Monthly Archives: May 2005

Bolivian Activist HipHop & Copyright

The NYT ran an article today (5/26) about rap/hiphop music in Bolivia. Young artists are using hiphop & rap to get their message of social justice, democracy, and peace. One young artist talks about copyright infringement:

The one CD the rappers recorded, called “Wayna Rap,” sells robustly on the streets of El Alto, pirated by the hundreds – just as the rappers like. “I do not live off hip-hop, and I did not plan to,” said Grover Canaviri, 23, who sings for the Clandestines. “I do not care if my music is pirated. The money is not important. What we want is to send out our lyrics so they can influence.”

— Juan Forero, Young Bolivians Adopt Urban U.S. Pose, Hip-Hop and All, NYT 5/26

New Yorker on ID: the Unseen Urban Planner

The New Yorker has an article evaluating the <cough cough> science of intelligent design.

Most amusing (and insightful) quote (from discussion of Behe’s “irreducible complexity” argument):

It’s true that when you confront biologists with a particular complex structure like the flagellum they sometimes have a hard time saying which part appeared before which other parts. But then it can be hard, with any complex historical process, to reconstruct the exact order in which events occurred, especially when, as in evolution, the addition of new parts encourages the modification of old ones. When you’re looking at a bustling urban street, for example, you probably can’t tell which shop went into business first. This is partly because many businesses now depend on each other and partly because new shops trigger changes in old ones (the new sushi place draws twenty-somethings who demand wireless Internet at the café next door). But it would be a little rash to conclude that all the shops must have begun business on the same day or that some Unseen Urban Planner had carefully determined just which business went where.

Et tu, Louisiana?

Not content with their shared top-ten ranking in teen births, Louisiana State Rep. A. G. Crowe (R-Slidell) wants Louisiana to join with Oklahoma and Alabama in segregating (or banning) gay books.

Good for you, Rep. Crowe. You tackle those problems that Louisiana is facing (high cancer mortality rates, high teen pregnancy rate, low education rates, high infant mortality rate) by, umm, micro-managing library collections. Let me know how that works out.

annoying me today

So far today I am thrice annoyed:

  • Multiple Double Standards: NY Sex Offenders Get Viagra [5/23] Jesus. Get over Viagra already. What is with the guys running the guvmint? “According to [NY State Comptroller Alan] Hevesi, the problem is an unintended consequence of a 1998 directive from federal officials telling states that Medicaid prescription programs must include Viagra.” Who are these mysterious unnamed federal officials? Could they be … men? And how did they feel about birth control? Last time I looked, the federal government & states like Missouri were trying to make it harder more difficult for women to get family planning, including birth control.

    Look, I support prisoners’ rights, and adequate medical care is a right. The problem isn’t prisoners, who will get tossed to the curb by any politician trying to prove they’re tough on crime. The problem is with the double standard that treats Viagra, a recreational drug designed for men, differently (and better) than sex toys or birth control, both of which most directly benefit women.

    Ought I also point out the role of Big Pharma, which still holds viable patents on Viagra & similar drugs, but which has generic competition for many birth control formulas?

    And finally, as long as we’re on the topc of “recreational drugs”, compare: “Since it was approved by the FDA in 1998, about 16 million men have tried Viagra, according to Pfizer.” (1) and “Over 83 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once.” (2) … And health risks: 60-120 deaths directly related to ingestion of Viagra (3, 4) vs. 0 deaths directly related to ingestion of marijuana (5).

  • The Filibuster Compromise. Salon.com’s Tim Grieve says, patronizingly, that “if we’re confused” about who won, we should look to the wingnuts frothing over the compromise to assure ourselves that the Democrats won. Well, whoop-de-fucking-doo. The Democrats did indeed win exactly what they wanted to win: preservation of the judicial filibuster. How did they win this brave victory of exactly what polls show that most Americans want? By giving up whatever principles they claimed to have had that inspired the filibusters to begin with. This leaves us exactly nowhere, except with 3 more life appointments on the bench, and a new set of “but he said” whines for the next round.

  • Double Standards, Again: In Montgomery, a Catholic HS Girl who’s pregnant was refused permission to walk with her graduating class [St. Jude Educational Institute Class of 2005], although the boy who made her pregnant was allowed to participate. She walked on her own, anyway, but her mother and aunt were then “escorted out of the church by police”. The Red Hot Chili Peppers said it best: Catholic School Girls Rule. As for the school’s actions, it’s a Roman Catholic HS, a private entity, so I sort of don’t care, but then again, I sort of do, because the double standard pisses me off.

