aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Alabama Day 4
Since 1973, 121 inmates in 25 states have been released from Death Row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C. In addition, thanks to DNA testing, dozens of others have been cleared in nondeath-penalty cases - exonerations that have called into question the reliability of eyewitness accounts, co-defendant testimony and even confessions in all kinds of criminal cases.
To put it simply, our system of justice isn’t as foolproof as many of us once thought. That’s why more than a dozen states have launched reviews of the death penalty, as more and more people come to understand that bias, poor legal representation, questionable tactics by authorities and charged emotions can send innocent people to jail and potentially to their deaths, while leaving guilty people walking the streets.
High praise for Google print
Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who teaches copyright, trade, and telecommunications, writing in Slate. You must read the whole thing, I’m incluging here a few favorite passages.
Defining the dichotomy:
Google has become the new ground zero for the “other” culture war. Not the one between Ralph Reed and Timothy Leary, but the war between Silicon Valley and Hollywood; California’s cultural civil war. At stake are two different visions of what might best promote authorship in this country. One side trumpets the culture of authorial exposure, the other urges the culture of authorial control. The relevant questions, respectively, are: Do we think the law should help authors maximize their control over their work? Or are authors best served by exposure-making it easier to find their work? Authors and their advocates have long favored maximal controlÃ¢â‚¬"but we undergoing a sea-change in our understanding of the author’s interests in both exposure and control. Unlike, perhaps, the other culture war, this war has real win-win potential, and I hope that years from now we will be shocked to remember that Google’s offline searches were once considered controversial.
What I’ve called the “exposure culture” reflects the philosophy of the Web, in which getting noticed is everything. Web authors link to each other, quote liberally, and sometimes annotate entire articles. E-mailing links to favorite articles and jokes has become as much a part of American work culture as the water cooler. The big sin in exposure culture is not copying, but instead, failure to properly attribute authorship. And at the center of this exposure culture is the almighty search engine. If your site is easy to find on Google, you don’t sue-you celebrate.
Authors are suspicious but it’s not Napster:
There’s a key difference between Google “Print” and the regular Google “Web.” On the Web search, if you find something, you can then just click through to the Web page. But using Google Print is different-you only get the results. To get the “full” result, you actually have to buy the book. This is a common misunderstanding about Google Print-it is a way to search books, not a way to get books for free. It is not, in short, Napster for books.
Then there’s this brilliant analogy:
The idea that there is no tradeoff between authorial control and exposure is attractive. But it is also wrong. Individually, more control may always seem appealing-who wouldn’t want more control? But collectively, it can be a disaster. Consider what it would mean, by analogy, if map-makers needed the permission of landowners to create maps. As a property owner, your point would be clear: How can you put my property on your map without my permission? Map-makers, we might say, are clearly exploiting property owners, for profit, when they publish an atlas. And as an individual property owner, you might want more control over how your property appears on a map, and whether it appears at all, as well as the right to demand payment.
Hundreds of gay and lesbian activists have staged a mass kiss outside the Brazilian Congress.
They were angry because Globo, the country’s main television network, cut the first televised gay kiss out of the last episode of a soap opera.
The protesters also demanded the legalisation of same-sex marriages.
After the mass kiss, they were received by the president of the lower house, who promised to try to move the proposed law [to allow single-sex marriages] forward.
Me a liberal hypocrite?
He recalled writing a skit called “Seamen on Broadway” that was rejected from the Hasty Pudding show “by some preppie so they could take some other preppie’s skit.” Franken started to smile again, but his tone was serious, too serious. “It’s not preppies, cause I’m a preppie myself. I just don’t like homosexuals. If you ask me, they’re all homosexuals in the Pudding. Hey, I was glad when that Pudding homosexual got killed in Philadelphia.” The smile became so broad it pushed his eyes shut. He couldn’t stand it any longer. “Put that in, put that in,” Franken laughed, leaning over the desk. “I’d love to see that in The Crimson.”
Here I’ll set aside the author’s own context for the comment - “It was hard to tell whether Franken was serious or not” - and agree that something a person said 30 years ago is worth noting. But what’s more important is everything they’ve done in their lives since!
Recall that I like forgiveness and rehabilitation and would like to see more of it in our culture. I’d also like to see more and more homophobes change their tune.
When they do, I for one won’t kick them, or call them haters, for what they said when they were.
Me a hypocrite?
I feel scolded for not pointing to Wendy Seltzer earlier.
When the National Academy of Sciences joined with the National Science Teachers Association to tell the Kansas State Board of Education that it would not grant the state copyright permission to incorporate its science education standards manuals into the state’s public school science curriculum because Kansas plans to teach students “intelligent design” Wendy wrote:
Apparently, the Kansas standards document quoted extensively from NAS and NSTA reports in the process of singling out evolution as a controversial theory. The organizations denied permission, but (and I haven’t seen the Kansas report myself) unless the use was so extensive as to misappropriate the organizations’ reports, it could still have been a fair use. (To be fair, the fault lies as much with the Kansas board of education for thinking it needed permission, if its uses were fair.)
Even though my politics are more flying spaghetti monster than “intelligent design,” I don’t think this is a proper use for copyright. Copyright is not about endorsement or agreement, and it’s not a right to stop criticism, even ill-considered criticism. Quotation can be fair use even in a context the original author abhors—that’s precisely when we need fair use most, we on all sides of a political debate.
I read that but did not quote or comment on it. Today Jennifer Granik asks, “Where are the copyright liberals when right-wing conservatives need us?”
Upon reflection, and setting aside the fact that election results in Texas and Wisconsin suggest they don’t need my help, I have no choice but to fess up. I’m guilty as charged. I wasn’t moved to write in defense of Kansas. Consider this my penance.
By the way, Ed Felton also saw it as misuse.