aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, October 14, 2006
How the RIAA Litigation Process Works
The RIAA lawsuits pit a small number of very large recording companies against individuals who have paid for an internet access account.
On the plaintiff’s end, the owners of the underlying copyrights in the musical compositions are not involved in the case; neither are many smaller record companies.
As to the defendants, since no investigation is made to ascertain that the defendant is actually someone who engaged in peer to peer file sharing of copyrighted music without authorization, there are many defendants who have no idea why they are being sued and who did nothing even arguably violative of anyone’s copyright. Defendants have included people who have never even used a computer, and many people who although they have used a computer, have never engaged in any peer to peer file sharing.
Sometimes the cases are misleadingly referred to as cases against ‘downloaders’; in fact the RIAA knows nothing of any downloading when it commences suit, and in many instances no downloading ever took place.
It is more accurate to refer to the cases as cases against persons who paid for internet access which the RIAA has reason to believe was used by some person—possibly the defendant, possibly someone else—to engage in peer to peer file sharing.
Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse
In response to the scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley, a number of conservative religious groups have claimed that homosexuals pose a substantially greater risk of committing sexual abuse against children than heterosexuals, and have issued papers citing a number of scientific studies to support these claims. However, when one examines the studies cited in these papers, one finds that the religious right has engaged in some serious distortion of the works of others. The scientists who authored the studies made no such claim about homosexuals posing a greater threat to children, and in fact in many cases argued the opposite.
In addition, many in the religious right have employed a version of the “slippery slope” argument, charging that the gay rights movement has led inevitably to tolerance for pedophilia by eroding all traditional norms of sexual behavior. However, the “slippery slope” argument is based on the false premise that the protection of children from sexual activity is a long-standing part of the Judeo-Christian ethic, which has only recently come under assault as a result of the gay rights movement. In fact, throughout most of history, the Judeo-Christian tradition tolerated and even approved of sexual relations between adult males and girls of twelve years of age or even younger. The contemporary taboo against sex between adults and minors developed only in the late nineteenth century, as societies became increasingly committed to the ideals of individual rights and personal autonomy, which led to concern about the possibility of coercion and exploitation in adult-minor relationships.
The other day I pointed to fervent and overt anti-gay episodes in Philadelphia and Sacramento. In these and other examples from around the country every day, gay people are equated with adulterers, fornicators, prostitutes, perverts and pedophiles.
What does this tell us about the public policy goals of these individuals and groups? I honestly don’t believe they think that through but it’s reasonable to infer a wish to go back to a time when homosexual activity was a crime.
I read this article when it was published last month. It’s stuck with me. Maybe if you read it it you will remember it too the next time you hear about some present day anti-gay activity:
On Feb. 4, 1957, a Guilford County grand jury emerged from its closed session and issued a bundle of indictments of a scope unlike any before or since Ã¢â‚¬” against 32 men accused of being homosexual.
After witnesses named the men during police interrogations, the suspects were tried one by one in a Greensboro courtroom for crimes against nature, almost exclusively with consenting adults.
The now-obscure episode, which some longtime residents came to call “the purge,” was the largest attempted roundup of homosexuals in Greensboro history and marked one of the most intense gay scares of the 1950s.
Unlike sweeps of subsequent decades, involving raids on public parks and gay bars, Greensboro’s 1957 trials focused on private acts behind closed doors.
The purpose, in the words of the police chief, was to “remove these individuals from society who would prey upon our youth,” and to protect the town from what a presiding judge called “a menace.”
Some 32 trials in the winter and spring of 1957 would end in guilty verdicts, 24 of them resulting in prison terms of five to 20 years, with some defendants assigned to highway chain gangs.
Based on dozens of interviews over a four-week period with those who recall it, this is the story of what happened.
I urge you to read on.
When is your birthday?