    Now, I have it on good authority that the school system in Montgomery sucks, so I understand what might drive parents to take their children out of the public system and pay to send them to a Catholic HS. A little reminder about just why there are so many private “religious” schools in Alabama: Desegregation and racism. Once public schools were forced to integrate, many racist white folk took their children out of public schools and into a horde of new private “religious” schools. With so many white folks sending their kids to private schools, funding for public schools has never gone anywhere — Alabama continues to use its sales tax to fund its public schools, leaving that poor benighted state with one of the highest sales taxes in the nation. (School funding is shared between state & city/counties, so local governments have incentive to keep sales taxes high — in Huntsville, AL, for instance, the sales tax is up to 10%, and no exceptions for food, you uppity poor people!) Even with a ridiculously high sales tax, the school system is still really crappy & under-funded (6, 7). So you can understand parents being willing to send their children to be indoctrinated in private schools, especially Catholic schools which were usually set up independently of desegregation. So I’m sorry for the family which did the best they could for their daughter, who was then treated like shit by the backwards-ass Catholic school.

    Oh, Alabama, I mock you but you make me sad.

name changes & blog comment-discussion threads

A couple of blogs [Matthew Yglesias, Volokh Conspiracy 1 and 2] have been running long comment-thread arguments about US women changing their names on marriage. Most comments fall into one of a few categories:

  1. Rationalizing / defensive about the decision w/in their marriage for the woman to change her last name to the man’s: “It wasn’t a big deal for her to change her name … She liked his name better … She didn’t really care about her name ” [Seen mostly on Volokh 1 and Yglesias]

    Wow. That so many literate folk could completely ignore the effect of socialization and sexist traditions is rather astonishing, but there you have it, the same old lines: “I got breast enlargements because they make me happier.” Almost none of these people up-front said, “It’s a silly and sexist tradition but I think there’s an independent value in following traditions anyway,” “I did it without much examination because it seemed like the thing to do, and you’re right, that was a result of sexist social pressure (but I don’t care / I regret it),” or any other response that would have indicated consciousness of themselves as individuals within a larger social framework. No, these were all free individuals, no social pressures here, move it along. Can there be individual situations and individual reasons for going with the convention? Sure, of course. But for so many people to claim the convention had nothing to do with their decision, and yet their decisions all followed the convention, is classic lack of political self-awareness.

  2. Rationalizing and silly. “We did it for the children; think of the children!” (Variants: Well, we couldn’t hyphenate; what would happen when our children wanted to marry some other hyphenated children?)[Seen mostly on Volokh 1]

    Think of the children? What? Numerous people asserted that children were better off if their parents had the same name as each other; or if the children had the same name as the parents. Where is this coming from? I’ll tell you: This kind of statement is just the most obvious recitation of a belief described as a reason. Not once did anyone even pretend to cite to some sociological data showing, I don’t know, family unity, family happiness, divorce rates, child identification with parents, or any other piece of admittedly subjective and silly data to support these arguments.

    I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt when I say that they can’t really think that children are better off objectively, because after all many of them seemed aware that there are numerous different naming traditions in different cultures and times. So they must just think that children are better off because other children in this culture have that experience. The same reasoning of course explains why some folks continue to have unnecessary genital surgery on male infants and why people used to stay locked together in unhappy marriages: “Little Johnny will be so unhappy if he’s the only one with divorced parents / uncircumsed penis / different name than his parent!” It’s a reason, but I have trouble respecting it.

    (As for hyphenating: What a silly argument. It almost pains me to have to point out that (1) Your patrilineally single-named children may marry some hyphenated-name child and have to deal with the issue anyway, and (2) Let them figure it out when they grow up. If they have a hyphenated name, they have more names & syllables to play with as they devise their own family name and figure out how to name their children.)

  3. Dismissive: “Does this matter any more? … Feminism has moved on … Name changes are irrelevant …” (plus sarcastic variants of this) [Seen on both Volokh blog entries and Yglesias]

    These people are socio-politically naive. Are non-legally-mandatory name changes for adult women on marriage the biggest issue that human rights people ought to be dealing with? No, it ranks well below female genital mutilation, reproductive rights, equal employment rights, etc. But the existence of a gender-based tradition that came from, co-exists with, and supports sexism is different from a hypothetical gender-based tradition that has nothing to do with sexism.

