Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Copyright, copy-wrong and Netflix

First, from a month ago, some thoughts on copyright based on a composer's experience. I am not sure where I picked up this article which talks in general terms about the attitudes towards intellectual property and the rights of the creator. I was very much interested in hearing directly about a creator's experience. In this case a composer who had an online interaction (discussion is not just the right description) with someone who was giving away his creation.

As I reflect on this, I remember the whole issue with Napster and Kazaa. It is that experience that I am sure is reflected in some of the digital rights management software which is used with commercial audio and video.

Which then gets us to today and licensing and Netflix. (And may be related to libraries lending e-readers such as Kindles and Nooks, but that includes actually loaning a physical device which includes the electronic media.)

So the "Netflix "buzz'" is really more about terms of service than copyright, but it sort of is about copyright since in this case, Netflix is acting like libraries do with books, except that all the rules are much more complicated!

I picked up on this with Iris Jastram's post on terms of service. Michael Stevens had a guest post on his blog about the basic service as it is being done in one academic library. (Is this the original source?) Meredith Farkas had some insightful comments (as usual), which were picked up in several places. On the Library Law blog (a great resource for librarians who need to know about the law and libraries), Mary Minow talked about the legal issues involved.

Jessamyn includes links to many of the above, but one thing she said hit home with me: "The big issue is that Netflix is responsible to their main customers, the studios..." Hmmm, are the studios the main customers, or are we (the general public not just librarians or our libraries)?

Somehow, I wound up at The Consumerist, who adds this thoughtful bit:
Is this a violation of Netflix's terms of use? Yes. But the librarians don't particularly care, and Netflix doesn't seem to, either. Yet. As a Netflix spokesman said, "We just don't want to be pursuing libraries."
I am not totally sure what to think, other than to opine, that this is all part of the huge intellectual property/digital rights management/first sale controversy that will ensue as we move away from physical media to downloadable media.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Blogger - How the hell do you give them feed back

Ok...I know that this is a free service. But, did you know that it is next to impossible to find a way to send them a message???

It may be one of the few places on the web where there is no way to give input on changes.

Today when I logged in, I find that I am required to use my Google/gmail account. This is even though, I established this blog with a different email.

Why does that matter? Well, if I want to log out of editing the blog, I am automatically, and unceremoniously dumped out of my gmail account.

As with so many Google "enhancements" (and similar to the "features" provided in Microsoft upgrades), it was unannounced (even though they *do* have my email address...or two!).

What is up with that? Look at what happened to Jstor.

Wordpress is beginning to look good.....

September Links #1

The title assumes that there will be at least one other post with links this month.

From Salon, comes and an article about the trouble with Google Books.

And here is an interesting take on the concept of privatizing public libraries from Google's staff futurist. Not sure what to think about this.

Stephen Abram has a wonderfully thoughtful post about our freedoms and rights called
We strengthen our rights by exercising them. I highly recommend it!

There was a interesting series of articles about ALA's Midwinter and Annual meetings and the possibility of Reed Exhibitions taking over the management of the conferences and perhaps combining Annual with the BEA trade show. I first caught the Library Journal article which cited an article in PW. [Both LJ and PW used to be owned by Reed, but they are now separately owned by others.] ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels denied this was happening. My first clue was that I cannot find anything in the ALA Executive Board documents which refers to it, and secondly, the PW article talks about a combined ALA/BEA event in the summer of 2012 in Chicago -- when ALA's conference is scheduled to be in Anaheim. ALA will next be in Chicago in 2013. The schedule of dates and locations for ALA Conferences is set well in advance, and is currently planned through 2019.

Somewhere I came across this explanation of net neutrality on the Criminal Law Library Blog. It includes links to the AALL (American Association of Law Librarians) statement on the issue.

Kate Kosturski Librarian Kate wrote some interesting perspectives about the de-professionalization/professionalisation discussion which took place just before Labor Day.

Sarah Houghton-Jan asks questions and posits some thoughts about how libraries (particularly public libraries) are handling music in this day of downloads. I don't know the answers, but do know that it is something we need to think and worry about.

And finally some fun (with a shout out to Michael Sauers from whom I got this):

Monday, September 06, 2010

Book Review: Save the Last Bullet for Yourself: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia

I don't generally do book reviews. I am making an exception. In this case, I actually know the author of Save the Last Bullet for Yourself: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia by Rob Krott. Rob and I have met a couple times while on vacation.

The book is a memoir, and therefore told in the first person. I can so very much hear Rob telling this story. [That is a good thing, authenticity is important.]

Now, I am not a big gun person. Rob is. There is a lot of detail about munitions which went totally over my head. On the other hand, Rob also spends time talking about group dynamics and personal interactions. He has dealt with a variety of very "interesting" people in his travels. His education with the Franciscans at "St. Bony" and at Harvard Grad School do show through. I also don't want to discount the training from the US military over the years.

I wish that the book had maps for both Bosnia and Somalia. I am, in some ways, a typical American with only limited detailed geographical knowledge of Bosnia/Croatia and Somalia. I will say, that remembering those conflicts, I did gain more insight to what was going on in each of the situations.

I could see a talented scriptwriter making an interesting movie or semi-documentary from this memoir. I hope that Rob and/or his agent can find one.