The modus operandi of Foley is particularly loathsome; I hadn’t thought it through before:
Georgia: a Cyber Police State
William Saletan examines the ironies in the Clinton and Foley sex scandals, “Clinton introduced us to the ambiguities of sex. Foley is introducing us to the wilder ambiguities of cybersex.”
His conclusion merits deeper consideration:
Georgia, for instance, forbids any “Internet contact” with minors involving “explicit verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexually explicit nudity” or even of “sexual excitement.” Actually, the recipient doesn’t have to be a minor. He can be anyone “believed Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ to be a child residing in this state.” You can charge Foley under this law even if he never goes to Georgia or writes to anyone there. All you have to do is meet him in a chat room, pose as an Atlanta teenager, and wait for him to say something gross.
If a pervert won’t act on his words, you can criminalize the words. If he won’t utter them, you can prosecute him for writing them. If he won’t come to your state, you can go get him. If he has no victim, you can invent one. This is no joke. In almost every state, laws specify that you can be convicted of an Internet sex offense against a child even if you contact no child and commit no physical crime. In fact, the most recently analyzed data, published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, suggest that more people are arrested for using the Internet to solicit cops posing as kids than for using it to initiate relationships with real kids. The unnatural has been surpassed by the artificial.
Cybersex is only getting weirder. Most Canadian college students surveyed by a dating Web site say they’ve already had sex through instant messages. By year’s end, more than 100 million people will be playing online games. Fifteen million Webcams are in use; hundreds can be viewed for a fee, and many are pornographic. You can even interact with a ”virtual girlfriend” on your cell phone. It’s a creepy world of imaginary meetings and deeds. The only thing creepier, perhaps, is to prosecute them like the real thing.
Emphasis mine. If the problem is a real and serious one, as I do definitely believe, then why do I bemoan these laws? And what policy prescription do I offer?
I have said again and again that the laws are ineffective. I have seen no evidence anywhere ever of efficacy, only the assumption that they work and cynical politicians fanning the flames of panic for their own electoral advantage.
I don’t have an answer but I do have a core belief that the panic must stop so that we can apply the findings of research that has already been done and move forward with more to honestly and effectively address the scale, scope and cause without creating an unwarranted police state in our online spaces.
Friday, October 13, 2006
The politics of sex offenders
Live by the sword, die by the sword. Jeanine pumps the numbers:
In press releases she issued over six years, Jeanine F. Pirro, the Westchester County district attorney, trumpeted the arrests made in Internet sex stings that her office ran.
By the time she left office at the end of 2005, that undercover pedophile operation had snared 111 men, including a Roman Catholic priest, a private-school headmaster, a New York City detective and a former Brooklyn prosecutor.
Now, as the Republican candidate for attorney general, Ms. Pirro has made her pursuit of these sex predators a central theme. Her campaign Web site says that the sting operation, which she started in the summer of 1999, led to the arrests of “over 100 pedophiles - with a 100 percent conviction rate.”
While Ms. Pirro’s press releases repeatedly pointed out that the crimes were felonies punishable by up to four years in state prison for each count, a review of the cases shows that the overwhelming majority of people received sentences that let them avoid extensive jail time.
It’s all about scare politics and faux public safety. Meanwhile the serious, legitimate and difficult problems we’ve got regarding the sexuality and sexualization of our young people and our culture get short shrift.
The public’s along for the ride ‘cause it seems like no one’s got a clue what to do.
We might start by getting real with the threat, real with the numbers, and take a real, hard, honest look at the problem. Here, for example, is a far different view:
Most sex offenders, says one therapist who works with sex offenders in a state prison system, are “Gentle grandfathers who made one mistake in judgment years ago and fondled their grandchild. Or lonely, geeky gay men--teenagers some of them--who sought mutual sexual release with adolescent boys. Or young female teachers who succumbed to the wiles of handsome adolescent boys or girls. Or young men who got drunk and pushed their girlfriends over a line that is now called date rape.” Yet the media, police, prosecutors and politicians continue to insist that children are in dire need of protection from serial rapists and murderers. Two-thirds of parents surveyed said they feared their children would be kidnapped and or murdered by strangers. Facts simply do not matter when hysteria is involved.
