Saturday, July 31, 2004 Editorial on JibJab

The Editorials (really annoying subscription required) touch on JibJab, Guthrie, and copyright today:

"If this is danger, bring it on

The Richmond Organization is alleging that an online cartoon parodying the presidential race is causing 'huge' damage to its copyright of Woody Guthrie's folk classic 'This Land Is Your Land.' But what it's really doing is adding some much-needed levity to a heated political season. The owners of the copyright are asking to stop distributing the cartoon that features John Kerry and George Bush as cartoon characters singing new words to the patriotic ditty. As obvious political satire, it's surely protected free speech. It's irreverent. It's funny. It jabs both sides. The true danger would be a lack of good satire in a presidential election year."

- posted by laurie @ 7/31/2004 12:57:00 PM (0) comments

Indiana Paper Hits Michael Moore for Copyright Infringement

I tap Editor and Publisher twice in two days: this one's good! This Editor & Publisher article says an Indiana paper is claiming copyright infringement, citing "unauthorized" and "misleading" use of their publication. What do they want? An apology and compensatory damages of $1.00. Supposedly, Moore uses a certain headline, which appears to be very large, and from a December 19 edition of the newspaper. The paper claims the headline was smaller, ran on December 5, and was "above a letter to the editor, hardly a factual news story or editorial."

The coverage from the Pantagraph makes the issue pretty clear. The article starts off:

"The Pantagraph has a message for Michael Moore, creator of the movie hit, "Fahrenheit 9/11":

If he wants to 'edit' The Pantagraph, he should apply for a copy-editing job and not simply show made-over and 'falsely represented' pages from the newspaper in his movie -- or he should at least ask for permission first."

Another reason to go and see Moore's movie again, I guess. While there is a clear potential ethics issue here, I can't help but wonder if there really is a copyright issue, per se. I'm following this one as it develops, for sure!

- posted by laurie @ 7/31/2004 12:38:00 PM (0) comments

Pirate DJs ordered to pay $140,000

This article from the Age reports that, in Australia, five DJ's have been made to pay $140,000.00 to the owners of the copyrights to songs they distributed on pirated CDs. Also included in the judgement were a record store and its director.

Guess who's behind the action? Universal, Sony, Warner, and MIPI.

quote from MIPI's Michael Speck: "'Pirate copyrighters know that they are breaking the law. When they are caught they claim that infringing copyright is actually good for the industry. This ruling confirms that this proposition is nonsense,' Mr Speck said."

I'd bet, though that the 'pirated' versions of the song were remixes and/or used sampling techniques. Makes the whole thing a little less black-and-white than the industry might have us believe.

- posted by laurie @ 7/31/2004 08:37:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, July 30, 2004

Many Large Newspaper Editorials Praise Kerry Speech

This Editor & Publisher article has a nice recap of the major US print coverage (editorials) of Kerry's speech. Apparently, everyone but the Washington Post is more or less patting Kerry on the back. Good to know. I still think, though, that all of this "well, he delivered as an orator" stuff is erring on the side of kindness rather than honesty.

I also have one complaint about Kerry's dropping of the url during his speech: yes, if you want to know "more" about his plans for the nation, his site is a place to start. But while there is more detail on the site than he could possibly include in the speech, the information on offer isn't what I would call chock-full of detail. Personally, I'd like a few more specifics.

- posted by laurie @ 7/30/2004 02:54:00 PM (0) comments

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Kerry, Political Oratory, and the Convention

Along with many other commentators and news sources, the Washington Post seems to think Kerry did a great job with his acceptance speech this evening, and that the Republicans now have their work cut out for them.

A Challenge To the GOP On Values, Security ( "Rarely has an acceptance speech come with so much hype and drama -- as well as nervousness among the Democrats about Kerry's capacity to rise to the moment. For all his attributes, Kerry has never been known as a charismatic politician and rarely has he demonstrated a great gift for political oratory."

While I do agree that Kerry's speech was strong, and that he has positiioned himself, Edwards, and the Democratic party well, I do think that he once again did not demonstrate a gift for political oratory. Not to say that he is an inarticulate oaf, he's just not a great speaker. Edwards did much better last night, and many of the convention's other orators delivered their messages much more effectively than did Kerry. Great message, nicely crafted speech, some wonderfully turned phrases, but less than ideal delivery.

