Not too long ago, the NY Times ran a major article concerning the Malloch Rare Book Room at the Academy. The link is here, but you may have to register to read it. Enjoy!
Archives for March 2005
Grokster, Copyright, and You
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.
State of News Media: 2005
“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.”
From today’s NY Times
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.
Something to Think About
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.
An Update on the Status of Freedom of Speech & Expression in America
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.”