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Whose Body?

I decided to quit complaining about never getting enough sleep.

So, moving right along:
LibriVox volunteer and all-around awesome person Kristin Hughes discovered, a few weeks ago, that the 1923 copyright on Dorothy L. Sayers’s classic murder mystery, Whose Body?, had never been renewed — thus it was fair game (in the U.S) to be read aloud and made into a free, public domain LibriVox audio book. She graciously shared the honor of recording it with me, for which generosity I will forever be grateful. I’m not certain I would have been able to share so nicely if I were in her place :) She took the even chapters, and I took the odd.

We zipped through it in record time, with several proof-listeners helping out. Kristin cataloged the finished audio book today:

This is a cracking good story! I adored recording it. I’d read it years ago but couldn’t remember the plot at all, so it was a real delight to watch the story unfolding. This is the only Sayers novel that is currently in the public domain. Her others will not rise into the public domain for decades, and then only if the horrid, restrictive, pointless new copyright laws don’t get extended again — a fact which makes me literally angry with rage. (Thanks, Disney and Sony Bono and idiot government officials!) I want to record more Lord Peter Wimsey for the world to enjoy! Grr.

Promoting Science and Useful Arts: The Growth of Copyright Since 1976

As Lessig argues, copyright is robbing culture of its lifeblood—collaboration. Truly vibrant culture requires the freedom to build on, modify, and borrow from others’ work. Copyright makes this process difficult, if not impossible. The creator must apply for permission to use each recognizable source of inspiration, and must change his or her work if denied. Copyright expansion is pushing us toward a sterile, lifeless “culture” where everyone pretends to work in isolation, afraid that others will hurl accusations of theft and sue for damages.

Imagine if copyrights were limited to, say, 50 years after publication. We could record Catcher in the Rye. We could record Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984, as well as countless other less-famous works which are languishing, out of print and all but forgotten, off-limits far into the future.

Category: Blog 6 comments »

6 Responses to “Whose Body?”

  1. Chris Hughes

    Go Kara! I will add it to my to-read list. She (Dorothy) translated Dante’s Divine Comedy, by the way – brilliantly.
    I agree with you about copyright, and thank that Librivox is a great example of why the argument you cite above is true.
    Hoping you sleep well. You probably get more done while asleep than I do awake…

  2. Annie

    I took a one credit hour seminar course on copyright law over the summer and it is really infuriating to realize just how screwed up it is and how easy it is for people with money to pay politicians to do whatever they want so they can make more money. The original copyright laws as created by the Founding Fathers were intended to protect the rights of the creator for a LIMITED amount of time and then release the work so that it could become part of a common pool of creativity and inspiration for future creators. That balance is pretty much dead now, it’s all about the rights of the creator and not the public. I know I’m preaching to the choir but when I think about this stuff it fires me up. Oh, the books we could record if copyright only lasted 50 years! We could record East of Eden.

  3. soozann

    Hi Kayray

    I listen to books on CD and cassette every day, and want ot hear yours most of all. I just don’t have a clue what equipment/knowledge I need to download them??

    Love Auntie Susan

  4. kara

    Susan, go to the librivox catalog page (first link in this post) and right click the link near the top that says ” Zip file of the entire book (187.7MB)”
    Save the zip to your computer somewhere. When it’s finished (could take a while), double-click the .zip and it’ll unzip into a folder full of mp3s.

    Double-click an mp3 and it’ll probably start playing. If it doesn’t, download and install iTunes (free!)

    You can put them on an mp3 player, if you have one, or burn them to cd for the car if your computer is capable. If it’s not, tell me what you want and I’ll do it for you! I think you would love this book and so many of our others. oxoxoxo!!!

  5. Daniel


    My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed your reading of “Whose Body”, and I wanted to suggest another book you may be interested in reading for Librivox. These comments were the only contact method I could find.

    The book is “Scattergood Baines” by Clarence Budington Kelland:

    It is a collection of short stories about a strange man who moves to a small community and starts (benevolently) outsmarting everyone. This book, and indeed Scattergood himself, have been favorites of ours for many years and we believe your reading would likely do them justice.

  6. kara

    Daniel, that is a wonderful suggestion! Scattergood looks like a great book. I will be ready to start a new solo recording soon. It’s always hard to choose, but Scattergood is at the top of the list!

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