Must Read Stories

Must Read Stories

Gov't officials are "obsessed with control" of the media

Kathleen writes "Bill Moyers denounced the right wing and top officials at the White House, saying they are trying to silence their critics by controlling the news media.
Over 2,000 people converged in St. Louis Missouri this weekend for the second-ever National Conference on Media Reform. Few issues were discussed as much as the future of public broadcasting in this country.

The conference was held amid accusations that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been largely taken over by conservatives who are influencing programming and hiring decisions.
In his first public address since leaving PBS six months ago, journalist Bill Moyers responds to charges by Kenneth Tomlinson - the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - of liberal bias and revelations that Tomlinson hired a consultant to monitor the political content of Moyers' PBS show "Now.""

Condom Machines May Come To Public Libraries

Terrence Bosky writes to share a story from KOLD in Arizona,

"Condom Machines May Come To Public Libraries
By Kaushal Patel, KOLD News 13

It's just an idea for now, but condom machines may be placed in local public libraries."

An interesting quote from the article is encouraging considering that they assume teens are hanging out in libraries:

"We have to make them accessible neighborhood centers, libraries, other places teens are hanging out," says City Councilman Jose Ibarra. He wants to discuss the possible expansion with the library board."

I wonder how this one will go over!?

Book-burning event in Scotland ignites controversy

Kathleen writes "The public bonfire of old and unread books in Scotland’s national book town,Wigtown, will be a vast funeral pyre of books to be lit today, marking the Celtic festival of Beltane.
The event, billed as the Beltane Book Burning, is the idea of Shaun Bythell, who owns The Bookshop
, Scotland’s largest second-hand bookstore. He agreed that the idea is a controversial one. “It certainly seems to polarise people. The reaction is either, ‘that’s a brilliant idea’, or ‘you will burn in hell’.�

The books destined for the fire are mass-produced artefacts - their contents will not disappear when they burn. If the objectors’ point is that books symbolise free speech, why are they not then sentimental about using newspapers as firelighters or fish and chip wrappings? There is also a practical problem: what do you do with unwanted books? They can be sent to the developing world - but how many Kenyan schoolchildren will really benefit from the works of Galsworthy? Does it justify the aviation fuel?

As the poet Joseph Brodsky observed: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.�"

Lots for bibliophiles at library group gathering

Admit it, hard-core book fans: You wouldn't mind buying a special library-grade "book return bin" for your own home or driveway.

They are on display at the packed exhibit hall of the Public Library Association conference at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, along with other library-centric books and equipment. Read more about this here .

Borrow books on the train!

In an exciting new initiative, Frankston Library Service, in Victoria, Australia, launched Frankston Library Express on 17 February at the Frankston Railway Station.

Frankston Library Express offers a fast lending service of popular paper back titles on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, between 6:30am and 8:30am, at the Frankston Railway Station.

In Victoria's first lending service to commuters, travellers on the Frankston line will be able to select from 300 books including romances, suspense/thrillers, crime, mysteries, classic fiction and general interest non-fiction.

What do others think? Has this been trialled in other countries before? Read what Frankston are doing and let us all know!

Rare books and Australian Tourism

Over 100 rare and curious published items on the theme of Australian tourism are currently being featured in a special exhibition of material from the Monash University Library Rare Books Collection at the Sir Louis Matheson Library on Clayton campus, in Victoria, Australia.

The exhibition is running at the moment-read the introduction by David Dunston or have a look at the magnificent virtual exhibition of gorgeous book covers. It's hard to choose a favourite when each is better than the last!

Stealing The Internet

Here's A Scary One by Jeff Chester & Steven Rosenfeld on the future of the web.

They say the thousands of lawsuits are not just about ensuring record companies and artists get the royalties they deserve. They're part of a larger plan to fundamentally change the way the Internet works.

From Congress to Silicon Valley, the nation's largest communication and entertainment conglomerates -- and software firms that want their business -- are seeking to restructure the Internet, to charge people for high-speed uses that are now free and to monitor content in an unprecedented manner. This is not just to see if users are swapping copyrighted CDs or DVDs, but to create digital dossiers for their own marketing purposes.

Under a scenario presented by some lobbyists, people on fixed incomes would have to accept a stripped-down Internet, full of personally targeted advertising. Other users could get a price break if they receive bundled content -- news, music, games -- from one telecom or media company. Anybody interested in other "non-mainstream" news, software or higher-volume usage, could pay for the privilege.

Via This Metafilter Thread.

You Did Get Through To Him [ Sony Barari ]

The author of Library science degree: file that under ‘stupid’ has written this in reponse to the harassment (my words not his Sony Barari that is) he\'s had to deal with since his story broke.


Sony Barari writes:

Sometimes negative attention forces you to stop and wonder:
what exactly are we doing as comedians and satirists? While the bulk of satire may seem relatively superficial and too often topical to provide any real and lasting value from an intellectual standpoint, it does serve as a magnifying glass for that brief moment in which it is read, intensifying the reader’s scrutiny upon the subject at hand. Like any other mode of expression, however, it cannot function at all without attention. In this way it may be like a gross New York Post tabloid, but the objectives cannot be systematically simplified and subsequently relegated to some recess of literary darkness.

