Archives for March 2005
There’s an editorial in today’s NY Times on the subject of whether people who use P2P software like Grokster (who is arguing their case in front of the Supreme Court this week) are breaking copyright, and by so doing, breaking the law. The short version is, well, yes, they are. When you download music from people other than authorized distributors, you are in fact, both breaking the law as it’s written, and you’re taking money out of the pockets of artists who create such products. Being a writer myself, I know how much that hurts. I mean, if I put a manuscript or an article on the web and send a link to it, that’s one thing. I’ve made a choice to share my stuff with the world for nothing. If my publisher does the same thing (and which has been done in the past), that’s their choice according to the contract we have. But if you find a copy of one of my old books and scan it and then send those images around, then Dude, I could have used those royalties. The only time I can see getting around this is material that is no longer in print or otherwise available to the market.
I know, I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here, because I’ve used these programs to grab mp3s of songs I just can’t find in stores or online, and I’m convinced that a lot of people who are reading this (or not) are doing the same thing. I think it’s rare that anyone actually uses this method to acquire music or videos or TV shows on an exclusive basis, however. Most people I’ve spoken to will still plunk down $15 to get a CD from their favorite band or a $20 for that DVD that they absolutely must have. I spent serious money on the Lord of the Rings boxed sets that I probably could have acquired with a broadband connection, a huge hard drive and a few weeks of patient sifting through networks. It was a choice.
I guess my point is that it probably doesn’t hurt too much to download a few songs to see if you like a band . . . but if you do, show them you like them and buy the CD. Independent bands and film makers that avoid the megacorporations and established distribution networks need the money even more. The least you can do is to throw them a few bucks.
“The past year was an interesting—and not altogether positive—one for the media. There was the rise of blogging, the Bush administration-produced “reports” during election season, the revelations that several reporters had been paid to tout government programs, and the continued move toward faster, flashier news coverage. In its second annual “State Of The News Media” report, the Project For Excellence In Journalism extensively reviewed the media’s work and trends among newspapers, magazines, broadcast, online news and the ethnic press. Among the findings: verification in journalism has fallen off in favor of assertion; broadcast news is reaching a transition point; and we’re not nearly as partisan in our news consumption as we’ve been led to believe.”
This also comes from the “Something to Think About” category. I lifted it in its entirely from today’s NY Times which, I know, is not strictly within copyright, but since all the attributions remain and it wasn’t altered, I think it’s permissible. Enjoy.
The quasi-political rant below the link is something I posted on my Livejournal account earlier. I hadn’t really planned to talk about Terri Schiavo . . . I’d intended to write about Google (and I did . . . sort of), because Google Scholar is a big deal to me, mostly because I can’t imagine how they’ll bring it online on time and on budget. The copyright issues alone are staggering, and the XML is no less daunting to think about. At any rate, I started writing and it went somewhere I hadn’t planned on. I know this is a library blog (or it’s supposed to be) but there’s no rule against being a librarian and having an opinion about something. The trick is not for us to never have opinions, but to not let our opinions interfere with our willingness or ability to find an answer to someone’s question. Even if we don’t agree with their politics. I suspect that’s a hard beam to balance on, and since I don’t work the reference desk at the Academy I don’t have to worry about it often. Still, it remains something to think about.
This comes from Michael Masterson in today’s issue of his e-zine ‘Early to Rise’:
"Bad news: A bill in Congress is giving the FCC the right to fine TV sponsors up to $500,000 per incident for any programming it deems indecent. This year’s Super Bowl carried an ad for GoDaddy.com showing a busty woman in a tank top being interviewed at "Broadcast Censorship Hearings" when her strap snaps and nearly repeats Janet Jackson’s famous stunt. Fearing FCC disapproval, the Fox network pulled the ad. This follows the decision of 66 local ABC stations to ban "Saving Private Ryan" from broadcast.
Some good news. Howard Stern, the FCC’s whipping boy, is not disappearing. Instead, he is going to Satellite Radio, where (so far) the FCC has no jurisdiction.
More good news. The FCC won’t be able to control the latest form of radio broadcasting – something called podcasting. Like blogging, podcasting relies on the Internet to transmit the individual broadcasts of anyone who has access to the Internet, an Apple iPod, or any MP3 player. One example of the way this is being used: Kids are doing their own music shows at universities all over America.”
It’s difficult to know exactly what to post here. I see a lot of stuff come across my desk as I check in journals every day and sometimes an article title grabs my attention. Sadly, that hasn’t happened today (not yet anyway). Part of the problem is that I have this compulsive need to read absolutely everything I find during my lunch hour web surfing but that’s partly genetic . . . my mother has the same problem, except with her it’s newspapers (she keeps them for weeks at a time because she can’t get rid of one without reading every damn article in there, and she subscribes to several). I set up a bunch of links to websites that I like to read consistently (if not religiously) on the left margin . . . take a good look through those and you’ll notice that there’s a wacky variety of subjects and points of view. That’s another part of the problem—I rarely can bring myself to dismiss the other guy’s perspective out of hand. I mean, come on, I’m not that smart. Few are. How do I know that the guy I’m arguing with doesn’t have a good point to make? The answer is simple: I don’t. So, I read the political stuff on the left and right, and pick and choose what arguments and evidence makes sense to me. Call me a coward if you wish (others have) but that’s how I do things.
I like to read, I like to know how things work, I like to think about whether an event or an idea comes from the process or is some kind of fundamental truth, or something in between. And I like to argue, especially with folks who know how to argue (few do . . . I blame the colleges). So that puts me here, back to square one, wondering what I’m going to post here today. Right now. Right . . . NOW!
Now for a new experiment: moblogging! I’m e-mailing you from my cell phone! Buwahaha!
Every now and then I get news of an event at the Academy. The various research departments hold meetings, talks, and professional get togethers and such like, and some of the topics are pretty interesting, even if you don’t happen to be a medical researcher. At any rate, if it’s open to the public, I’ll post it here, so if you have the time and inclincation, consider attending.
Lectures and Events from the Section on Health Care Delivery for April and May 2005.
"We all like getting mail, and soldiers stationed far from home or recovering from war injuries in a veterans’ hospital really
like getting mail. So go through your bookcases and closets and dig out
those books you don’t read. Got duplicate copies of books or DVDs? What
about recent magazines? The Books For Soldiers program sends "care pacakages for the mind"—books, DVDs
and magazines for servicemen and women overseas and in hospitals at
home. Just sign into the site, browse soldiers’ book requests and send
your package." ACT NOW
Okay, the XML feed on Livejournal seems to be working now . . . it lists entries in a wacky way, however. But the posts are clearly described by title, post date and time posted, and nothing appears to have been randomly clipped, so I’m in no shape to complain.
At any rate, if you’re reading this and want to add it to your LJ account, click on the link above, and add the feed to your friends list. If you’re not on LJ, and these instructions are gibberish, then don’t worry about it.
Here’s an experimental post . . . testing the syndication code.
Edit: Hmm. The feed doesn’t seem to be working . . . I think I have a new project on my hands. I’ll let y’all know.