  4. Here’s our great compromise: She uses both our names! (mostly on Yglesias)

    I’m not sure whether the “She kept her name as her middle name” and “She kept her name as her first last name, i.e., Paula Jones Smith” fall into category 1 or 2. In the modern US-Anglo tradition, without hyphenation, only “Smith” is treated as the family name / surname. So this is some sort of compromise which tries to fit into both traditions. B for effort, I guess. Was she the only one or did he do it too? Do they really use both names? Might be interesting to know how that works out for people.

  5. Self-congratulatory: “She kept her name … We’re a great liberal couple.” (mostly on Yglesias)

    Right. And yet so many of these people, both in these blog comments and among folks I know, give their children the man’s last name. Apparently without much consideration.

    IMO, an adult woman choosing to take her adult male spouse’s last name in accordance with an admittedly sexist tradition is, you know, whatever. I wouldn’t do it, and I don’t like the outcome on a society-wide basis when some large percentage of women do it — but whatever. They’re grown women, with their own names, and they can change them if they want to.

    Frankly, I get much more annoyed by the continued patrilineal naming of children.

What didn’t I see? Nobody, not one person on any of the comment trails (when I saw them, although admittedly I scanned quickly because it was just such an annoying set of threads), brought up same-sex couples. Very few people brought up blended families. And non-marital families were brought up only, so far as I could see, in the context of sarcastic “Well why don’t you get rid of all the traditions and just not get married, Mr. Modern Feminist” type comments. And non-Anglo/US naming traditions were brought up only to demonstrate the point that other cultures have different naming traditions. Only one comment seemed to notice that there are non-Anglo naming traditions present here in the US today! All of these are groups of people dealing with the name issue and what it means to other folks right here in the US, and how to deal with a dominant naming tradition.

So little light, and not even much interesting heat. This just confirms my suspicion that blog comments are really not interesting ways to have a discussion. There’s no threading; there’s no individual responses to individual comments. Blog comments do seem interesting when someone adds information. Volokh’s original post was a query, and many of the responses came was answers; the whole entry + responses therefore acted as an informal survey, which was interesting use of comments. But the discussion value was poor, poor, poor. Yglesias’ blog discussion was no better. Pfah. Maybe it will improve as the technology improves.

guvmint

The Poor Man explains checks & balances & the US government in commenting on the Newsweek thing:

Our government was set up two centuries ago by a group of men, some quite clever, who expected that it would be administered by the corrupt, the cowardly, and the stupid – in other words, by human beings. Checks and balances were put in place so that one branch’s cowardice could be employed to counterbalance another’s corruption, with the stupid serving to restrain the other two. By and large, we have elected the sort of men the Founders trusted we would, and so things have generally worked as intended.

Equally important was that the players in this clown show would be accountable to the people they represented. Now, the people would be stupid, cowardly, and corrupt as well, for such is the nature of people, but, through the miracle of thermodynamics, the voting process would cancel out individual eccentricities leaving the only free parameter The National Interest. All in all, the worst idea anyone has ever had for running a government, except for all the others.

There’s a lot of other good stuff including the Bill of Rights explanation and the tie-in to the Newsweek thing.

foglio comic online !

Kaja Foglio & Phil Foglio have taken their Girl Genius comic online. Here’s Phil writing about why:

So- Here we are, several weeks into The Great Experiment. So far no one has been able to find another example of an established comic jumping directly to full-time free online mode. There are any number of examples of comics that have gone the other way, in the mistaken belief that printed comics are a vital, glamorous artform that will bring their creators vast amounts of money, respect and dates.

Unfortunately, this is true everywhere in the world, except the United States.

In Europe, comics are printed exclusively in full color on a pure linen paper that the E.U. has designated, by law, as being exclusively reserved for comics. These comics are leather bound, and sold in trendy boutiques. The creators are feted by royalty and treated like rock stars by the general populace.

In Japan, if a comic doesn’t sell seventeen million copies every week and become a hit anime series, the entire creative team and their families are branded failures and are expected to do “the honorable thing”. Of course, no one is quite sure what this mysterious “thing” is, since no manga series, no matter how idiotic, ever fails to sell less than seventeen million copies every week and become a hit anime series.

But here in the United States, the country that gave comics to the world in the first place, more people willingly read bad science fiction about worlds where everything is just like Earth, but everyone is an ocelot or something. Some of this, I believe, is because of the fabled crushing of the comics industry that took place in the fifties. However, that excuse is close to sixty years old and is getting a bit weak. A lot has to do with the Comics Industry, which has labored mightily to suck as hard as it possibly can in the intervening years.