Pride protests from coast to coast
Anti-homosexual slurs flew through the air, as did the gay-pride rainbow flag, during an emotionally charged meeting of the School Reform Commission yesterday.
High school students, teachers and activists, some with emotion-filled voices, spoke out in support of the school district’s decision to recognize October as Gay and Lesbian History Month on school calendars for the first time.
Opponents said recognizing the month was an attempt by the district to indoctrinate students to the homosexual lifestyle. They said it was an insult to equate gay rights with the struggles of African-Americans for civil rights.
Some angrily asked the reform commissioners what group would they recognize next: Adulterers? Fornicators? Prostitutes? Pedophiles?
Over the last 18 months, Sacramento Russian-language church members have picketed gay pride events, jammed into legislative committee meetings when gay issues were on the agenda and demonstrated at school board meetings.
Incited by firebrand Russian Pentacostal pastors and polemical Russian-language newspapers, the fundamentalists turn out en masse for state Capitol protest rallies.
Last June, urging readers to attend a massive rally, the Russian newspaper the Speaker told them:
“Make a choice. It’s your decision. Homosexuality is knocking on your doors and asking: ‘Can I make your son gay and your daughter lesbian?’ “
In most instances, the Russian-speaking demonstrators far outnumber representatives from all other anti-gay groups combined. Anti-homosexual rallies that a few years ago attracted a few dozen participants now regularly draw hundreds and sometimes thousands, many with a heavy Russian accent.
Sounds like if we have any gay power, we better use it.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Time to build an ark
Is the Religious Right angry at the GOP? Is the Pope Catholic?
Coach Dave Daubenmire, in an open letter to James Dobson asking him to start a third party and to draft Roy Moore, the disgraced former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, to run for president in 2008:
Note to reader: Please forward to all Christian leaders that you know.
I write this letter to you as an admirer, and as one who is eternally grateful for all that you have done to fight for Christian values in America. Although fine Americans such as Don Wildmon, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Tony Perkins, Phyllis Schlafly, The Arlington Group and others have fought the fight as well, you more than anyone, are the face of the pro-family movement. You have the scars to prove it and I consider you an American hero.
But Dr. Dobson, it is time to build an ark. It is time to leave the Republican Party. Jesus will not ride into town on an elephant.
I know that seems like a radical move, sir, but it has become increasingly apparent that the core values of the Republican Party are not Christian values. It is time all Christian leaders ask ourselves if it is possible for God to bless a polluted party. Make no mistake, the Republican Party is polluted.
Green screen winner
Not nearly enough comment on the significance of Colbert’s Green Screen Challenge. TV Squad’s got some:
Last night, Stephen Colbert finally announced the winner of his Green Screen Challenge (which was not a contest). The competition had finally boiled down to two finalists… Bonnie R. and some random guy named George L.
Yes. Yes. George freakin’ Lucas made an appearance on the show to present his green screen entry.
biG Mail on campus, expands
Google has expanded its efforts to provide student e-mail services to colleges, and while some campus officials are not yet ready to hand over such a critical function to an outside company, they are tempted by the price—it’s free.
Google announced the expanded service here on Tuesday at the Educause conference on technology in higher education, which ends today. The service, called Google Apps for Education, lets participating colleges outsource their student e-mail while still allowing campus users to have an address that originates from the college’s domain—meaning it will still end in .edu.
Besides Google’s popular Gmail service, the package includes an instant-messaging client, a calendar, and a Web-page tool.
Google is not the first company to offer free or discounted e-mail services to campuses: Microsoft and Yahoo have similar programs.
They got it up and running for the 65,000 students of Arizona State in 2 weeks.
