April 2009

‘Digital Barbarism’ Wages Online Copyright Battle

On “All Things Considered”

Author Mark Helprin wrote the novels A Soldier of the Great War and Winter’s Tale. And two years ago, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that inspired a huge online backlash.

In the op-ed, Helprin argued that the term for copyright protection should be extended to protect the author’s individual voice from the pressures of the digital age. For his boldness, he faced the digital wrath of those who feel the term of copyright protection should be reduced or eliminated altogether.

He’s responded to the backlash in the form of a book, Digital Barbarism: A Writer’s Manifesto.

One of the most prominent opponents to Helprin’s idea to extend copyright has been Lawrence Lessig. He’s a professor of law at Stanford University and the founder of Creative Commons, a system that allows creators to opt out of certain copyright protections.

Full piece here.

Libraries Need to Think More Like Trent Reznor

Libraries Need to Think More Like Trent Reznor:
The challenge is that some librarians may actually feel that it is the role of academic libraries to provide lowest-margin-of-return services since those are the ones our communities say they need. Instead, I feel that librarians need to begin identifying our added value services. What are the premium packages and the limited addition services which we can provide to support our communities? How can we create a new organizational models to support these services and the Reasons to Use?

Japanese publisher fighting comic bootlegs

A Japanese publisher says it will post Japanese manga comics online in English for U.S. residents in order to fight bootlegging.
Shogakukan Inc. said by offering an authorized version of the Japanese language comics online, it hopes to limit the spread of illegal copies of its comic books in Europe and the United States, Japan Today said Sunday.

The appearance of the comic copies online mere days after the published works are released in Japan has become a major problem for Japanese manga publishers.

Full story here.

Questioning Expenses in Lexington, KY

Kathleen Imhoff, the Lexington Public Library’s chief executive officer, spent more than $134,000 in five years on national and international travel, scores of meals at upscale Lexington restaurants, gifts for employees and board members, and other items, mostly on her library credit card.

Imhoff and her superiors on the library board of trustees defend her spending as appropriate for a high-profile businesswoman running a $15 million-a-year institution.

“The board hired me for several reasons, and among those was to increase library usage, to get the library more known in the community and to be an ambassador for the library, regionally, nationally and internationally,” said Imhoff, 63, in a recent interview. Lexington Herald-Leader has the story.

Monday follow-up in the Leader: “The Lexington Public Library is imposing new restrictions on the use of library credit cards after a Herald-Leader examination of its spending.”

Bronx Middle School Teacher (Didn’t) Plant a Bomb at the Library, but Said He Did

A Bronx educational building that houses three public middle schools with about 1,200 students was evacuated by the authorities around 8:30 a.m. Friday after a disgruntled computer teacher claimed to have planted a bomb in the library — a claim that officials said turned out to be false.

The Police Department dispatched officers, hostage negotiators and bomb squad technicians to the scene, after the teacher, Francisco Garabitos, 55, evidently angry about being reassigned because of a disciplinary proceeding, made the threat, the authorities said. The teacher, a union chapter chairman at the school, barricaded himself inside a computer lab, but he surrendered to the authorities around 11:15 a.m.

With Kindle, Can You Tell It’s Proust?

To Some writers and editors, the Kindle is the ultimate bad idea whose time has come. Anne Fadiman, the author, was relieved to learn that her essay collection, “Ex Libris,” was not available on Kindle. “It would really be ironic if it were,” she said of the book, which evokes her abiding passion for books as objects.

“There’s a little box on Amazon that reads ‘Tell the publisher I’d like to read this book on Kindle,’ ” she said. “I hope no one tells the publisher.”

Flashmob Goes Bad at UTC Library

5 Arrested After Students Text Message To Meet For “Party”
Upon arrival, police found a crowd of about 1,000 students congregating outside the library. The crowd began storming the library doors, chanting “Let us in!” “Take the library” and other statements as they attempted to enter the library. UTC Police told the crowd to disperse. Instead members of the crowd began to climb up on the library and jump into the crowd. Some threw items at the police officers on site.