How We Do That Voo-Doo . . . Reading Literature in the West of Ireland Library

“The Library’s policies regarding Copyright Law are designed to accommodate the tradition of oral storytelling of both Traditional and Contemporary literary works in a manner that upholds the rights of authors.

“Library presentations are a means of advancing knowledge. We believe education and entertainment go hand in hand in the literary realm. To this end The Library encourages Storytellers and presenters to provide information and objects related to the presentation to guests to enhance their experience.”

--from the newly adopted WOI Library Copyrighted Works Policy

(Release Version 01 – 12.20.2009)

The subject of Intellectual Property Rights in Second Life (SL) has been a topic of passionate advocacy and heated debate over the last several months. Everything from “copybotting” (a bot placed in a location which steals objects created by one to be taken and sold by another who did not create them) to the presentation of copyrighted works has been subject to scrutiny and question. How does that affect the West of Ireland (WOI) Library and Cultural Center?

The purpose of a library, real world or virtual, is to promote literary works and to act as a community resource. We usually think of this as involving a large collection of books, periodicals, varied media (music, movies) and computers for online research.

It might interest you to know that the WOI Library there is actually a “collection” which is contained in the bookshelves near the Library entrance. Four of the bookcases contain specific genres of literature in notecard form: Women’s Literature, Science Fiction-Fantasy, Shakespeare, etc. The fifth bookcase (which has a totem pole standing on top of it) contains a wide variety of notecard books and wearable books from The Library’s presentations starting in March of 2008. All of the Library’s “collection” are in works in the public domain.

At the West of Ireland Library our purpose is more specific than a public library's in real life might be, much as a legal or medical library has a specified focus. Our purpose is to honor the Celtic tradition of oral storytelling by the presentation in live voice of a wide variety of works of literature including those of Celtic origin. The objective is to promote exploration of genres and authors, encompassing works across the spectrum of traditional and contemporary literature. The Library uses Second Life to do what libraries have done since time immemorial. The method, in this case, is oral presentation in a communal environment. At no time are presented works passed off as creations of anyone other than the original authors, and there is no admission fee charged.

Could the WOI Library simply present nothing but works in the public domain? Certainly, there is a large body of works available that are in the public domain. Would this really serve our audiences? To focus exclusively on works written prior to 1923? Such uses as the WOI Library makes of copyrighted non-dramatic works are covered by Title 17 of the United States Code, which covers copyright statutes. As the WOI Charity Estate in SL has it’s organizational basis in the United States, it is subject to its laws. Of specific interest is Section 110: Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays.

“It is the intention of copyright law to stimulate creativity for the enrichment of the general public. It attempts to do this by prohibiting use of another’s original works for personal profit. Such use would be defined as derivative and prohibited by copyright law. The West of Ireland Library (The Library) views the presentation of literary works as transformative rather than derivative. Such presentations feature works in a new way to persons that may not have previously accessed or encountered these works.”

For conversations on “transformative” versus “derivative” use of copyrighted materials:

The entire text of the WOI Library's new policy is available at the library by clicking on the copyright poster over the Librarian's Desk. If you have any questions or information to share, feel free to contact Librarian Derry McMahon by notecard on the SL grid.



87% - Looking into other works by that particular author online, at a book store, or a library?

75% - Looking into a particular subject on the internet, or through other research media?

66% - Buying the book for yourself or someone else?

58% - Checking the book out at a Library?

58% - Investigating other works written in a particular genre or form?

0% - Nothing. Just Listened.

"BOO!" Rocks

What a fun experiment this has been, with five days to go in our "Guerilla Ghost Story" odyssey, we have staged 17 individual sessions at eight different locations around the WOI Estate. Cumulative session attendance has been 163 and donations of nearly $L10,000 have been collected.

There's more to come! With just under a dozen sessions left, and more sites to explore on Connemara as well as favorites to return to on Cork, Neart and WOI . . . there's bound to be more spookable story fun for all!

ALL ABOUT Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Edgar Allan Poe:
Author, Poet, Literary Critic, master of the macabre, the fantastical, the sentimental, the ironic, the comic. There are many sides to this prodigious and prolific American author, who died at the age of forty.

To learn more about Edgar Allan Poe, click on the links to visit these great online resources . . .

TUESDAY 30 June @ 6pm: WOI Storytellers at SL6B

Tonight join Caledonia Skytower and Derry McMahon with stories at the SecondLife 6th Birthday celebration. We'll be in the WOI booth, so come on over and set a spell. Stories will include "The Lady or the Tiger" and "The Song of the Queen Bee".

SUNDAY 28 June @ 6pm - WOI Storytellers at the SL6B

Join Cunningham Docherty and Derry McMahon at the SecondLife 6th Birthday party for stories at the West of Ireland exhibit! Stories will include "The Stolen Child" and "Fair Trembling and Brown", both classics!

OUR DERRY! Interviewed on "Off The Shelf"

Our fearless leader: the charming, the talented, the occasionally clumsy, the ALWAYS passionate WOI Librarian Derry McMahon was interviewed today by Simeon Beresford for Bookstacks "Off The Shelf" bi-weekly podcast. Always an advocate for live story reading in SL, Project Children and the mission of WOI, and for having fun - all these come out in Derry's interview. Have a listen!

Broadcast on Radio Reil, you can get more information about "Off The Shelf" at and even listen to episodes from the Radio Reil archives (I think). Yay Derry!