Publishing online is an increasingly prevalent means for scholars to test their ideas. But what of its challenges? Focusing on an ill-fated Web site dedicated to the polemic French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and on a proposed hypertextual edition of his most multilinear and multisequential work, this paper asks how to reconcile the need of academics with the bullheadedness of publishers who resist the renegotiation of copyright and the marketplace it (once) enabled.
Post-Print Protocol/s: File Transfer and Moral Law
Reinventing Céline: Towards the Genesis of Revelation
IntroductionDans le caractère de notre nation, il y a toujours une tendance à exercer la force, quand on la possède, ou les prétentions du pouvoir, quand on le tient en main.
- Gérard de Nerval, "Angélique"[...] je sais trop que, passé un certain point, une affaire vous échappe, pour ainsi dire... c'est-à-dire qu'une instruction ne peut pas revenir en arrière et que nous nous trouvons forcés de savoir ce que nous préférerions parfois ignorer.
- André Gide, Les Faux-monnayeurs
On the morning of 23 April 1999, what had for over a year been the most extensive Web site dedicated to the polemic French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline disappeared from computer screens the world over. Some three days later, it reappeared - but dramatically transformed, stripped of much of its rich content. The sober, indeed sobering explanation of why it had been inaccessible, why it had undergone changes was a poor substitute for the texts and photographs that had made it one of the most useful Web-based resources for Célinians and curious internauts alike. In the place of hotlinks that prior to its facelift had brought to the screen extracts of Voyage au bout de la nuit and Casse-pipe or obscure letters published for a specialized public in the Cahiers Céline, for example, was a personal account of outrageous events by Webmaster D. Desverite, who coordinates the ill-fated Céline site with Marc Laudelout, editor of the Bulletin célinien. In it, he deplores the cyberbullying to which he had been subjected and which, in a new technological age where, as Nelly Furman predicts, electronic communication will eclipse print , is certain to become increasingly prevalent unless measures are taken to prevent it. In a textbox on the Web site's main page with links to each step of events as they had unfolded, to reactions by visitors to the site, and to the legal branch (service juridique) of Editions Gallimard who had threatened him, Desverite provides the background for the decision by Céline's extra-protective publishing house to exercise its power, to (over?)extend the privileges of copyright. Making no attempt to disguise his irritation - indeed his outrage - that he had been forced to comply with Gallimard's wishes, at the same as insisting upon the legality of everything he continues to publish, Desverite writes:En raison d'une décision prise par la Direction juridique des éditions Gallimard©, il est désormais impossible de consulter des textes de Louis-Ferdinand Céline sur ce site ou d'utiliser des photographies dont les droits appartiennent aux éditions Gallimard©.
Voici les différentes étapes de cette querelle juridique.
Une page est destinée à recueillir vos réactions sur cette menace de mise en demeure.
Laissez-moi un message si vous souhaitez qu'y figure votre opinion, de même que les courriers que vous avez envoyés au service juridique de chez Gallimard©.
Les photographies se trouvant sur ce site ne font pas partie des archives Gallimard©.
Les citations qui se trouvent sur ce site entrent dans le cadre de L' ARTICLE 122-5 DU CODE DE LA PROPRIÉTÉ INTELLECTUELLE qui autorise la "reproduction partielle d'une oeuvre dans le cadre d'une citation, à titre informatif, culturel ou polémique, et sous réserve que l'auteur et le nom de l'éditeur soient clairement présentés."
(, underlined text indicates hyperlinked text)
What might we learn from this and similar recent episodes in our digital age about the challenges of online publication, a means for testing one's ideas that is on the one hand becoming more and more prevelant but on the other "un secteur encore balbutiant", as it is described in the Rapport de la Commission de réflexion sur le Livre numérique recently presented by Alain Cordier to French President Jacques Chirac ? How in an increasingly cybernetic world to reconcile the need of academics to publish in new ways in order not to perish with the bullheadedness of publishers who fiercely resist, George Landow warns us, any questioning of conventional notions of authorship, intellectual property, and copyright as if their livelihoods depended upon it ? In a time where print-based law seems outmoded and large markets appear poised to replace countries, the literary cultures and traditions they both represent and cherish , how successfully to renegotiate every fundamental principle of copyright and the marketplace that, Richard Lanham reminds us, it enabled ?
