February 2007

Potter author sues eBay over pirated books

Potter author sues eBay over pirate booksIn fiction his enemies are evil wizards and magical beasts, but Harry Potter’s latest adversary is a real corporation with a turnover of more than $2 billion.

J. K. Rowling, Harry’s creator, is suing the online auction hosting service eBay after unscrupulous sellers used the Indian version of the website to sell unauthorised versions of her books.

Rowling is not the first person to sue the website for breach of copyright, but she has won a unique victory by obtaining an injunction that prohibits eBay from listing illegal copies of her work. The court order is a setback for eBay because it is the first time the company has been obliged to police its sellers regarding auctions for copyrighted material.

Computers replace books

Computers replace books” Wor-Wic Community College sophomore Christy Lohnas doesn’t have to search through stacks of books anymore to find the resources she needs.

When Lohnas has a paper to complete, the library’s online database provides the answers.

Wor-Wic’s Library, better known as the Media Center, has gone completely electronic, replacing books with desktop computers. The collection of full-text online databases covers a wide range of genres and includes a variety of both print and online sources such as articles from reference books, academic journals, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and statistical tables.

Wireless Users More Engaged With Cyberspace

Are you a wireless user? If so, The Pew Internet and American Life Project experts say that you “show deeper engagement with cyberspace” than your wired comrades.

The BBC reports that while 54% of internet users check e-mail “on the typical day,” 72% of wireless users check daily.

Just under half of wireless users get news online every day, compared to 31% of internet users at large.

Not sure if this is a positive trend, as life doesn’t really revolve around cyberspace…or does it?

Library workers upset over surveillance cam

News 10 Now has a report on an odd move by a library director up in Ithaca, NY. Workers at the Tompkins County Public Library [Site] are upset they were being watched.

Library Director Janet Steiner suspected money was being taken from the library donation box. Steiner then contacted the Ithaca Police Department, who placed a surveillance camera in a clock radio.

NYTimes Article on Video Search Engine

Paul Lewis writes “Articles discusses video site Blinkx.com blinkx.com which employs speech recognition technology to posted videos to enhance keyword searching capabilities for video content. They Say Blinkx’s speech-recognition technology employs neural networks and machine learning using “hidden Markov models,” a method of statistical analysis in which the hidden characteristics of a thing are guessed from what is known.”

Samizdat: Censorship and self publishing in the USSR

Samizdat was the clandestine copying and distribution of government-suppressed literature or other media in Soviet-bloc countries. Copies were made a few at a time, and those who received a copy would be expected to make more copies. This was often done by handwriting or typing. This grassroots practice to evade officially imposed censorship was fraught with danger as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials.

Wikipedia entry on Samizdat

Another piece on Samizdat can be found here:
Samizdat – a brief history

Dream fulfilled for library’s first black employee

JET writes One From wilmingtonstar.com:
As Coco looks back over her nearly 40-year career at what’s now the New Hanover County Public Library, memories of driving a van to public housing complexes like Jervay, Creekwood and Taylor Homes to show movies and deliver books to children fill her head.

In July, Coco will retire to spend more time with her daughter and three grandchildren.

“I can’t go anywhere further in here than out the door. I’ve done all that I wanted to do,” she said about her job.

“It’s been wonderful. … You got to know when to leave.””