Of course, his ability as a rhetor is not my primary concern, nor is his message, per se: I'm more concerned with his plans for action and his position on issues I care about. And on those counts, he does quite well.

And even if he's not the most polished of speakers, he's infitinely more articulate than Bush.

Here's the New York Times take on Kerry's speech, as well. While it offers less in the way of positive/negative reception, it has a nice recap of the highlights, and good analysis of the speech, itself, including Kerry's use/repurposing of messages used in the past by Bush and Cheney, and his references to Ron Reagan's words at Ronald Reagan's funeral.

All in all, it seems that the convention is being very positively received in the press. Let's hope that Kerry and Edwards reached some of those critical swing voters over the past four days!

- posted by laurie @ 7/29/2004 08:58:00 PM (0) comments

and on another copyright-related note:

This just came across the techrhet listserv:

Star wars? The Ebert strikes back:

"Q. Regarding the Bush campaign's new TV ad, 'Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-eyed': I linked to a script of the spot, and noticed that they are using what's described as a 'video clip' from the 2003 Oscars, when Michael Moore berated George W. Bush.

I've always understood that Academy is extremely vigilant about protecting its copyright, and permits clips from the Oscars to be rebroadcast only in very special cases (for example, when a presenter or recipient dies). If the Oscar clip really is in the Bush ad, does this mean AMPAS has relaxed its licensing/usage policy? If not, will its leaders demand that Bush & Co. cease and desist?

Stuart Cleland, Evanston

A. Bruce Davis, executive director of the Oscars, replies: 'Your correspondent is correct that the Academy prefers that the copyrighted footage from its shows be reused -- following the brief grace period immediately after each broadcast -- only in the context of obituaries or definitive biographies. We are not enthusiastic about clips from our broadcast being used in political ads, whether they're blue, red, green or any other hue, but we've been advised by our attorneys that the clip in the Bush ad is short enough, and oddly enough political enough, to be protected under the fair use doctrine.

'Fair use trumps copyright infringement. So while we're not happy about what we regard as a misappropriation of our material, there doesn't seem to be much that we can do about it beyond grousing in the columns of movie critics, when we get the chance.'"

a representative of the entertainment industry realizes, and publicly states, that "fair use trumps copyright infringement." Amazing!

- posted by laurie @ 7/29/2004 02:49:00 PM (0) comments

EFF defends Jibjab's use of Guthrie as Parody, Fair Use

On Monday, I blogged about the conflict over Jibjab's use of Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land." Well, it appears as if the EFF will defend Jibjab and their parodic use of the song. Yet another wonderful step by the EFF. Fred von Lohmann's excellent response letter clearly states why Jibjab's use is fair, and addresses what amount to a few weak arguments and very narrow interpetations offered by the copyright owners. The EFF also has the complaint letter available.

My question on Monday as to how this argument would work in court really hinged on the interpretation of the song and its lyrics: this is one of the points of contention you can see if you read both the letter from council for the copyright owner and von Lohmann's response. Personally, I can see the parodic interpretation, and obviously EFF staff see the parodic interpretation. The interpretation offered by LiCalsi and Ludlow Music, Inc., on the other hand, is quite different. von Lohmann's response on this point really clarified things for me, though. He writes:

The question, simply put, is whether the "parodic character may reasonably be perceived." Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, 510 U.S. at 582. The question is not whether Jib Jab intended "This Land" purely as a parody of Guthrie's original. See Abilene v. Sony, 320 F .Supp.2d at 90. Nor is the question whether your client perceived the parodic meaning. See Mastercard v. Nader, 2004 WL 434404 at *13 (parody "may be subtle rather than obvious"). It is enough that the parody here is readily and objectively perceptible, as demonstrated by the fact that a variety of commentators already perceive it clearly See Abilene v. Sony, 320 F .Supp.2d at 91 (music reviewers perceived the parody).

link via Boing Boing and the News sidebar at O'Reilly's

- posted by laurie @ 7/29/2004 02:00:00 PM (0) comments

free wi-fi in Minnesota

For those of you who reside in Minnesota, find out where you can take advantage of free wi-fi. From the Wi-Fi-FreeSpot Directory: free wi-fi Minnesota hotspots

and if you're not in Minnesota, check for your state's listing.

Gotta love free internet access!

