Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.
"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist
E-mail me: pmurray [at] despammed.com
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
A vast journalistic conspiracy unmasked. It's The Order of the Occult Hand, and the Chicago Tribune has unmasked it (and will probably help kill it, as a result). Their mission, successfully completed dozens of times since 1965: sneak the phrase "It was as if an occult hand had..." into their copy and past their editors.
In the fall of 1965, several Charlotte News reporters had been drinking and marveling at a story written by [Joseph] Flanders, [R.C.] Smith wrote in his letter.(via Romanesko)
Bush relies on term paper to pander to Cuban-American voters. Showing the same dedication to "facts" that led us to war in Iraq, George Bush recently accused Cuba of sex tourism, undoubtedly aimed at proving his anti-Castro credentials with Cuban-American voters in Florida. How good are the administration sources? Try a Dartmouth undergrad's term paper found on the Internet and taken out of context. From MSNBC:
More details at The Register.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Vote with your dollars. Guess which company gives more money to the Republican party than any other?
"This Land": the inevitable next chapter. You've quite likely seen or heard about the parody of Woody Guthrie's song "This Land is Your Land" featuring animated George Bush and John Kerry figures. (If you haven't, check it out -- it's amusing enough that I've passed it along myself, which is pretty rare.)
Now comes the inevitable next chapter in the story: the company that holds the copyright to Guthre's song is threatening to sue for infringement:
"This puts a completely different spin on the song," said Kathryn Ostien, director of copyright licensing for the publisher. "The damage to the song is huge."Yes, the 64-year-old song is still under copyright. Copyright is virtually perpetual here in the US, lasting for 95 years after the creator's death. Thank you, Congress.
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation observes, "If this isn't fair use, it's hard to imagine what is."
Friday, July 23, 2004
Fire the head of the U.S. Copyright Office. Now. There's a horrendous piece of legislation called the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, or INDUCE Act, S.2560) under consideration in the Senate (thank you, Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy). Marybeth Peters, the Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office, is even more in favor of it than the predictable Hollywood interests. In fact, she recommends that Congress may need to override the Supreme Court's Betamax decision that legalized VCRs:
While you have carefully crafted this bill to preserve the 20-year-old decision in the Sony case, it may become necessary to consider whether that decision is overly protective of manufacturers and marketers of infringement tools, especially in today’s digital environment. If the Sony precedent continues to be an impediment to obtaining effective relief against those who profit by providing the means to engage in mass infringement, it should be replaced by a more flexible rule that is more meaningful in the technological age, but that still vindicates the Court’s goal to balance effective “and not merely symbolic” protection of copyright with the rights of others to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce.Read Ernest Miller's analysis of her statement, which also contains many useful explanatory links. Also, here's a Wired News article about the bill and others who testified, and an earlier article about how the bill may kill innovation.
When someone in government stops serving the public at large in favor of special interests, it's time to remove him/her. That time has come for Marybeth Peters.