Post-Print Protocol/s: File Transfer and Moral Law
In order to publish his pages on Céline, Desverite had uploaded digitalized files to Infonie, his Internet service provider. With about the same facility, an unidentified representative of the biggest and arguably the most prestigious publishing house in France had in the late afternoon of 22 April sent him a sternly worded, if not menacing, e-mail message. The charges it contained had not only prompted the removal by Desverite's ISP of the allegedly incriminating materials but had also pushed Infonie to suspend his access to those other pages of his that were perfectly in line with the law. Having first been reminded in this e-mail that Editions Gallimard held the copyright to the oeuvre his Célinian Web site publicly celebrated, Desverite was informed that no matter what his intentions were in creating and maintaining his site, for him digitally to display legally protected works required prior authorization:Quelles que soient vos motivations, nous attirons votre attention sur l'interdiction qui en résulte de toute représentation, même partielle, de ces oeuvres dont les Éditions Gallimard sont cessionnaires des droits. En l'occurrence, leur adaptation et leur représentation sur écrans reliés à des réseaux impliquent tant au titre des droits patrimoniaux que du droit moral, l'autorisation préalable et spécifique de l'éditeur d'une part, de l'Auteur ou de ses Ayants droit d'autre part.
Petty as the charge that Desverite had failed to seek appropriate permission for providing online access to the various textual extracts and photographs of Céline may seem to those in fields other than law, in the eyes of Editions Gallimard it was a serious one. But they needed a better reason to force the issue and thereby to ensure that the contents of Desverite's entire Web site be legally sanctioned. Hence to add a sense of urgency to their case and suggesting that a premeditated crime had been committed, they trumped up their charges against him. In addition to Desverite's illicit publication of texts by and photographs of Céline that were part of the Gallimard archives, the Webmaster was thus also accused of displaying nefarious anti-semitic works by Céline that the prolific writer's ayants droit had years before insisted be removed from circulation permanently and never be published again. For Desverite deliberately and digitally to have disseminated the so-called Célinian pamphlets, they argued, constituted a brazen act of disrespect for France's moral law (droit moral) and would, they warned him, certainly have serious legal consequences should he fail to comply with their wishes and remove them from the Web site he and Laudelout maintained. Insisting on the heightened gravity that publication of these pamphlets would bring to the case that Editions Gallimard could level against Desverite in court, the publisher's representative added:Relativement à l'oeuvre de Louis-Ferdinand Céline une telle démarche s'impose d'autant plus que les Ayants droit de l'Auteur ont décidé au nom du droit moral, que les pamphlets (Bagatelles, L'École et Les Beaux draps), dont ils ont conservé l'intégralité des droits de propriété littéraire, ne feraient plus l'objet d'une quelconque communication au public.
En créant ce site Internet vous avez offert la représentation de même que permis la reproduction d'oeuvres protégées et ainsi commis un acte de contrefaçon susceptible de sanctions pénales.
C'est pourquoi nous vous demandons de faire cesser immédiatement ces représentations illicites et de vous abstenir de toute tentative de communication au public des pamphlets, qui vous exposeraient à de sévères poursuites judiciaires que les Ayants droit de Louis-Ferdinand Céline et les Éditions Gallimard ne manqueraient pas d'entreprendre solidairement à votre encontre, à défaut pour vous d'avoir fait le nécessaire et de nous avoir confirmé par écrit, sous huitaine, l'abandon de votre projet.
Nous vous prions de considérer la présente comme valant mise en demeure.
Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de nos sentiments distingués.
La Direction Juridique 
As Desverite points out, however, this second accusation by Editions Gallimard was manifestly false. Although, he explained, many pirated editions of the pamphlets still exist in print, and with the first one hundred pages of Bagatelles pour un massacre, for instance, available online at a different location, his site neither had a link with nor to these controversial texts. In his response to Editions Gallimard, Desverite expressed surprise that such a charge be brought against him. Indeed, it seemed as though they had not even taken the trouble to verify the accuracy of their accusations. "En ce qui concerne le problème relatif aux pamphlets," Desverite wrote in his defense, "il n'a jamais été question de les publier sur ce site (vous avez pu vous en rendre compte si vous avez pris le temps de le visiter...)".