- posted by laurie @ 7/29/2004 01:52:00 PM (0) comments

NYT on Blog Hoaxes: Identity Online Takes Another Stroll

Today's Circuits section of the New York Times features an article on literary blog hoaxes: Wry Hoaxes Enliven the World of Web Diarists

The article mentions the recent Plain Layne incident, which really captured my interest for a few days, as well as a phony Clinton book-tour blog and the Andy Kaufman blog.

"It kind of takes the old phenomenon of literary hoaxes a step further, where you're interacting with these authors day by day," said Alex Boese, who runs the Museum of Hoaxes, an online compendium of urban legends and other fakery. "And it's so easy to hide your identity online and to hide the contextual clues that people would need to find out who you are."

Except that, in each of the above cases, the techno-savvy sleuths of the blogosphere manage to find what has been hidden, to uncover those clues and latch onto a context and eventually, to discover the hoax and/or its perpetrator. There were some pretty detailed content and comparative content analyses going on during the Plain Layne disappearance, as well. Lots of cybersleuthing, plus the advantage of many, many minds working together means that perhaps it's not really so easy to hide, after all: well, at least not if anyone wants to find you!

One of the reasons that I got so very hooked on the Plain Layne "disappearance" was because of the very interesting discussions of online identity that surged around the hoax. Reactions were all over the place. Some felt completely betrayed, while others pointed out that it's wisest to consider all online personalities as fictional constructs, unless they're personally known to you. Still others pointed out that even folks who make an effort to represent the "real" story of their lives and the "true" nature of their personality, etc. are presenting a slice of themselves, and from only one perspective, and therefore one still doesn't get to know the real person. Identity just seems to be one of those classic CMC/Internet Studies topics that keeps going and going . . . years after the introduction of identity issues into the CMC literature, this topic still has legs. I wonder where it'll walk to next?

- posted by laurie @ 7/29/2004 10:08:00 AM (0) comments

. . . and so it begins.

Last night it actually sunk in that, in a little over a week (10 days not including today, but who's counting), we're going to be moving. Not only is our current apartment more or less unpacked, but it's a mess, to boot. Chaos would be an understatement. And while I have been packing bits and pieces for the last week, fact is, my few boxes a day has barely made a dent. So far, I've managed to clear off a few bookshelves, and that's the grand sum of my efforts. Last night I packed up five boxes of books to go to the townhouse, and two crates to stash in a corner becuse I am currently using or planning to use them. I did a bunch of dishes. I waded through stacks of old magazines, catalogs, mail, and paperwork, and threw a lot of stuff out. After all this activity, the living room looked like it had been vandalized, but otherwise, everything pretty much looks the same.

And the worst part of it is, while I worked for a few solid hours, I quit because I had to - because my feet were starting to protest, my back had gone from aching to really hurting, and my belly, well, it's now big enough to be just chronically in the way. And the last thing I need right now is to go into premature labor and end up on bedrest of some sort. That would, in a word, suck.

Last night I was freaking out because I was firmly convinced that we won't be ready to move by the 8th like we had planned. And not only that, but I was convinced that the townhouse won't be ready by then, either. Not only does this place have to be emptied by the 8th, but two bedrooms, the family room, the bathroom, and the hallway all have to be painted - and the drywall and tile around the tub in the bathroom has to be replaced where, apparently, a long-term leak caused the drywall behind the tiles to moulder away and, finally, collapse when someone tried to repair the leak. And just about all of this repairing and painting has to go on during weekends and evenings, because the two primary painters both work full-time, of course. Oh, and Eric's working six days a week right now. And of course, it doesn't help that I'm a little emotional about things from time to time these days.

I think the move is actually doable. We'll manage to get everything together by the 8th, and the painting will get done somehow. It's just going to be absolutely, positively, unquestionably NO FUN. :(

And now, I must stop complaining, and go pack.

- posted by laurie @ 7/29/2004 07:33:00 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Shellen, Moore, Lessig, Bono, and (c)

Hey, IP folks! Check out this snippet from shellen dot com: The DNC so far: "Hands down best moment of last night was our 20 minute conversation with Michael Moore. He promised more blogging soon on his site. The discussion turned to the terrible state of copyright law and I asked if he knew Larry Lessig. He didn't so we brought him up to speed on the Creative Commons movement and talked Sonny Bono Act for a while. I think we may have talked him into doing a movie about copyright. We'll have to see."