[R]unning its own student e-mail service was costing the university about $400,000 a year. And though the college offered more storage space than some campus systems—students got 50 megabytes of space each—they hardly got a thank-you note from users, who can get more space with a free e-mail account. “People complain about it. They want more.”
Google provides each user with two gigabytes of space, about 20 times as much as what Arizona State allowed, and it charges the university nothing.
Makes sense to me!
Colbert: A Salute to the American Woman
He also had Ariel Levy on. Here’s her take on the Playboy Bunny.
I lost the link to the most recent three part series from who-knows-who on how the Dems can win without the South.
On this, Kos is precisely right:
[L]et me make clear that a national party needs to be a national party, and that includes the South. It’ll be the toughest nut to crack, and will likely happen after we bring most of the rest of the country aboard. But it needs to happen.
Another repeat. In light of Tucker Carlson’s comments and Carl Roves’ alleged reference to “the nuts,” I thought it timely to consider again my contention that The Religious Right is Reachable. From August 2005...
In a post wishing good luck to Neil G. Giuliano, former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, AZ and the new President of GLAAD, Steve Miller criticized the organization for having “spent the last decade not constructively engaging the religious right.”
That led to this later post responding to a comment:
In our mailbag it’s suggested that the religious right is beyond the pale of debate because “bigots [aren’t] capable of dialogue.” I respond that “to refuse to confront the ideas of your opponents is a great, big cop-out,” and that “The religious right is not some splinter, Nazi sect; millions of hard-working, salt-of-the-Earth Americans find spiritual solace in its rituals and worldview. I don’t believe we should simply give up on trying to reach them (the religious right’s adherents, if not its leadership).”
There might be a few adherents out on the fringes of the religious right that might be reachable. They might be one experience of knowing a gay person, or having a gay relative, away from softening their positions. Those religious right adherents might be reachable on a one-to-one basis, such as when gay & lesbian relatives, acquaintances, and co-workers come out. But that’s about all I can see.
Frankly, I’m at a loss as to how to constructively engage the rest of the relgious right’s footsoldiers. Like I said before, they seem to want a world in which we don’t exist. Trying to engage with true believers on the right, with that as a starting point, seems like a collosal waste of time, energy and resources that might be better spent elsewhere.
I’m sure we can each point to the other side’s extremists to prove that we are right in stewing in our own little pot with our like-minded peers but I think that makes us just like “them.” Only justified in our view. Where does that get us?
My goal is, yes, to reach those “few adherents...that might be reachable” who are “softening their positions” and I’m glad to reach them “on a one-to-one basis.”
To do that I will likely be less strident and more respectful of their positions, not lump them into a stereotype, and consider their opinion. Then they might mine.
Jerry Falwell reminds me of my father, a smart man who sometimes says dumb things. And my mother, a good woman who believes some things I think laughable.
I can scorn them and laugh at them or I can try to change them and make them see my way. Or I can accept them and relate to them as they are and enjoy them in every way I can.
We’re a 50/50 country. I don’t have to change that many minds. But I have to live with all of them. I choose to live in mutual respect and tolerance.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Eudora’s going open source
QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leading developer and innovator of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and other advanced wireless technologies, and the Mozilla Foundation, a public-benefit organization dedicated to promoting choice and innovation on the Internet, today announced that future versions of EudoraÃ‚Â® will be based upon the same technology platform as the open source Mozilla ThunderbirdÃ¢â€žÂ¢ email program. Future versions of Eudora will be free and open source, while retaining Eudora’s uniquely rich feature set and productivity enhancements. QUALCOMM and Mozilla will each participate in, and continue to foster development communities based around the open source Mozilla project, with a view to enhancing the capabilities and ease of use of both Eudora and Thunderbird. QUALCOMM also today announced that it has released the final commercial versions of the current Eudora products for Windows and Mac operating systems. The open source version of Eudora is targeted to release during the first half of calendar year 2007. Once the open source version of Eudora is released, QUALCOMM will cease to sell Eudora commercially. In the interim, QUALCOMM will continue commercial sales, at a reduced price of $19.95 and with a six-month period of technical support. Existing technical support commitments will be honored in their entirety.