Nevertheless, despite Desverite's earnest attempt to save face, Editions Gallimard were determined to show their publishing might. As the most powerful maison d'édition in France, they would stop at nothing to close down the site that Desverite and Laudelout had maintained with impunity - and which paradoxically had for a time even been linked, as though officially sanctioned, to the Montréal Web site of Editions Gallimard. In retrospect, the week-long window that Céline's publisher had appeared to grant the Webmaster to comply with the law in their e-mail to him was, it seems, as much a virtual illusion as his digitalization of Célinian works had been a concerted effort to defraud them. Rather than to acknowledge or even respond to the detailed e-mail message Desverite had in good faith promptly sent them upon receipt of the threatening message from their counsel, Editions Gallimard wrote directly to Infonie, Desverite's online "publisher". They strongly protested the ISP's role as accomplice: Infonie's facilitation of access to materials they deemed on the one hand their own and on the other inappropriate for publication.
As a consequence, Desverite's entire Web site was taken off-line and his internet service suspended. Jean-Philippe Carbonel, of Infonie's legal department, was quick to inform him that the content of his pages was "problematic" ("pouvait être de nature à soulever une difficulté au regard des droits de propriété intellectuelle dont les éditions GALLIMARD seraient cessionnaires").
In the account of ensuing events he has since published online, Desverite explains that he promptly responded to Carbonel. Céline's publisher had, Desverite insisted to Carbonel, taken issue with his publication of their own copyrighted texts but not with his Web site as a whole. Desverite's Internet service was, as a result, restored and his appropriatedly modified Web site republished online on 27 April. But he would be expected strictly to respect Infonie's code of ethical conduct and thus refrain from including on his Web site unauthorized sounds or images, racism, prostitution, pornography, advertisements, and anything else whose online publication might be deemed illegal .
Might Infonie have acted any differently had Editions Gallimard protested the content of their client's Web site some three months earlier? The ISP's move rapidly to shut down Desverite's site - "leur décision cavalière", as he terms it - was no doubt influenced by the "brouhaha de discours"  concerning what is right and wrong, legal, and illegal on the Internet. After all, shockwaves were still being felt at the time from the lawsuit Estelle Halliday had won against Altern, the unlucky ISP that had hosted SilverSurfer, a site displaying photographs of scantily clad French celebrities. Alleging that the frequently visited site included "une dizaine de photographies strictement privées, la représentant dénudée [...] au moyen de serveurs fournis par les services d'un site dénommé [...] www.altern.org/silversurfer, et que les clichés diffusés étaient accessibles à tous les utilisateurs, sans restriction d'accès", Halliday's lawyer had successfully sued Valentin Lacambre, the owner of Altern, for some 400,000 French francs. Economically crippled, as a consequence, the targeted ISP had ceased to operate. Rather than have risked meeting the same fate as Altern - which has only recently been resurrected and has reestablished a presence on the Web, thanks in large part to the support of thousands of French internauts who, as Libération reports, showed that "une législation appropriée sur la communication sur Internet faisait défaut en France"  - Infonie chose temporarily to shut down the site of one of its users.
As Arno argues, unless the draconian laws governing cyberspace are modified, the immediate economic consequence of ISP accountability for what they host will be bankrupcy. By extension, all ISPs will, he believes, gradually disappear from France:aucun hébergeur ne peut supporter les charges de condamnations à répétition. Si à la moindre photo de star, à la moindre parodie de nom de marque, l'hébergeur est déclaré responsable et condamné à hauteur de 300 000 ou 400 000 francs, c'est le dépôt de bilan rapidement. Un hébergeur n'est pas un magazine people tirant chaque semaine à plusieurs centaines de milliers d'exemplaires, les rentrées d'argent (quand il y en a) sont uniquement publicitaires, rentrées qui sont loin de couvrir de tels frais. 