But the biggest competition has come from stuff that is FREE!

Television? Free. Radio? Free. The Internet? Free. Comic books? Four bucks for twenty two pages of people beating each other up which you read and toss in five minutes.

To me it is obvious that if we want to compete with other forms of entertainment, we have to keep up with them. When they hit upon something that works. Steal it. In this case, the business model that says, “Give your product away for free and hope they like it enough to pay money to own it in a material form.”

Others have done it. Can we? We shall see.

As for how well the experiment is working: Well, it’s working on me, because now I know about the very cool comic and as soon as I make my way to a comic shop with some $$$ to spare, I’ll invest. It was many years ago that I ran across their art in Magic: The Gathering and I’m pleased to reacquaint with them now. A thousand blessings on the Internet!

unsex me — no, really

  • Richard Nathan has written shakespeare parodies, and actually had them produced. I particularly like the title of “Scots on the Rocks” (MacBeth). Performance could be amusing — I did chuckle over Lady MacBeth’s “unsex me”:

    .
    .
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    S
    P
    O
    I
    L
    E
    R
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    (and when did it become the thing to do for mainstream media to provider spoiler warnings? it seemed like it was a fan/geek thing, and now all of a sudden, very very mainstream. or has it always been thus?)

    Act I, Scene 5:

    Lady MacBeth: Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here!

    The witches move to center stage, singing and dancing. Lady Macbeth doesn’t notice them.

    WITCHES
    (singing)
    We’ll unsex you here!
    Do not show any doubt or fear!
    Just growl and sneer,
    Scratch your crotch,
    And swig a beer!
    And we’ll unsex you here!

    The witches gesture magically. There is an explosion of flash powder, and suddenly Lady Macbeth has become a man – a tall, waspish man, with a neat little mustache. I will continue to refer to Lady Macbeth as “she” in the stage directions, but starting from here, for as long as she lives, she should be portrayed by a man.

    and later:

    Act 5, Scene 5:

    Two servants enter, carrying the body of the Queen. It is the female version of the Queen, as she was before she was un-sexed. The servants lay the body of the Queen before Macbeth.

FOIA in India

The world’s largest democracy has passed a revised FOIA bill [Times of India 5/22]. The new FOI requires even “notified intelligence and security agencies” to “provide information on questions of corruption and human rights violations”. The paper notes that “This is important for enforcing accountability on such agencies especially where misuse of laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act have alienated local populations.” A wise idea.

must…quote…court case

The plaintiff and the defendant were in a long-term committed relationship. Early in the morning of September 24, 1994, they were engaged in consensual sexual intercourse. The plaintiff was lying on his back while the defendant was on top of him. The defendant’s body was secured in this position by the interlocking of her legs and the plaintiff’s legs. At some point, the defendant unilaterally decided to unlock her legs and place her feet on either side of the plaintiff’s abdomen for the purpose of increasing her stimulation. When the defendant changed her position, she did not think about the possibility of injury to the plaintiff.

(italics added by me)

blog trail: via MA Lawyers Weekly via Wampum

space weapons

Re-assuring words from our Glorious Leader’s curiously independent-minded military leaders:

“We haven’t reached the point of strafing and bombing from space,” Pete Teets, who stepped down last month as the acting secretary of the Air Force, told a space warfare symposium last year. “Nonetheless, we are thinking about those possibilities.”

The Air Force believes “we must establish and maintain space superiority,” Gen. Lance Lord, who leads the Air Force Space Command, told Congress recently. “Simply put, it’s the American way of fighting.” Air Force doctrine defines space superiority as “freedom to attack as well as freedom from attack” in space.

Apparently, Star Wars is not a successful defense program! It’s a movie, instead:

The Air Force’s drive into space has been accelerated by the Pentagon’s failure to build a missile defense on earth. After spending 22 years and nearly $100 billion, Pentagon officials say they cannot reliably detect and destroy a threat today.

Tired of waiting around for that tedious old bureaucracy, the Air Force is leading us into a bold new destiny! Is the Air Force some kind of independent super-military agency now? Why is the Air Force coming to the Glorious Leader to authorize their own separate special “Air Force” weapons? Doesn’t this seem a little, well, “precious bodily fluids” to anyone?

“Space superiority is not our birthright, but it is our destiny,” he told an Air Force conference in September. “Space superiority is our day-to-day mission. Space supremacy is our vision for the future.”