Via Cory Doctorow.
Well darn, we missed him!
President George Bush spent nearly three hours [!] in Middle Georgia on Tuesday, politicking, raising money and urging a partisan audience to send a Republican to Congress to help cut taxes and keep America safe.
Bush came to Macon for a fundraiser for Mac Collins, the Republican challenger in the 8th Congressional District. But his visit was more than that, stopping traffic and drawing crowds streetside to watch his motorcade pass as a sitting president visited Macon for the first time since 1996. People lined the roads along the president’s route from Robins Air Force Base, where he landed in Air Force One, to the Wilson Convention Center. They waved American flags and signs that said “thank you” and “welcome.”
His message? Terror and taxes. Is there anything else? Not here. “Bush knew his audience well and drew repeated, loud bursts of applause.”
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Stephen Colbert: “I like feminists”
Stephen Colbert’s in a major New York Magazine feature this week. I’m looking forward to reading it. He just had the ultimate O’Reilly dig on his show, a special report to make up for “the disturbing allegations that surfaced yesterday regarding several of my female staff members...and their comfort level around me.”
“Advised by counsel” not to go into details, he launches into “A Salute to the American Lady” that featured a “Cooking with Feminists” segment with Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda baking an apple pie (and discussing the launch of their women’s talk radio network). Then Colbert moved on - in red high heels - to an interview with Ariel Levy about her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs.
In 1963 Steinem, famously, worked as a Playboy Bunny to research an exposÃƒÂ© on their poor working conditions and meager wages. Now the Playboy chairman and CEO is a woman, Christie Hefner, who is also the founder of Emily’s List, a fundraising tool for pro-choice candidates, and the Committee of 200, a mentoring and scholarship group. For her book, Ariel asked Hefner about the Playboy bunny:
[p. 39] The rabbit head symbolizes sexy fun, a little bit of rebelliousness, the same way a naval ring does...or low-rider jeans! It’s an obvious I’m taking control of how I look and the statement I’m making as opposed to I’m embarrassed about it or I’m uncomfortable with it. A little bit of that in-your-face...but in a fun way...’frisky’ is a good word.
Frisky and rebellious. That’s feminist? Not even in 1963. More telling is Hugh Hefner’s version, told to Oriana Fallaci in 1967:
[p. 57] The rabbit, the bunny, in America has a sexual meaning, and I chose it because it’s a fresh animal, shy, vicious, jumping-sexy. First it smells you, then it escapes, then it comes back, and you feel like caressing it, playing with it. A girl resembles a bunny. Joyful, joking. Consider the kind of girl that we made popular: the Playmate of the Month. She is never sophisticated, a girl you cannot really have. She is a young, healthy, simple girl-the girl next doorÃ¢â‚¬Â¦we are not interested in the mysterious, difficult woman, the femme fatale, who wears elegant underwear, with lace, and she is sad, and somehow mentally filthy. The Playboy girl has no lace, no underwear, she is naked, well-washed with soap and water, and she is happy.
Great show Stephen! The Fifth Estate shines again.
LATER: I finally got around to posting the video.
Coming Out Day
In honor of coming out day, a reprise from last year...
Today I advised a student on buying a laptop. As we were talking I asked what year he was. A Senior.
“Oh, graduating.” I asked, “What do you plan to do?”
He answered that he was already an ordained minister and that since they don’t make much money, much as he loves his job, he’d probably have to earn a second income. So graduate school could be in his future.
Interesting, I thought, in light of the Slate photo-essay on God’s McMansions. While we do have one that aspires to be here, the “Real Life” church, most are quite small. They don’t make much money.