This, I would love to see.

- posted by laurie @ 7/28/2004 08:18:00 PM (0) comments

Democratic Convention

So far, I've been catching snippets of speeches either live or during noon highlights on NPR. This evening, though, I made an effort to be home and in front of the public TV station when Edwards took the podium. I was impressed with his speech and his message, and while commentators almost instantly chimed in with the opinion that Edwards, this evening, was not at his best, I'd say he did pretty darn well, and made some very strong connections with the crowd.

Now let's all just keep our fingers crossed that not only is hope on the way, but that it will actually successfully arrive!

- posted by laurie @ 7/28/2004 08:04:00 PM (0) comments

From the referrer files . . .

I gave up on this as fodder for "interesting" blog posts a while ago . . . but today, someone landed here looking for "redskins+unionize+mp3." Strange, but what puzzled me more is that the search came from the Netherlands version of Google. Either way, Dutch or English, I seem to be one of only three Google hits for this particular combination.

I think most people still come here looking for info on one of two things: Bush's Memex (makes sense) and drylighters, about which, apparently, not much is written on the web. By the way, if I haven't told you yet, drylighters are some of the best reader's tools in existence.

- posted by laurie @ 7/28/2004 03:46:00 PM (0) comments

Monday, July 26, 2004

Jibjab: parody or no?

According to CNN's Publisher peeved at political parody, the owners of the copyright for Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" are a bit miffed at the boys over at Jibjab, who created a flash funny that pokes fun at both presidential hopefuls. The creators, on the other hand, claim parody, and therefore exemption under fair use. While I think the bit is quite funny, and is clearly a satirical portrayal of Bush, Kerry, and other politicians, I would also be very interested to see how a judge would rule on this particular use of Guthrie's material.

- posted by laurie @ 7/26/2004 10:04:00 AM (0) comments

Saturday, July 24, 2004

I'm dreaming of a wireless network . . .

We move on August 8. When we consolidate things with the new roomie, we will have a grand total of two laptops and three desktop systems in the house. Both laptops are flavors of Mac's iBook (ine running OS 9 and the other OS X Panther), and all three desktops run Windows (XP and ME, that I know about). We bring two USB printers into the mix, one B&W laser and one color inkjet, and I'm sure at least one more printer of some sort will be moving in with the housemate. A wireless network isn't an option here, folks: it's a necessity. So is getting the network up-and-running as quickly as possible, because at least two out of the three of us are in need of the always-on connection to the Internet.

I've been pondering solutions to this problem for a bit, now. I have a Netgear 802.11b wireless/ethernet router that works well enough in our current place, but for some reason our most recent acquisition, an iBook with an Extreme 802.11g card (the one we picked out for my Dad as his first computer and tried to teach him to use over Christmas - he ended up getting a Windows laptop a few months ago and donated the iBook to us - long story) will not join my wireless network - though it will hop on a neighbor's open, linksys-driven network just fine. So, I'm thinking that, after one more round of trying to retool the existing network, I might scrap the Netgear router and try something different.

What I'm thinking of trying is some version of an AirPort network. I am very intrigued by the AirPort Express option. Ars Technica has a good review of this new bit of Apple gadgetry, which is wonderul, because the Apple product page just did not answer all of my questions, nor did I get any answers to any questions when I went to the Apple store in the Mall of America the other day: I basically spent twenty minutes in there, trying desperately to get anyone's attention and failing miserably. I have to say, 90% of the times I've been in there, I have had terrible experiences. But I digress . . . unfortunately for the "get it set up and set up quickly" aspect, a NYTimes review says Apple is reporting 80,000 pre-orders and a three-week wait for the product in its stores. Perhaps we'll have to rely on the Netgear router just a little bit longer.

- posted by laurie @ 7/24/2004 11:35:00 AM (0) comments

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Announcing . . . Into the Blogosphere

I promised Clancy I would blog our collection, so . . . in case you haven't heard yet, Into the Blogosphere: The Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs was published earlier this month. I helped edit this online collection, which is being made available online through UThink, the blog initiative of the University of Minnesota Libraries, and which is distributed under a Creative Commons license. Go have a look, leave a comment, take the chance to interact with the texts and authors. There are a wide variety of perspectives and methodologies represented. Enjoy!

