Here is a post I circulated elsewhere...
I have assembled some quotes from two sources: slashdot.org, and an on-line
article slashdot references. At issue, publishers are taking the side that
they lose money by way of free lending of documents by libraries. The issue
strikes me as a logical outgrowth of all of the noise generated within the
music industry by the Napster episode.
In these quotations, it is nearly impossible to find a balance of opinion.
As you might guess, the coverage is almost wholly given over to arguments
against shutting down the present library system.
I prefer to contrast this with the arguments of Douglas Engelbart (
http://www.bootstrap.org <http://www.bootstrap.org/> ) in which the case is
made that humanity faces some extremely tough issues with complex problems
to solve; his take: augment human intellect as a means of enabling society
to rise to the occasion. I am struck by the notion that, what we have in
Publishers v. Libraries is yet another arms race. Arms races are what
society does well. We mimic all our ancestral animals in that regard.
Clearly, human intellect has yet to rise above that behavior.
I would not post this if I did not think that there is a way out. Doug is
right. Maybe it's time to start paying attention to him.
"Reading the post article called some of Richard Stallman's writing to mind,
specifically The Right to Read. This must be stopped. Now."
"I find this article not surprising in the least, nor should anyone.
In regards to media (in general), our country (and to an extent the world)
is suffering a kind of slow-motion nervous breakdown. There are changing
issues, changing technologies, new opportunities, and missed potentials.
Instead of rationally looking at the big picture, people are busyily
scrabbling in a mixture of Cover-Their-Backsides and Exploit The New thing.
The end result is a kind of bizare insanity where our Public Libraries
become evil pirates, insane copyright laws are enforced, no one's happy,
everyone's afraid, and layer upon layer of technical and social limits are
conjured up with no thought of the future.
I say this article, this situation, needs to be shoved in the face of the
public as much as possible. PEOPLE ARE ATTACKING LIBRARIES, treasured public
institutions. Copyright issues have gone completely insane.
I take some comfort in knowing these moronic legal acrobatics will
eventually produce such an unenforceable mess and lead to so many ridiculous
lawsuits, they'll be scrapped. I'd rather it didn't come to that however.
"The Sage treasures Unity and measures all things by it" - Lao Tzu"
"From what I note in the article, the people who are really getting hot
under the collar about this are the publishers.
Perhaps, this is because, like the music industry, they're beginning to see
that anybody can go direct with their content in a digital format, and
bypass them completely.
As soon as this is really understood, then nobody, or at the very least far
far fewer people will be relying on them, and thus paying their huge cut of
each book paid for.
It looks like another outmoded dinosaur is desperately thrashing around with
tooth and claw (read litigation) in an attempt to protect their revenue
streams in an age when they're no longer required.
About the only way they can stay required is if they make it near enough
illegal for anyone to publish their own content and not go through them.
And this looks like the first step in that direction.
Just a pondering,"
"Didn't Salon originally run this idea as a cartoon?"
"But currently libraries already pay royalty fees for items that they lend
out to people. See this article for details. So this isn't quite a hot topic
as it seems, it's more about the exact details of how it will work...
The real problem is that by changing to digital content the publishers have
seen a way to inflate the amount that they get from libraries. Libraries
don't traditionally have huge budgets with which to purchase new materials,
and if they end up having to pay on a per-use basis then many of them will
have to stop stocking as many items. And because libraries have
traditionally been free to use, they can't pass their costs onto the public.
However in this case the libraries have something in their favour that
Napster users don't - an unbeatable public image. You can't tarnish
libraries as thieves and pirates, not without ruining your cause. It may
well be that this issue is the single most important thing in deciding
exactly how fair use and payment models will apply to digital content."
"No joke. Of all the dangerous and dot-complex problems that American
publishers face in the near future -- economic downturns, competition for
leisure time, piracy -- perhaps the most explosive one could be libraries.
Publishers and librarians are squaring off for a battle royal over the way
electronic books and journals are lent out from libraries and over what
constitutes fair use of written material."
"Libraries have spent all this money on technology," says Pat Schroeder.
"They don't have any money left for content."
Nancy Kranich, president of the American Library Association, begs to
"The reason we're in a bind," says Kranich from her office at New York
University, "is that the price of some of the materials has skyrocketed
without any explanation." She cites one chemistry journal, Tetrahedron
Letters, that costs $14,000 a year.
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