I was aware that I was having this conversation today, on National Coming Out Day. And that this particular student, the ordained minister, is one I happened to overhear last election season telling a friend that the two most important political issues for him were gay marriage and abortion.
Now I’m about as out as you can be—and yesterday a young woman, after attending a “coming out workshop,” decided to try it out on me as I was talking with my evangelical student staff, but that’s another story. Everyone knows Doug and me as a couple on campus.
When I neglected to fill out my form for the campus directory, the secretary, whom I have never met, called to wonder if I wanted my partrner listed with me. I did. And I was moved by the kindness and consideration of the gesture.
So what did I tell the student minister?
I told him to shop around and find a few he liked, then look them up on the Internet and buy the one he determined to be the best. That his budget could be his guide and name brands (even the one the school endorses) are not necessary.
He knows I’m gay. I’m guessing it took a while before he could be comfortable enough even to ask about the computer. He will vote in favor of the marriage amendment again the next time. But I think he’s more reachable today than he was yesterday. And if we keep it up, he may well vote differently one day.
7 out of 10 know someone gay
As gay men and lesbians celebrate another National Coming Out Day on Wednesday, a new survey reports seven out of 10 straight adults in the United States say they know someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
The nationwide Harris Interactive online survey of 2,932 U.S. adults also found that 83 percent of those who self-identify as gay or lesbian consider themselves out.
When LGBT respondents were asked if they considered themselves open about their sexual orientation, 92 percenet said they are out to their close friends, and 78 percent said they are out to their parents.
A majority also indicated they are out to other people in their lives, including grandparents, cousins, acquaintances and casual friends, and coworkers and colleagues.
MythTV is an open source home theater application that runs under linux, but for many new to linux and building your own PC, installing and configuring it can be a daunting task.
Among the many features:
Some DVRs boast letting you fast forward through your commercials - but this usually involves fumbling for a remote and seeking to the start of the next scene. The MonolithMC will actually skip the commercials - without any interaction from you. When the MonolithMC records a show, it is also quietly making notes to where it detects commercial breaks. Later when watching the show, the MonolithMC simply jumps from one mark to the next creating a seemless movie experience - the way it should be.
LATER: Cory has more on the TiVo self-destruct button, “Wouldn’t it be better if TiVo didn’t build in any technology that attacks its customers?”
Battelle & Lohmann on GooTube
In an online interview with John Battelle, EFF’s Fred von Lohmann not surprisingly considers YouTube’s DMCA Safe Harbor argument “to be on relatively firm legal ground… It looks like YouTube is working hard to keep its boat in sheltered copyright waters.”
He likes Google’s Library Project (and provides great links to articulate why) and had this to say on Google getting sued:
YouTube has already been sued (by LA New Service), so Google is essentially buying that lawsuit. But I don’t think that’s a problem—frankly, precedent set against YouTube will likely exert strong influence over the entire video hosting industry. So, in essence, Google is just getting more direct control over a lawsuit that is important for its existing and future business. And when it comes to lawsuits, Google has top-drawer talent (both in-house and in outside law firms), strategic vision, and a stellar track record. Google’s executives (like AOL’s and Yahoo’s before them) understand that shaping the legal precedents is a critical part of their business.
And it’s important to consider who are the people suing YouTube. I’ve thought for some time that the first lawsuits against YouTube (and other video hosting services) will be from small copyright owners (like LA News Service), not from major media companies. That’s good news for YouTube (and Google). Small timers tend to lack the resources to bring top-drawer legal talent to bear in these fights. As a result, they often lose, creating useful precedents for the Google’s of the world. In fact, Google has already been successful in securing good precedents against unsophisticated opponents who thought that they could squeeze a quick settlement out of Google (Field v. Google, Parker v. Google). What the small-timers don’t appreciate is that Google would much rather spend money on setting a good precedent than on settling.
