This is where we’ll talk about Jim Ridolfo and Martine Courant Rife “Rhetorical Velocity and Copyright: A Case Study on Strategies of Rhetorical Delivery,” which is in the collection Copy(write): Intellectual Property in the Writing Classroom, available via the WAC Clearinghouse. It’s a little more “teaching of writing” focused and it goes down some other topics/emphases I don’t really want to dwell on too much. Instead, I’m more interested in the role of MSU as an institution appropriating that image of Maggie.
I think it’s a fascinating example, though I have to say I do get a little “in the weeds” a bit in this reading because of some of the law stuff. That might have to do with my own personal state right now from the weather and being sleep deprived though. 😉
On the one hand, I understand Maggie’s claim and her displeasure with MSU appropriating her image as a way of marketing itself, especially since these photos were taken at a protest against the university. This is also at the heart of the “rhetorical velocity” argument. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure I am getting/understanding the notion of “rhetorical velocity” because it seems to me that whenever you release a text/rhetorical act on the world, there’s always a chance that it can be remixed and reused in unintended and inappropriate ways.
And besides, it’s not like MSU took a picture taken by Maggie or it’s not like they were using a picture taken in Maggie’s yard. I might be cynical or simplistic here, but it seems that MSU has a pretty clear legal case here. Whether or not they should have done this is of course more debatable.