Copywrongs - Our Own Field

Scarily, folks have occasionally invited me to speak or contribute writings.

This has led to a scary amount of paperwork in paper form related to copyright. Some of it quick, easy, logical, and non restrictive (Thanks MLA and Code4Lib) and reams of scary paperwork from ALA.

Now, were ALA doing me the fine favour of publishing a book, I'd not have me feathers ruffled right now. That's officially a big deal and a lot of hassle to take on. However, this is a tiny opinion piece in an issue of Public Libraries where I rant about the MLS. I've had to fax things over two and three times and the forms keep changing and getting more restrictive and less logical every time I put my signature to paper. My husband's sick of having to send out my faxes and I'm sick of signing my rights away on something that ought to be public domain.

Why is it that ALA stuff is not issued under Creative Commons share and share alike? Why do we insist on charging folks for knowledge that we ourselves create? How is it that we chafe at restrictions others put on the flow of information and yet unnecessarily place restrictions on our own field literature? Don't we pay for this stuff with our membership fees and generate this content with our own minds? Can't we at very least make the leap into the electronic realm in terms of the forms?