Freer than free
IceWeasel is a version of Firefox created for use in “free” operating systems like Debian (and its derivatives, such as Ubuntu), which eschew any element that can’t be freely reused by anyone, for any reason. Iceweasel was developed because Firefox and the Firefox logo are trademarked, and because some of the default Firefox plugins can’t be freely redistributed. Iceweasel will be synchronized with the current Firefox release, but without the non-free artwork and plugins. Link
The Future of the First Amendment
Harold Jenkins discusses The Student Press Law Center and the Future of the First Amendment:
The website reports on a recently released study on the Future of the First Amendment, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which looked into young people’s attitudes towards free expression. Among the studies findings was evidence that there has been a significant increase in the percentage of students who have studied the First Amendment in their classes (up 14 percent since 2004), that 64 percent of students favored the right of student journalists to publish what they want without prior restraint (up from 58 percent two years earlier), and that 45 percent of students (compared to 35 percent just two years ago) believe that the First Amendment “goes too far” in protecting the rights of the media. We can see this last statistic perhaps as evidence of the climate that has shaped this culture since 9/11—where criticism of the government’s position gets read by a significant percentage of Americans as unpatriotic or “going too far.”
His post is so much more than that, and I agree with nearly all of it, even as I think it a bit tinged by a rose-colored recall of his student journalist past.
In particular, in the quote above, that 45% of students who think the First Amendment goes too far (even as some of those same people must believe that they get to say “what they want") merits examination beyond the simple unsupported assumption that it’s due to a climate shaped by 9/11.
I’ll be giving those findings more thought. I wish Henry had too.
I tend to think that with government (both Republican & Democrat) in the pocket of business (both the telecom and Hollywood varieties) the only (”legitimate," vs those with a slightly more guerrilla) way to win is for one market segment to defeat another.
A look at the players in the Net Neutrality debate - Google, eBay and Amazon v. AT&T, Verizon and Comcast - makes plain to me which represent the future and which the past. I’m looking forward. Perhaps with naive hope.
It will be interesting to see what happens next and what happens in the copyright world. I still think Google Lawyers will be a busy, busy bunch. I dont think you can sue Google into oblivion, but as others have mentioned, if Google gets nailed one single time for copyright violation, there are going to be more shareholder lawsuits than doans has pills to go with the pile on copyright suits that follow. Think maybe how Google discloses what they perceive the copyright risk to be in the SEC filings might be an interesting read ?
I think there will be supoenas to get the names of Youtube and Google Video users. Lots of them as those copyright owners not part of the gravy train go after both Google and their users for infringement.
It will be interesting to see how this impacts DRM. As it stands now, there is no DRM on all that video being offered from Google or YouTube. Millions of copyrighted videos that their owners spent a boatload to copyprotect that is available to everyone and everyone without it. (Personally i think DRM is a waste of money, but will all those labels and content providers ?)
His doom and gloom conclusion is well worth reading but better answered by others. I’ll be quoting them.
My own contention stands: YouTube’s no Napster. Downloading free songs does not a community make; uploading your favorite shows so that you become one of your friends’ favorite channels makes a very powerful community. Cuban and the Content Cartel will yet figure out that they’ll make money from that community using their copyrighted content.
As Bette Davis so famously said, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” Flying’s still the fastest way to get to where you’re going; and I’m still betting on a safe landing.
House sex research & religious faculty
A couple interesting pieces in The Chronicle today. From the first, 2 Democrats’ Votes on Sex-Related NIH Research in 2003 Become Fodder for Attack Ads:
Two Democrats running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives have come under attack for their votes three years ago in support of controversial sex-related academic research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
The attacks, in advertisements that their Republican challengers have sought to air on television stations in North Carolina and Wisconsin, accuse the incumbents of voting to spend money to study “the masturbation habits of old men” and “to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia” instead of authorizing appropriations for body armor needed by American troops at war.