For background details: fafblog 5/19; NYT 5/18

excellent reading

others speak so i don’t have to:

and other things i’ve read recently:

Mercury Rev, 50 Cent & Halsey Burgund

The Boston Phoenix ran this article (“Singled out: Mercury Rev’s big Internet gamble” by Mac Randall) [5/19]. Mercury Rev is experimenting with “building fan anticipation” by releasing the album in EP-size dribs and drabs, via iTunes, and then pulling the EPs:

The CD won’t reach stores till May 17. But on January 25, an EP with selections from the disc went on sale on the Web through iTunes. Six weeks later, another EP with a different set of Secret Migration songs went on sale as the first EP was pulled from iTunes. The process repeated again six weeks later, with a third EP replacing the second. Once the album goes on sale in stores, all of the songs will again be for sale on-line, but the EP configurations will be a thing of the past. (Unless, of course, you want to program them into your iPod that way.) More to the point, every song on the CD will have been made available to the public well in advance of the “release date.”

What about the possibility that downloading will destroy the album sales? The company’s marketing director had this to say:

So far, according to Dan Cohen, the iTunes EPs’ sales figures are “good but not astounding. My head of sales hates when I say this, but the greatest thing that could happen is that there are so many MP3s circulating on-line that we’re like, ‘Oh God, this might hurt sales.’ It hasn’t happened yet.”

Jason Schultz posted 50 Cent’s answer to a similar question (from Spin, cited in copyfight):

Selling music is like selling drugs. If you want your clientele to keep coming back, you need to consistently supply a quality product. People know what they want. People talk about how the music industry is struggling, but there’s no strain on Eminem records. There’s no strain on the Game. There’s no strain on 50 Cent records. My first album was downloaded 300,000 times before it went on sale, but we still sold 872,000 copies the first week and 822,000 copies the second week. I don’t believe in the oversaturation of a quality product.

Relatedly, Halsey Burgund, here in MA, just started a new project: he’s making a compilation of musicians saying, “I am a musician, and I support file sharing” (and whatever they want to add about why). [i followed the link from respectp2p.org 5/10]

update 2005/8/24: another 50 Cent story, this time on 50 cent’s position re: a trademark / right of publicity issue.

thought thieves

ping made [5/15] a fun observation about microsoft’s “thought thieves” competition. Remember? MS’ competition for short films involving about ‘intellectual property theft’? They want you to assign all your moral rights etc. Ping has the language.

btw — i note that moral rights vary from country to country but in at least some places they are explicitly not assignable and in others they are nonwaivable. i wonder if nationals from those countries are ineligible to participate in the MS “thought thieves”?

and finally, a minor rant — “thought thieves”. Thought thieves? This is taking “a penny for your thoughts” just a little too far.

(1) Thoughts. Cannot be the subject of copyrights, patents, or trademarks (yet).

(2) Thieves. Thieving, stealing, and piracy take the stolen thing away from the original holder. The original holder had an item, and now no longer has it, because the thief has it. There’s one item, and it shifts possession, and the original holder is deprived therefore of the possession, use of and access to the item. Got it? Copyright infringement, on the other hand, copies or performs or distributes without permission. It does not remove the original item from its holder. Copyrighted goods are non-rivalrous. Copyright infringement ≠ theft.

update 2005/10/31: And the winners are … [link from gnuosphere 10/23]

blatant copyright infringement!

Cool archive of NYC hip-hop posters from late 70s/early 80s. Reprinted without any permission from the poster designer(s), so far as I can tell. Why, that’s blatant COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT !!! Why, s/he’s a — a — a Pirate, that’s what. A Pirate and a Thief. Posting this archive, without seeking the copyright owner’s permission and perhaps paying a handsome licensing fee, why that’s like taking the lawnmower out of the garage of the poor hapless poster designer(s) or their great grandchildren or maybe their corporate assignees.

Luckily the US Copyright Office is looking into the problem of orphan works. Orphan works are those works that are copyrighted, but you can’t locate the copyright-holder to ask their permission to do something with the work.

Why is this a problem? Well, thanks to the 1976 Copyright Act (USC Title 17), all fixed works of original authorship are automatically copyrighted, without the copyright owner having to do anything (like putting a © symbol on the item). So, you know, that post-it note you left for your spouse/mate this morning — that’s protected by copyright! You “fixed” it by writing it down, and the threshold of “originality” is very low — so nobody better mess with your copyright by trying to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform or display, or derive any works from that post-it note, without your permission. And those hip-hop party flyers? They too were copyrighted upon fixation, and whether or not the creators felt the need for or intended to have criminal and civil penalties attached to their illicit reproduction. [See also US DOJ.] Illicit reproduction any time within 70 years after the original creator died, I might add.