But besides the increased threat that Gallimard's mise en demeure poses to the "biodiversity" of the Web , for Desverite it sets a troubling precedent and raises urgent questions. First, the problem of freedom of expression on the Internet. To what extent, he wonders, will publishers be able to modify the contents of the World Wide Web simply by snapping their fingers? Second, the seeming overzealousness of Infonie. Did the ISP really have the right to remove Desverite's site from the Web before informing him - to say nothing of truly understanding the nature of the charges leveled against him (and his site) by Editions Gallimard? Third, the "Céline" problem. Desverite believes that Gallimard's insistence on the pamphlets in their e-mail to him reveals the publishing house's paranoia and its fundamental discomfort with the antisemitism conjured up by the very name of Céline:Céline pose un réel problème de fond aux éditions Gallimard. La lettre met très clairement l'accent sur la mise en ligne des pamphlets de Céline, jamais réédités depuis 1942. Il n'a pourtant jamais été question de les "communiquer au public". Pourquoi mettre cet argument en avant ? Je m'étonne qu'une bonne partie de la lettre porte sur cet aspect.
Fourth, the problem of control. How to regulate the huge number of Web sites created and modified daily? Editions Gallimard, Desverite claims, cannot possibly prevent anybody from publishing Céline's pamphlets, should he or she desire:De toute façon, Gallimard ne peut empêcher personne de le faire - matériellement et juridiquement - avec les possibilités offertes par Internet de contourner la loi française.
And fifth, the issue of torts. How, Desverite asks, can such a site possibly cause any harm to a publisher which has long ceased republication of the letters of an author for which it holds the copyright?Un tel site cause-t-il du tort à un éditeur qui ne publie pas les correspondances de Céline mais qui en détient le copyright, un tel site cause-t-il du tort à un éditeur qui ne réédite pas la collection des Cahiers Céline depuis plus de 10 ans? À titre indicatif, les textes intégraux de Céline qui étaient disponibles sur le site étaient des textes difficiles d'accès à cause de ce manque (Trois des Ballets, Hommage à Zola, À l'agité du bocal, Qu'on s'explique, etc.). 
Desverite's questions are certainly cogent not only in the case of Céline but of any writer whose works might be (re)published on the Web. But his rhetoric detracts perhaps from the more pressing question underlying all the issues he raises. Does hypertext not make untenable, as Landow would suggest, the very conception of literary property that Editions Gallimard seem to be fighting so hard to preserve in this case ? Or, as Lanham asks, how is the intellectual fabric - with copyright law at its heart, which in turn is based on print, which was invented when print was invented in order to protect it, and which has been stretched to protect images and sounds - completely broken down by electronic text ?
Together with our changing understanding of authorship, the nature of virtual textuality challenges print-based conceptions of intellectual property in an age of the digital word and image. Landow reminds us that virtual texts exist only as easily copiable and modifiable versions, derivatives of something else. By contrast, the traditional concepts of literary property on which Editions Gallimard base their claims against Desverite derive, Landow adds, from ideas of original creation - authorship and creativity (or originality). These ideas stem in turn from the existence of multiple printed copies of a text that is both fixed and unique.
James Boyle recognizes in his study of the construction of the information society that the law works to often outmoded conditions. If current United States law is any indication, his belief that crucial precedents will be made by those unaware of differences between physical space and virtual space  is justified. For the legal system, Arno tells us, still approaches problems deriving from the Internet, for example, as though these two spaces were one and the same, "selon les schémas des lois régissant la presse" . Within the first chapter of the Copyright Law of the United States of America (which addresses the "Subject matter and Scope of Copyright"), works to be judged as being "created" under current law are still defined as "fixed in a copy." Moreover, such works can, the law states, only be "fixed" in "tangible medium[s] of expression" when their embodiment in a copy by or under the authority of their author is "sufficiently permanent or stable to permit [them] to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration" .
Copyright cases can no longer depend upon a "final cut," a fixed version upon which to base legal arguments, for electronic text processing, which changes, Landow notes, "all aspects of the text that had made conceptions of authorial property practicable and even possible" , defies proverbial wisdom. Because it is so easily replicable, one can, Lanham observes, "have [one's] cake, give it away, then eat it, and still have it."  The electronic word, which exists in potentia as what it can become and in the genetic structures it can build, is essentially essence-, substance-less. It seems to resist ownership. How to litigate such a case if there is no such cut, no such version? How, Lanham asks, do we invest an intellectual property in an intellectual potentiality? How to confront the dilemma that electronic text poses to the humanist world and thereby to avoid plotting new epicycles on a Ptolemaic cosmos? 
