LJNDawson.com, Consulting to the Book Publishing Industry
Book Publishing Industry Consultant

Legal blog urges poaching of BISAC codes

I ran across a weird little post today on the legal blog Slaw, a Canadian site devoted to "Canadian legal research and IT":

If you're working on a simple taxonomy of legal topics, you might take a look at the Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) subject headings for law....I imagine, not being a copyright maven, that this sort of list is in a grey area, keeping company with compilations and tables of contents. I understand from some personal experience that it takes effort and creativity to elect a set of terms within a discipline and to order them. You'd be hard pressed, though, to prove that with a few twists here and there a list wasn't arrived at independently ? and, more to the point, perhaps, these are such broad terms and so basic to legal work and promulgation no one should be able to stand in the way of their free use. Which is why I think the routine overreaching of copyright notices like this one are silly and maybe harmful: "No part of the attached documents may be? reproduced in any manner whatsoever?"

Well, if this guy had sat in on the meetings during which these subject lists are composed, along with all the publishers, booksellers, librarians, and others who fly to New York once a month and bust their butts on this, perhaps he wouldn't see the copyright notice as being particularly "overreaching". 


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