn’t show any signs of stopping, yet, though: the end of term is on Friday.  Between now and then I have 300 pages of reading for two tutorials and a 1500 word mini-essay to write.  And then on Monday morning I’ll find out how inevitably dreadful my dissertation draft was, and start on another 6000 word essay due the beginning of next term, and try and get my head round starting to revise.

And do some washing.  I haven’t done any washing in the last two weeks, and I’m running out of things.

And tidy my room.  This is turning into a list now, which is not at all what I meant to say.

I meant to talk about finished things, and how I think I might have started to figure out what I want to do next year, which is great.  And a start.  I also meant to talk about Captain Shakespeare’s new play, which I saw on Saturday and which was a bloody good evening out though I say so myself.

Also, this is a placeholder.  I’m still here!  I’m still going!  I’ve not fallen off the face of the earth!

And look! It’s my dissertation:

Wordle: Public Law Dissertation 2011

(Clicky clicky to make it bigger, although you can probably tell it’s about Parliamentary Sovereignty, its interaction with the courts, and the Human Rights Act.  Soooo unbelievably interesting, and I could wax lyrical about it for ages but I fear I’d bore you.)

I feel quite proud that I’m here and things are still happening.  After my essay’s in on Friday, I promise to show you knitwear.  I know I’ve been promising for the last two weeks.

Copy-ouch March 8, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Craftiness, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness.
4 comments

It’s that point in term where my saturation of law is such that I’m blogging about it!  This term, commercial contract law.  Let’s talk about the terminology of selling things.

This is something that’s come up in copyright discussions all over Ravelry for ever and ever, and it’s irritated me since almost that long.  I’m going to talk about it in relation to the law of the sale of goods in England and Wales.  I have no idea how similar or different it is in America, or anywhere else in the world, but I will say that the UK has a very well-respected, old legal system and that therefore the rules elsewhere in the world are probably similar-ish, and the terminology is almost certainly more or less the same.  I say this because I know it’s true of a lot of criminal law and tort law, and so I assume it’s also true of some of commercial and contract law.

When you sell something, for example a car, according to the law, you’re not selling a car.  You’re selling rights with regard to the car, or ‘interests’ in the car: that is, the right to take possession of the car, the right to use it however you like, the right to say who can use it and who can’t, the right to take all the profit if you decide to sell it on.  If you sell me the car, what you’re doing is selling me all the interests in the car, and all the interests put together are called ‘property’ in the world of commercial law.

Now, obviously, if what you’re selling to me is the pdf of a knitting pattern, you’re not giving me all the rights to the pattern.  I can’t take credit for the pattern, I can’t sell it on as if it were my own.  But, under UK commercial law, and the commercial laws of countless other nations, you don’t have to sell me all the interests to the pattern just by taking my £3.50 and sending me a pdf file.  What is usually being sold is not the pattern, but a license to use the pattern.

Use of the pattern, you’ll notice, is an interest in the pattern.  It is but one interest.  Right to reproduce the pattern, that’s another interest.  Right to sell the pattern on, that’s another interest too.  None of these interests are necessarily inherent in me getting my hands on a copy of your pattern.  Those rights belong to the designer automatically, as do all of the rights, because they’re part of the property of the designer.  So if I particularly want to reproduce my copy of your pattern, I can only do that if you’ve sold it to me.

The difficulty here arises when designers don’t state in advance, “If you buy this pattern from me, you are buying a license to do x, y, and z.  You are not buying a license to do a, b, and c, and you may not do these without my permission.”  So a lot of the problem with the law with regard to this comes from the question, what rights do we assume the ‘standard’ license to contain?  In other words, if it’s not made explicit in a contract, what can we imply are the license’s terms?  Everyone has different views on this, and I’m not going to offer mine because I’m scared the Copywrong Police will come and eat my brains.

The other thing that comes up and annoys me is the speed of people to say that they don’t need to honour license agreements, even informal or implied ones, because if it got to court it wouldn’t be upheld.

You’ll notice the enforcement of licenses of knitting patterns is not a hot topic in the legal world right about now, and that is because they basically never get as far as court.  You can say that this is because knitters and crocheters are all lovely and like keeping their goodwill and all that, but the fact is that out of all contracts, very, very few get as far as the courts.  That’s because contract law is not about who would win in front of a judge.  Contract law is about making people feel more confident about entering into agreements, so that more agreements are made, and things get done.  It’s also largely about creating avenues that the parties can go down to sort their disputes out without having to go up in front of an elderly man in a silly wig and talk about how someone stole their instructions for a scarf.  Just because something might not necessarily be enforceable in court – and I’ve no idea if these things would be, this is a flight of conjecture already – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  Equally it doesn’t mean that contract law isn’t working with regard to it, and it doesn’t mean nobody is bound by anything.  Being bound does not equal having a remedy.  The law still sets a fair bit of store by good faith: it’s still a principle of the courts in the UK at least that you’ll do better if you approach the court with clean hands.

