Someone Owns The Dewey Decimal System?

from the what-would-this-post-be-classified-as? dept

Earlier today, I happened to watch an episode of the excellent Sports Night TV show named Intellectual Property. In it, one of the characters gets fined $2,500 for singing the (very much copyrighted) song Happy Birthday to his on-air co-anchor. Throughout the episode, people express shock that the song is copyrighted. My favorite line, when told that the song is held by Mildred and Patty Hill is someone on the show exclaiming: "It took two people to write that song?" Anyway, I felt the same sort of shock in learning that the ever-popular (actually, increasingly less popular) Dewey Decimal system found in most libraries is not only not in the public domain, but the organization that owns it actively goes after anyone who dares classify things using that system without paying up first. Their latest target is none other than The Library Hotel, a luxury hotel overlooking the NY Public Library, who dared to name their rooms after the Dewey Decimal System, without first buying a license. The owners of the system now want triple the hotels' profits since they opened in 2000. Seems a bit excessive for a set of numbers. The best quote, here, however is from the lawyer of the group who owns the System: "A person who came to their Web site and looked at the way (the hotel) is promoted and marketed would think they were passing themselves off as connected with the owner of the Dewey Decimal Classification system." That assumes anyone in their right mind actually had any clue that there was an owner of the Dewey Decimal System. I'll admit I don't know enough about library science, but surely it's about time that someone came up with an "open source" classification system.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    nil-ram, Sep 22nd, 2003 @ 12:13am

    Library of Congress classifications

    There is an alternative to the Dewey Decimal System, being the one used by the Library of Congress. It's already widely used by university libraries. I don't think you have to pay to use it, but they might report you to homeland security.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    lman, Sep 22nd, 2003 @ 1:13am

    Re: Library of Congress classifications

    There are some interesting issues with regard to Copyright and the way that LOC works - I don't know the details but a lot of places stick with the Dewey because of the problems with LOC. (Check out the discussion of this on /. for more details)

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2003 @ 1:27am

    Just numbers

    Period is the 3-digit separator in other countries
    (period and comma usage is reversed).

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Michael M, Sep 22nd, 2003 @ 1:29am

    Stupidest off-topic comment possible

    Err, one insightful question:

    Hey, which channel is rerunning Sports Night? I missed most of the eps. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 22nd, 2003 @ 1:37am

    Re: Stupidest off-topic comment possible

    Hey, which channel is rerunning Sports Night? I missed most of the eps. :)

    Sorry... it was on DVD...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Michael Armstrong, Sep 22nd, 2003 @ 5:53am

    Re: Stupidest off-topic comment possible

    Comedy Central runs them on Sunday nights (Monday mornings) at about 0200 CDT which would make it 0300 in New York. I'm not sure what it would be points West of the Twin Cities.
    Sports Night is one of those shows I can watch over and over and never get tired of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    August Jackson, Sep 22nd, 2003 @ 6:59am

    Seinfeld Quote on DDD

    A really great quote on the Dewey Decimal System occured on the episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry discovers he has a book that's been overdue since something like 1972. Kramer is heard to comment, "The Dewey Decimal System? What a scam that was!"

    Now we know it's true, eh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Elizabeth Scott Valek, Dec 3rd, 2004 @ 10:43pm

    Sued for Dewey Use

    Well folks, guess who owns Dewey? OCLC, my friends! Library of Congress has LCC and OCLC has DDC!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    amoy halstead, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 5:56pm

    omg

    i found this very interesting and it helped me with my h.w i had.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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