- posted by laurie @ 7/22/2004 05:53:00 PM (0) comments

Where in the world is Laurie Johnson?

Hello there, everyone (all three of you). It's been a while, again. But I have been busy for part of the time, and avoiding the AC-free zone where my computer resides for part of the time, and getting ready to move, and going on vacation, and generally getting more and more pregnant and therefore spending more time on such things as napping and keeping my feet elevated above my heart. Summer is not kind to pregnant ankles, oh my no!

Early this month, Eric and I went out to Southern California for nine days. We had a wonderful time. Not only did we get to spend a little time with my left-coast family (dad, grandma, and uncle) - we also got to attend his brother's wedding and see his family as well: mom and dad in from the Bahamas; sister, grandfather, aunt and uncle in from D.C.; cousins in from Ohio; various other assorted friends and family from all across the country. We had an absolute blast, especially considering that it was the first time all of Eric's immediate family had been together in several years. We took a ton of pictures - there's an album up on Shutterfly, but it contains 220 pictures, so only wander that way if you are very curious or really trying to procrastinate.

In addition to wedding events and family visits, I also got to visit with some of my favorite people in the world, my dear, dear friends from the few years I lived in L.A. I have pictures of that, too, but Sassy's are better - and they're already up on her blog, so less work for me. She officially has the only picture of my naked belly that I have ever allowed anyone to take - I think I'm ok with it being online . . .

In addition to vacationing in LA-LA land, we're preparing to move. A friend of ours recently purchased a townhome south of the Twin Cities, and we're going to be the downstairs tenants for the next few years while I finish up my degree. Currently, no one is living in the house, as the whole thing needed to be repainted, stress on need. The color scheme in the house was black-white-grey-greyish-blue, and the effect was, in a word, ugly. I'm staying away from all painting activity because of the fumes, but I have been running errands and helping where I can - I spent too many hours last week pressure-washing our new deck (which will be fabulous once the years of grimy, mossy buildup have been washed away). As a result of last weekend's deck-washing, I got to spend about two solid days on the couch, in the direct path of our A/C unit, reclining with my feet up on a stack of all available pillows. Thanks, Mom, for the crappy circulation!

Today I actually ventured out of the house for the first real post-pressure-washing excursion: the plan was to meet a friend for lunch and then go to the Mall of America to get my hair cut and perhaps shop a little. The lunch went off more or less without a hitch, though I got lost on the way there and was late. We went to La Bodega tapas bar in Uptown and had a very yummy lunch: the cheese platter, tortilla (one of my favorite things from my time in Spain), and verduras a la plancha - the eggplant in this dish was especially yummy. We finished up with coffee and tiramisu. Mmmmm! I know some have expressed disappointment with La Bodega, saying it was overpriced, overcrowded, and not as good as expected, but I really enjoyed the tapas we had, and I think that for a light lunch, this place is ideal. We were the only ones there for much of our lunch. Unfortunately, I didn't get to complete the second part of my planned excursion for the day: I got lost leaving Uptown, as well, and so arrived late for my hair appointment. Sadly, my favorite stylist was booked for the next five hours, so I had to console myself with a little maternity-clothes shopping.

After battling early-rush traffic to get back home, I decided to stop by Barnes & Noble and pick up the next book for the book club I'm theoretically involved with (I have only been to one meeting since the club began meeting in January - the last several meetings have actually been canceled, though, because it's summer and people have better things to do with the last Friday of the month). Anyone have any opinions on The Secret Life of Bees? I hope it's as good as the hype surrounding it would indicate. I also picked up a brand-new academic year planner, which hopefully I will actually use to keep track of a life that will, inevitably, become more complicated once the kiddo arrives in September. After completing the Barnes and Noble experience with a refreshing beverage, I headed home and discovered that the office is actually a bearable temperature for the first time in quite a while - hence the waaaay-long update here.

And now, I must go pack up some books. It is my job for the next several days to package at least two boxes of stuff daily, which Eric will then transport to the townhouse the following day. He's going over more or less every day when he gets off of work to try and finish up the painting, which must all be complete before we move in on August 8. Thereafter, by the way, we will have central air, and more frequent blogging should resume. Until then, I make no promises.

- posted by laurie @ 7/22/2004 04:30:00 PM (0) comments