Spoken Language Services - Courses on FSI Languages Website?

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Speakeasy
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x 1988

Spoken Language Services - Courses on FSI Languages Website?

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:42 pm

Yesterday, under the discussion thread "Spoken Language Services - Ceased Operations", I advised that I had received the following Email from the owner of the business:

"Spoken Language Services ceased business as of January 1, 2017, and the website was taken down shortly after that. We are no longer accepting or processing orders. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this causes. All the best."

This morning, I sent Emails to ericounet and to the owner of Spoken Language Services containing a proposal that the "Spoken xxx" courses be hosted on the FSI-Language-Courses website as has recently been done for the Cortina language courses. Frankly, I see this project as a "long shot" that, even if approved, would require the contribution of many volunteers ... still ...

EDITED: typos, formatting
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n_j_f
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Re: Spoken Language Services - Courses on FSI Languages Website?

Postby n_j_f » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:58 am

Speakeasy wrote:Yesterday, under the discussion thread "Spoken Language Services - Ceased Operations", I advised that I had received the following Email from the owner of the business:

"Spoken Language Services ceased business as of January 1, 2017, and the website was taken down shortly after that. We are no longer accepting or processing orders. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this causes. All the best."

This morning, I sent Emails to ericounet and to the owner of Spoken Language Services containing a proposal that the "Spoken xxx" courses be hosted on the FSI-Language-Courses website as has recently been done for the Cortina language courses. Frankly, I see this project as a "long shot" that, even if approved, would require the contribution of many volunteers ... still ...

EDITED: typos, formatting


Great idea! I found the Spoken Russian course fantastic for getting to grips with the Russian case system and declension. Arguably, any well-constructed audio-lingual course (e.g. Modern Russian, Cortina Conversational Russian, etc. would have achieved the same effect, but it would be a shame to see these texts disappear. My understanding is that the SLS courses played a role in the development of the FSI and similar programmes (like DLI, etc.); for this fact alone, it is worth preserving for its historical value.

Thanks, Speakeasy for contacting Spoken Language Services for the update and here's hoping we get a positive response. I'll be glad to help acquire some of the courses and digitise the audio. Perhaps someone more adept could assist with converting the books into searchable PDFs (definitely NOT my forte).
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Speakeasy
Blue Belt
Posts: 854
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
x 1988

Re: Spoken Language Services - Courses on FSI Languages Website?

Postby Speakeasy » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:02 pm

Subsequent to my initial post, I have twice requested whether or not there has been any progress on the proposition that permission be granted for the hosting of the “SLS Spoken …” course materials on the FSI-Yojik website. Alas, my Emails have gone unanswered ... I fear that this parrot is dead. Bereft of life, it rests in peace.
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Speakeasy
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Posts: 854
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
x 1988

Re: Spoken Language Services - Courses on FSI Languages Website?

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:55 pm

Introduction
Under a separate discussion thread, it has been suggested that there is reasonable justification to proceed with a project the goal of which is the hosting of the Spoken Language Services language course materials on the FSI-Languages website. I have prepared a reply which I will be posting in the discussion thread in question. Nevertheless, with a view to maintaining the this particular discussion thread, I have decided to copy/paste the text of my prepared reply below.

Copyright Status of the USAFI “Spoken Language” Series
Random Review has offered the at-first-glance-reasonable suggestion that the collection of 78 rpm records that I purchased are proof that these materials were produced by the U.S. Government (United States Armed Forces Institute, USAFI) and that, as a result, they should be considered as being in the public domain and therefore can be made freely-available to the public via the FSI-Languages database and any other means of publication. Although I, too, am not versed in Copyright Law, I would suggest that the matter of copyright is, at the very least, not clear.

First, it would appear that the “Spoken Language” series of courses were prepared in the mid-1940’s under the aegis of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Linguistic Society of America for the account of the United Armed Forces Institute (USAFI). Over 30 languages were covered in the series and individual authors were involved in the conception of courses covering either specific languages or groups of them. I have two copies of the Spoken German course in which the advisory notice “Copyright, 1944, By Linguistic Society of America” appears. Used copies of these “USAFI” editions are still available for purchase. Since, generally speaking, U.S. Law recognizes copyrights for a period up to 70 years subsequent to the author’s demise, I would conclude that the original copyrights and/or any transfers of the rights are still valid.

Second, I would note that the American book publishing company, Henry Holt and Company, published their own edition of these courses in the late 1940’s. My copy of "Spoken German" by this publisher contains the annotation Copyright, 1944, Linguistic Society of America and, while it does not specify precisely under what authority this series was published, it does contain the habitual notice that no part of the material may be produced without written permission of the publisher. I would assume that Henry Holt and Company published their series having acquired the exclusive authority to do so from the copyright holders.. Used copies of these “Holt” editions are still available for purchase.

Third, I also have a copy of Spoken German published by Spoken Language Services, Inc., which contains the annotations: © Linguistic Society of America 1944 and © Spoken Languages Services, Inc. 1972, 1976. In the discussion thread “Spoken Language Services – Courses on FSI Website?”, I reported that I had received the following Email from the owner of the business: "Spoken Language Services ceased business as of January 1, 2017, and the website was taken down shortly after that. We are no longer accepting or processing orders. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this causes. All the best." As it turns out, I had been communicating with a former employee of the company who had kindly assumed the responsibility of responding to my inquiries. In our subsequent exchange of Emails, my correspondent identified the former owners of Spoken Language Services, Inc., and holder of the copyrights to these courses as being Mr. and Mrs. Ron and Mehri Cowan. Although my correspondent forwarded my three requests to the owners, wherein I proposed the free-to-the-public hosting of the Spoken Language courses on the FSI-Languages website, I never received a reply and I dropped the matter.

Fourth, while I would genuinely like to see the large collection of Spoken Language courses (well over 30) made freely-available to the public and would be willing to participate in a project in this sense, from my perspective, the apparent lack of interest on the part of the last-known holders of the copyrights to these materials to engage in discussions suggests that this project is not likely to succeed. Finally, given the unresolved matter of copyrights, I believe that the unauthorized hosting of these materials on the FSI-Languages website would be an unwise move as doing so would leave the entire contents of the website, including its very existence, open to legal challenge.

EDITED:
Revision to text concerning the "Henry Holt and Company" series
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