Reinventing Céline: Towards the Genesis of Revelation
Back in 1993, Lanham fleshed out the legalistic thorniness of the electronic word by way of a hypothetical edition prepared by an enterprising young scholar of a famous novel with a "vexed" textual history. He describes the edition the following way:It will include all textual possibilities plus suggestions as to their relationships. These will be presented in certain carefully determined, related ways; the reader can dial up, as it were, different coherent combinations of alternate readings. And with them all the available, or at least all the good, commentary on the text, embedded behind a set of "buttons" that are reader-selectable. This commentary will be indexed to individual passages in the text and cross-indexed by a user-selectable group of categories. Various recorded readings will be available, too, as well as animated three-dimensional diagrams illustrating basic stylistic patterns. Surrounding the whole will be a pedagogical framework with user-selectable levels. If you want guidance on how this text-delivery system might be used in secondary schools, you make the appropriate selections and a suggested pedagogy is offered. For various university applications, specific guidance is likewise offered. And the whole is conceived on an open structure: each user can make comments and these will become part of the program. 
Now that same year, Henri Godard suggested that the ordering and makeup of the manuscript versions of Céline's least-studied novel, Entretiens avec le Professeur Y - a work whose own vexed textual history is evident in Céline's Lettres à la N.R.F. (1931-1961) - as they had been housed at New York University's Fales Library was incorrect. Hidden within the seven versions of the work previously believed to exist, Godard had uncovered two more. The two stages of the work traditionally discussed by critics needed to be inverted, he argued. 
Inspired both by Lanham's hypothetical example and Godard's expressed hope in Les Manuscrits de Céline et leurs leçons  that work on Céline's multi-versional texts incorporate new technology ("tienne compte au fur et à mesure des recherches en cours en matière de traitement par ordinateur des textes variants et veille dans la mesure du possible à pouvoir à un certain point de son déroulement être relayé par ces moyens nouveaux d'analyse et de diffusion"), and recognizing the novelist's insistence in Entretiens avec le Professeur Y on completion and divulgence, his seeming sacralization of the punctuational network established by the points of suspension joining his ideas, and his desire that the emotions of the reader be surreptitiously engaged, that there be the impression of a direct connection between the text and the reader, we argue in "From édition numérotée to édition numérique" that a hypertextual edition of the work would be both timely and appropriate. Virtual presentation, we observe, promises most accurately and completely to exemplify the full range of its texts and relationships and to engage active reader-collaborators. We therefore propose that the work be published in toto in digital format on the World Wide Web and that the theoretical possibilities of versioning and the practical capabilities of hypertext at the same time be fully engaged so as to foster renewed interest in Céline's multilinear, multisequential work. Just as Entretiens avec le Professeur Y is centered around, constructed to reveal Céline's art poétique, a hypertextual edition with links to and between all nine of the versions recently unveiled by Godard and to a complete range of paleographical and typographical evidence would - while building upon and extending the work's dialectic of incompletion/completion - also permit critics more thoroughly to trace the genesis of revelation at its heart.
Such an edition would ideally include: accurate, authoritative versions of the text (including critical reconstructions); digitalized images of the original manuscripts and printed pages; rekeyboarded or optically converted texts of printed pages; keyboarded transcriptions of manuscripts, or more manipulable electronic texts; and tools for selecting and comparing versions, constructing new and possibly more representative versions of the text on the basis of all information made available, and for integrating study with other available scholarship and criticism.
