Friday, June 16, 2006

Today is Bloomsday, fans re-"Joyce"

Back in 2004 we had the pleasure of attending Rejoyce Dublin 2004, a festival celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Bloomsday, June 16th, 1904, the date of the events in the famous book Ulysses by James Joyce.

While there were people in all different costumes and there were street plays enacting scenes from the book, one that caught my eye was the copyright guy. The copyright guy was protesting the egregiously paranoid demands of the Joyce family to control his works. I snuck some pictures of him for fun, and of course he played along and said that the pictures were copyrighted, the street was copyrighted, the contents of my brain were copyrighted and he had to take them from me right then. He was just pretending though, later I even caught him on camera smiling .

During the trip we visited the James Joyce Centre, which was very paranoid about anyone copying (or perhaps even remembering) any works within. As with many museums there was no photography, but this place wouldn't even allow visitors to have pencil and paper for fear of them taking notes. Apparently the family who still owns the rights had tried to shut the whole celebration down. From Bloomsday: Copyright Estates and Cultural Festivals:
"The Estate has also jealously guarded the reputation of the author by vetoing the use of his work in various scholarly productions. Most radically of all, the grandson Stephen Joyce threatened to take legal action to prevent the staging of Rejoyce Dublin 2004, a festival celebrating the centenary of Bloomsday."
All these shenanigans over controlling copyright on the Joyce works has hindered scholarship and prompted one Stanford professor to sue the family and the estate to allow fair use of the work and prevent destruction of other documents. I wish her much luck.

I don't think the festival should be about the copyright, it should be about having a free traditional Irish breakfast of eggs and black and white pudding (blood sausage, not the American sweet kind of pudding, think scrapple) chased down by a free(!) hearty Guinness. I guess it doesn't matter that I never even read (nor plan to read) the book, it was still easy to have fun at the festival. I suspect that makes me a cretin, but have you read Ulysses?

(Boing Boing beat me to this post by starting their discussion on Monday the 13th, which is not Bloomsday! cheaters!)

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