According to a FactCheck.org analysis:
[O]ne study, which the ads say was of “Vietnamese prostitutes,” [was] an effort by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco to find a way to prevent the spread of AIDS.
Another study, referred to as “Masturbation Habits of Old Men,” was part of a larger study on how declining sexual function affects the quality of life of elderly men, according to the Web site.
The ads refer to two other studies as examining “Two-Spirited Aleutian Eskimos” and using teenage girls as subjects in a study of sexual arousal. According to FactCheck.org, the Aleutian grant did not deal with just Eskimos, but attempted to gain a “national picture” of homosexual and transgender individuals in the American Indian and Native Alaskan populations. The other study made no mention of teenage girls as test subjects, and did not receive federal funds in 2003, the Web site says, although it had been supported in 2001 and 2002.
Another Chronicle report looks at a Harvard working paper finding that Professors Are More Religious Than Some Might Assume:
[M]ost professors, contrary to the stereotype, are not atheists. In fact, only 10 percent of professors surveyed said they did not believe in God, while 13 percent said they did not know whether there was a God and did not believe there was any way to find out. Those responses, taken together, show that professors are more than twice as likely to be nonbelievers or skeptics than, for instance, college-educated people in general, of whom only 11 percent consider themselves atheists or agnostics.
But the findings also mean that the majority of professors entertain at least the possibility of God’s existence. Nearly one-fifth of respondents said they believed in a “higher power of some kind.” An additional 36 percent said they had no doubts about the existence of God, while 17 percent generally believed in God but had some doubts.
Monday, October 09, 2006
As best I can put it together, an Aptronym refers to a name that reflects, expresses or comments on its owner’s occupation. Timothy Noah put together a fun sampling last December. Here, his dentist collection:
Ngoc Quang Chu, DDS (Bethesda, Md.)
Dalbert Fear, Jr., DDS (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Ken Hurt, DDS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Kenneth Krowne, DDS (Brookline, Mass.)
Les Plack, DDS (San Francisco, Calif.)
Anthony J. Puller, DDS (Richmond, Va.)
Randall Toothaker, DDS (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Barth, Lacy, and Craig Toothman (Columbus, Ohio)
In March of ‘05 the Times did a piece too:
Once you start collecting them, you can’t stop.
Think of baseball’s Cecil Fielder and Rollie Fingers, the news executive Bill Headline, the artist Rembrandt Peale, the poet William Wordsworth, the pathologist (not gynecologist) Zoltan Ovary, the novelist Francine Prose, the poker champion Chris Moneymaker, the musicians Paul Horn and Mickey Bass, the TV weatherman Storm Field, Judge Wisdom, the spokesman Larry Speakes, the dancer Benjamin Millepied, the opera singer Peter Schreier, the British neurologist Lord Brain, the entertainer Tommy Tune, the CBS Television ratings maven David Poltrack.
Think, too, of all those fictional characters and the real-life doctors and dentists named Payne, Blank the anesthesiologist, Kramp the swim coach, Blechman the gastroenterologist, Faircloth the fashion designer, Goodness the church spokesman, Slaughter the murderer and the funeral director named Amigone.
‘’I once had a doctor named Gore,’’ recalls Anne Bernays who, with her husband, Justin Kaplan, wrote ‘’The Language of Names.’’
Originally, professions were one way of establishing surnames (the most common American surname is Smith, of whom there are more than a million, far more than the number of blacksmiths). Other aptronyms are nicknames and surnames that were legally changed retroactively. Then there are the names of people who succeeded in their professions despite what might be called their an-aptronyms: Dr. Kwak, Judge Lawless or Orson Swindle, a member of the Federal Trade Commission. Long before Armand Hammer bought Arm & Hammer, the baking soda company, many people assumed he owned it.
Am I the only one to notice that the lawyer who has generously taken up the case of Genarlow Wilson - in a Georgia prison for receiving oral sex at 17 from a 15 year old - is named B.J. Bernstein?