In republishing Céline's work in virtual form, no one version of it would be privileged. Readers would not find themselves forced to reconstruct a variant of the text from a skein of footnotes, as they have to with the printed Pléiade edition, for example. Reconstruction of the version one might have read at a particular date would, as a result, be a simpler task than in such an edition which radically distorts our experience of reading by the very fact, Landow insists, that it enforces a static, frozen model on what was really a continually shifting and changing entity . In rereading Céline's work hypertextually we would in effect be reading a work reinvented for hypertext. But this would also be to reinvent the work with each reading of it. In such a numerical edition - a true network of shifts and changes out of which it is shaped and reshaped, as a network of texts, relationships, evidence, and lexia "external" to it, whether commentary on it by other authors and parallel or contrasting texts, primary or otherwise - readers would not only better be able to appreciate, indeed embrace its fluidity, but would be more actively aware of their role in the metaphoric subway transporting them; they would consequently be more engaged participants in the extensive network holding it and everything that it contains together.
With the intention of attracting overdue critical attention to Céline's work, the latest means of analysis and transmission of texts could be integrated in this hypertextual Entretiens avec le Professeur Y. As Jerome McGann points out, when books or hard copy texts are used to study other hard copy texts, the possible results are seriously limited by the scale of the tools. When we study the physical world, for example, it makes a great difference if the level of analysis is experiential or mathematical . Echoing Godard, McGann therefore pleas for computerization to be integrated into textual analysis and transmission. Like McGann, John Lavagnino believes that we live in an age where the display of reading texts can and should be supplemented by the analytical tools that scholarship demands for working with multiple versions and that would make hypertextual editions more complete. Because in working with and within a hypertext edition, scholars invariably oscillate between reading versions of a work in their entirety and studying those versions and their relationships, it would be essential to faciliate reading and to provide useful digital tools for selection, comparison, construction, and integration. 
Assuming that the edition of Céline's Entretiens avec le Professeur Y we propose were indeed prepared and published and that neither Editions Gallimard nor Céline's ayants droit ever acknowledged or responded to requests for "autorisation préalable et spécifique", all the questions Lanham asks of his hypothetical edition would still apply. Rephrasing, retrofitting them for our Célinian example, we could ask whether Céline or the editor-publisher of such a digital Entretiens avec le Professeur Y "wrote" the text. Would royalties need to be paid to Editions Gallimard? As a work that in the print-based world of Céline studies is original in its conception and realization, is it copyrightable "expression" or an unprotected "idea"? And are all of its textual uses "fair"?  Or can it only be used for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research?  As long as the application of copyright law to networked information itself remains a "vexed area" that has not been addressed much in the law or the courts , all of these questions remain very much up in the air.
So, as we usher in a millenium characterized by a decreasing number of avenues for traditional publication - the demise of university presses and print-based journals, for instance - and as we tentatively step, sometimes staggering from the printed to the pixeled word  in our respective bids for tenure, promotion, status, or even one-year contracts, is it possible to publish without perishing?
Just as there is no guaranteed formula for academic success, neither is there any foolproof guide one might employ to avoid getting caught in/on the Web. But for the virtual present of the Internet Revolution, at least, perhaps our best option is to look back at the same time as we look forward. As we attempt to master the intricacies of PDF, GIF, and FTP and to prompt new ways of thinking and writing about texts, we might cherish a print-based relic of the distant past - explicit written word dating from Marie-Antoinette's day, from the revolution par excellence. As Arno explains, even if hosted by an ISP physically based outside the hexagon, a Web site that is accessed from France is still subject to Gallic law ("L'hébergeur") - this despite the fact that "le caractère mondial d'Internet pose le problème de l'application des lois nationales" . As global citizens, therefore, let us hold above all others the fifth article of the Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen of 1789 which states: "Tout ce qui n'est pas défendu par la Loi ne peut être empêché, et nul ne peut être contraint à faire ce qu'elle n'ordonne pas". For now, while we savor the (temporary?) freedom that derives from our legal infrastructure's move from "une logique de reproduction à une logique de représentation" , while we weave an increasingly intricate web and chart new directions for our own professional growth, let potential litigators - ayants droit, publishers, or others - eat cake, so to speak. Easily replicable, there is and always will be more than enough of it to go around.
About the AuthorBrian Gordon Kennelly is an Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Webster University, St. Louis.
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Paper received 6 July 2000; accepted 29 July 2000.
Copyright ©2000, First Monday
Caught in/on the Web: To Publish Without Perishing in the Digital Age by Brian Gordon Kennelly
First Monday, volume 5, number 8 (August 2000),