I think that’s about right, anyway.

If you’re on Ravelry, you’ll see that I’ve taken lots of pictures of jumpers and things.  Prepare to be bombarded with them here in the next day or two.

Also, Lent starts tomorrow.  I’m giving up buying yarn and casting on new things, with the two parameters that the second in a pair of socks doesn’t count as a new thing, nor does it if I rip something back and completely start the same item again.  I’m looking forward to getting a few things finished.

Coming up for air March 7, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Breaking the fourth wall, Craftiness, Durham, Knitting, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness, University.
7 comments

Well, phew, frankly.

The first draft of my dissertation was handed in about 11 o’clock at night on Friday, which was the deadline.  In the last week, I’ve seen closing time in two different libraries, and opening time in one of them.  I haven’t really had much of a week, frankly – it all seemed to disappear in front of a computer screen.  I’ve slept twelve hours the last two nights, so that should tell you something.  The paper is mammoth, though – twenty-five pages plus bibliography.  Aside from NaNoWriMo, I’ve never written anything that big in my life.  It’s kind of a big deal.  I keep rolling the words undergraduate dissertation around in my head, and they don’t sound any less grand than they did this time two years ago.  Grief.

Anyway, it’s onwards and upwards – I have another essay due in ten days, and there’s no rest for the wicked, so that’s where this week is going.  But you don’t want to hear about that, do you?  You want to see this lovely finished thing:

(Please excuse both the state of my room and the crappiness of the picture – I’m hoping to press-gang the relevant parties into helping me take proper photos tomorrow. You will also note that my house was furnished by the Sprawling Mass of Bureaucracy that is one of the University departments, and hence my bedroom mirror is in three parts. Also, I have a pretty awesome poster on my wall.  You may blame aforementioned Sprawling Mass of Bureaucracy that it appears to be split in two.)

This is SOMETHING I FINISHED!!  I actually have two knitted tops that I’ve finished in about the last six weeks – not because I’ve been knitting so fast my hands are on fire, but because I am a lazy sod who hates sewing things up, so when I do sew things up, it tends to be all in one go.

I started (Get Off My) Cloud (Rav link) by Kate Davies over the summer, if you recall, and it’s involved so much Icord, and so much sewing up, that I finished the main body of it in maybe November, and the hood in December, and I’ve just failed to do anything with it since.  It’s all done now, though, and I wore it to London to meet knitters last weekend and was met with a lot of pointing and “I know what that is!” and compliments, so it definitely feels done.  There’ll be pictures, as soon as I can get someone to take them

The cardigan in the picture is Harvest Moon (Rav link) by Heidi Kirrmaier.  I started it on Christmas Day to make up for all that knitting for everyone else, and it waited for about a month for me to sew the pockets on, and another month for me to block it.  And I adore it.  And it’s alpaca so it’s the warmest thing in the world.  And it sheds cream coloured alpaca all over my black brushed wool coat.  If it didn’t do that, I’d never take it off.

What I’m knitting at the moment, then, is quite mysterious.  I’ve had this on the go for a few weeks:

Why yes, it is a Great Green Thing, and getting greater by the day.  Not so much lately, that’s a lot of stocking stitch, and I tend to need to alternate between it and something a bit more exciting.  The exciting things have been socks, essentially: I’m one down on a pair for Dad, whose birthday is at the end of the month, and I’ve just cast on another pair with this:

I love this yarn very, very much.  It came on Friday, the day I handed my draft in, and my reward for finishing said draft was to cast on the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry’s March Mystery Sock.  The theme for this month is lace, and the mystery sock is gorgeous.  I finished the first clue today, and it reminded me how much I love just blindly following patterns occasionally.  You don’t have to worry about how it’s going to turn out, you don’t have to keep in mind what amendments you might want to make, you can just take the instructions and run with them.  It makes me happy.

The yarn is Juno Fibre Arts Buffy Sock, and it’s a superwash BFL, and I love it. I haven’t knit with Blue Faced Leicester in far too long – I’d forgotten how much it practically glows.  This stuff is so much fun to work with.

So that’s what’s happening knitting-wise at the moment, for the most part.

As for the rest of this blog, I’m afraid you’re rather going to have to bear with me at the moment.  You’ve probably noticed it’s been a bit thin on the ground, of late.  This year is not an easy year, it’s my final year as an undergraduate, and at the moment I feel a bit like I’m treading water.  Of course I’ll do my best to keep going – I love this blog, and when I’m able to do things with it, I love it and I love hearing your feedback and comments.  But if they’re sparse for the next four or five months, please do hang on.  Normal service will be resumed when I’m not up to my ears in the All England Law Reports and for now, well, I like you lot.  So I hope you’ll hang around.