In re: Fair Use

I caught while flipping up from the Cavaliers game a discussion that had Jack Valenti former Chairman of the MPAA and Lawrence Lessig of Stanford Law had on Justice Talking. While I missed most of it, I thought it was interesting, especially when it came to the issue of fair use where the two men departed company. Lessig believes that fundamentally a copyright holder doesn’t have complete control over their work once released, and Valenti does. An example they went over was using 10 second clips of a Donald Duck cartoon spliced into a home movie (Real example from one of Lessig’s friends who was denied such usage by all but 1 movie studio) The argument by Valenti is that it doesn’t stop at the 10 secs and you need to look at the total usage (millions X 10 secs I think is part of what he was saying, but he wasn’t entirely clear, actually he said he personally would let you use 10 secs, 2 mins would be too much, but that it should be up to each copyright holder) Lessig felt that ‘fair use’ which is a fundamental part of free speech should allow such use, just as you can quote part of a text.

Lessig further discussed the difference in the allowance of covering a musical work or including it in your own, and the inability to sample, and how this is chilling our generations creativity. I for the most part think I agree with Lessig, in that I feel that we are better off with a ‘commons’ of ideas and that fair use is a concept which allows a great good, be it using Donald Duck in your home movie or whether its including a splice of a song in your new song. Hopefully I can find the show somewhere and catch it again, it was on TV but I think its actually an NPR show. The only down side was the questions from the audience which came from highschoolers, including a question of “Is bootlegging illegal” to which Valenti was confused at first by, not understanding the term bootlegging, or possibly put off by such a question.

Update: I Just checked, the show was actually from Sep 16, see website, you can view the video of the show here.

In re: Craigslist. How do you compete with free?

Interesting article in Forbes outlining Craigslist and how it has erroded the market for traditional classified ads in newspapers, who have come to rely on these ads, no matter how cheap individually as a source of income. Craigslist only has 18 employees and has costs of probably only $5million, (of course if they wanted to actualy make money, it is estimated they could earn $500million a year, based on their page views) Part of Craigslist success is the simplicity, is the fact its free (and free from the ads that adorn other pages), so because of their desire to maintain this ‘benevolent’ site as just that (only users who pay are employment ads in NYC, LA and SF, bringing in $20m) So even with out ‘making money’ craigslist is still doing quite well is what it seems, while they could be the next boys at Google, they choose not to, sticking to their communistesque creed. Of course everyone is hot on their heals, Google is pushing for a searchable type of version, which clearly could pose a threat, as Google has shown their advertising system can be quite profitable and not annoy users. Yet we can’t forget the value of being first, but also remember that doesn’t mean you won (remember Altavista?) (See article in Forbes)

In re: Why America should stay?

Another Economist article this week (the cover) states their view that ‘Why America must stay’ in light of the now mainstream calls for a pullout from Iraq even from hawkish democrats such as Mr. Murtha. I was against going in originally, but I feel leaving now would be a big mistake as Iraq could fall into civil war. However I also feel that the argument over staying or leaving is an important one, and that criticizing the patriotism of those who question our involvement isn’t the way of our country. Having our administration need to justify or to examine our situation and have a ‘healthy’ debate can only be good, of course the cries of pull back need to be more then that, they need to examine the consequences of what would happen and realistically assesses what has happened.

In re: Innovation at Microsoft

The Economist had an interesting article on the Microsoft Xbox (it even mentioned how its ‘dorky’ name came out of the original idea for a “DirectX box”. The article points out that Microsoft has shown more innovation in areas where they are the underdog (Videogames, Mobile phone software) However that hasn’t meant they have innovated well in other areas they were underdogs (Routers come to mind, Search engine/MSN service) Of course it would seem obvious that they would be able to take more risks and would have more pressure to innovate in these fields, as there would be no other way to break into these markets, but it doesn’t mean by a default Microsoft with its’ resources will win, so maybe we should give them some credit for what they’ve done well (the article points to Microsoft Live on the XBox) and give them criticism for their faults (the countless faults with their cash cow products). Anyway, it was interesting I thought. See article The Meaning of Xbox, subscription is required.

Re: In re: On-page Comment Option

There have been a few requests for the comments to be turned on, so hopefully now that they are on you’ll actually use them, if not no worries, i’ll still go on. Got a few topics I want to write on that I thought of during my drive back to Columbus, but I’ll get to them later, as I have class to attend to.

In re: Gated America

Happy belated thanksgiving, I’ve had a nice holiday back in Cleveland seeing family & friends. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, partially because it is the least corporatised holiday, in that we haven’t created thanksgiving gifts (yet) and it cuts across every culture/religion, so is really a unifying holiday in that sense. Anyway, it has been a good break and aside from the drive up here taking twice as long due to traffic/weather, its been good.

I just thought i’d mention a conversation/thought I had the other day, that concerned liberals & conservatives. I had mentioned to someone that it seemd a lot of my mom’s family were fairly liberal and some pointed out one family member who was less so and it got me thinking about how surburbia/exurbia creating a conservative mindset. I wondered if living in a homogenous society, without witnessing the poor or the diversity of America, leads to such thinking. [Side note: I am what I would label a social liberal, but i don’t think of myself as a democrat, as I have potentially different views on certain economic policies] Needless to say, what is the cause and what is the effect, is it moving to suburbia, for conservatives, looking to live in their enclaves, or is living in such a sheltered environment create or contribute to such thinking. I have a hunch that living in a more diverse environment makes people more liberal in social areas, and helps or encourages tolerance of different types of people.

In re: Metronomes & Espresso Tamps

Somewhere there is a place where all lost items go to hangout and in my family all the lost items crowd around the metronome, that my dad had bought a long time ago and was lost and never found. Now the thing about the metronome is that you wouldn’t take it around the house and use it in other rooms, or the kitchen, or the basement, so logically you would only need to search in the living room, but after years of searching it was never found.

So recently my espresso tamp joined the metronome, (‘custom’ made by myself, by grinding down a tamp that was too large to fit my espresso machine, which uses a non standard size tamp for some reason), like the metronome the espresso tamp is something that isn’t changing rooms as I don’t usually make espresso outside of the kitchen, yet somehow this week when I went to make an espresso I couldn’t find it. So my roommate kindly joined a massive clean/search for the espresso tamp, to no avail. I didn’t want to believe that someone had stolen my espresso tamp, but it was nowhere.
Well last night, I found it much to my amazement, in my laundry hamper in the basement (actually, sadly it had been partially searched before as it was suggested someone might have thrown it down the laundry chute that is right near the espresso machine, but I only half heartedly searched the hamper, not imagining that someone really would) So thankfully I found it before going on the long task of ‘making’ another. Guess this afternoon before I head out for thanksgiving I should get a ‘first’ use of it.