Deep breath. The wicked foolishness of some laws just makes me kinda crazy. Sorry for the heavy sarcasm. Especially sorry for heaping scorn upon the value of the post-its and email jottings of the world, which are richly deserving of all the copyright protection that can be mustered for them. If we don’t copyright everything, then some iota of value might possibly escape exploitation! Oops. Sorry, slipped again. Sarcasm ranting hat officially OFF, and Serious Working hat, back on.

hearing on federal prosecution of artist

Federal prosecutors responded yesterday (5/17) to a motion to dismiss federal wire fraud charges against artist Steven Kurtz (Critical Art Ensemble). This bizarre & ridiculous prosecution continues against all common sense, which I can only guess is par for the course for the Ashcroft/Gonzalez DOJ.

derived from: ap 5/17 and caedefensefund.org press release 5/17

2008/4/25 update: Nice to be able to come back to something with a happy ending, even years later. Sivacracy reports that the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the criminal indictments were dismissed. Finally some freakin’ justice.

where is the heavenly response?

on may 17th, it will have been a whole year since Mass. started providing same-sex marriage licenses, and i’m still waiting for the quick and appropriate heavenly response. maybe the very cold weather here in mass., which seems unseasonable to me, is the heavenly response? my same-sex semi-lawfully wed spouse & i will keep a close eye out tomorrow for further developments.

<smirk>

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update: 5/19: nope, no apocalypse / heavenly wrath yet.

some fun parodies & pastiches

cory doctorow & john scalzi & others discuss SFWA & ‘piracy’

cory doctorow writes about SFWA’s ongoing campaign against copyright infringement (Why writers should stop worrying about “ebook piracy”– boingboing 5/14)

cory also cited from & linked to john scalzi writing about the same thing (The Stupidity of Worrying About Piracy 5/13).

personally, i much appreciated john’s description of how he feels about readers who can’t pay — borrowers rather than thieves:

Who are pirates? They are people who won’t pay for things (i.e., dickheads), or they’re people who can’t pay for things (i.e., cash-strapped college students and others). …

As for the people who can’t pay for things, well, look. I grew up poor and made music tapes off the radio; my entire music collection from ages 11 to 14 consisted of tapes that had songs missing their first ten seconds and whose final ten seconds had DJ chatter on them; from 14 to 18, I taped off my friends; from 18 to 22 I reviewed music so I could get it for free. And then after that, once I had money, I bought my music. Because I could. As for books, I bought secondhand paperbacks through my teen and college years. Now I buy hardbacks. Again, because I can. Now, being a writer, you can argue that I’m more self-interested in paying for creative work than others, but I have to honestly say that I don’t know anyone who can pay for a book or a CD or a DVD or whatever who doesn’t, far more often than not.

I don’t see the people who can’t pay as pirates. I see them as people who will pay, once they can. Until then, I think of it as I’m floating them a loan. Nor is it an entirely selfless act. I’m cultivating a reader — someone who thinks of books as a legitimate form of entertainment — and since I want to be a writer until I croak, that’s a good investment for me. More specifically, I’m cultivating a reader of me, someone who will at some point in the future see a book of mine of the shelf, go “Scalzi! I love that dude!” and then take the book off the shelf and take it to the register.

i haven’t read his books but i love that dude!

and then john’s posting was followed by many comments from other writers … among them, scott westerfeld … which led me to scott westerfeld’s new blog. scott posted (without worrying about copyright violations!) on his blog a copy of a letter from a reader who sent him a “token of appreciation” after reading his novel in a bookstore. then scott discussed his feelings on sharing (okay) and mass for-profit reproduction (not okay) and reminded us all that writers are not the whole industry, that publishers and editors and libraries need love too.

… and it all led me to hilary rosen (!) complaining about DRM! consumer unfriendly, she says. user unfriendly. irony is not dead, after all.

the protocols were followed

in the recent governmental panic attack about the cessna, White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan says that there was no need to notify Bush because “the protocols were followed”.

so … we get a glimpse into the fact that we don’t actually have a Glorious Leader. and it turns out that we don’t actually need a Glorious Leader, either — just “the protocols”, which were probably drafted by a functionary or perhaps a committee, and were carried out by “highly skilled professionals”.

derived from: editor & publisher 5/12 (hilarious) [linked from the light of reason] & sat a.m. news-in-bed with the semi-lawfully wedded