His story continues below...

Online Journalist\'s Legal Protections Increased Substantially.

Tom Regan over at reports that online
journalist\'s legal protections have increased
: \"in a court decision
that was largely overlooked by the mainstream media, a New York Supreme
Court judge
[Paula Omansky] has issued a ruling in a libel case
that extends the same speech protections to online journalists that their
print, radio, and TV colleagues have enjoyed since the famous Sullivan
v. New York Times decision of 1964.\"

The defendant--editor, publisher, and journalist for
reported that a president of a Mexican bank (the bank, Banamex, was bought
by Citigroup during the trial) was connected with drug traffickers. 
After Banamex had lost (repeatedly) their claim of libel in Mexican courts
they moved their complaint to a New York, USA court.  Tom Regan reports
that the judge\'s decision is the first time that the protections provided
by the Sullivan
v. New York Times
decision have been extended to online journalists
., who helped the defendant with an Amicus
Curiae Brief
, has a copy of the court\'s
.  See also the EFF
press release
, and the EFF
about the case, as well as an extensive list of articles
about the case
compiled at

Banamex may appeal the decision.

-Hermit ;-)

The Invisible Web

This one comes by way of LLRX. It\'s a book review by Donna Cavallini, Manager of Competitive Knowledge with the law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton. She discusses in her review, a book entitled \"The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can’t See.\" by Chris Sherman (search engine watch) and Gary Price (virtual acquisition shelf & news desk). The book talks about the vast amount of information on the web that can\'t be retrieved via search engine spiders, for various reasons, ranging from business matters to technological ones. According to the review, the book is intended to \"empower searchers to surmount these obstacles, in part by explaining the technical reasons why search engines otherwise inexplicably fail to return relevant results, and in part by providing a directory of selected subject-specific tools for accessing this valuable hidden web content.\" More

NYC / DC Attack Reference Links

Research Buzz has assembled a great list of links for anyone trying to answer reference questions re: yesterday\'s attack.

Thanks to for the tip.

Associated Press: Quoting = Copyright Violation

In breaking news, The Associated Press has apparently begun leaning on authors to stop using quotations from AP articles to guide their readers to the complete text as it appears on other sites.

In a message sent to all contributors, an moderator wrote:

\"I have some bad news to convey to everyone - AP and other news services
have decided to be quite strict in how they interpret their copyrights.
Before, it was always assumed to be OK if we just quoted a couple of
sentences from a news story and then provided a link - it was copying all or
most of a story which we had to avoid.
But not any more. Quoting even one sentence, if it conveys the gist of the entire story, isn\'t something that they want to permit now. They are serious about this. They have already been in contact with About over Guides who have done nothing more than quote the first couple of lines
on their sites, along with a link back to the full story.\" seems ready to knuckle-under D.M.C.A-style, and I can only imagine \'blogs will be the next target.

More information is available at Politech.

The Very Real Threat of the D.M.C.A.

If you have any doubts about the chilling effect of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on free speech, take a gander at this article from Salon. A British medical research firm has used the Act to force a U.S. ISP to remove the page of animal rights group critical of their work:

On Thursday, EnviroLink Network, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Internet service provider, took offline two Web sites belonging to the animal-rights activist group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. The action came in response to a letter sent to the ISP earlier in the week by Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British medical research firm. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Huntingdon accused the activists of violating its copyright. Although no charges have yet been filed, under the terms of the DMCA, Envirolink was forced to remove the sites to avoid potential legal liability. \"It\'s very clear that Huntingdon Life Sciences just wants to shut them up,\" says Josh Knauer, the founder of Envirolink, which provides free Web hosting to nonprofits . . .

More. This is a truly disgusting development.

Internet Access, Filtering and Monitoring

I stumbled across this one earlier today and it contains some great information. Cindy Curling, Electronic Resources Librarian for a Washington DC firm, did an informal survey of librarians and others on issues of privacy and filtering, and the responses and related comments are very interesting. I recommend taking the time to read the entire article and exploring the included links. Although the title mentions law libraries, specifically, the information contained in the article goes far beyond that. According to the author herself, \"I found the comments and opinions above to be interesting, and more importantly, thought provoking. I was especially surprised at how few librarians had any influence in the development of their firm/school/agency\'s Internet access policy...\" more...

The Dawn of the Pay-Per-View Web?

This just in from Slashdot- a potentially grim development for those providing their patrons with free Web access:

\"A Norwegian newssite ( has a story . . . about a Swedish company\'s filter-system which enable content-delivery sites to differentiate between different ISP\'s. This means that the ISP has to pay a fee to the site in order to enable the site\'s content to the ISP\'s users. Another story (also norwegian) discusses the implications of this. They report that the swedish company (Tric AB) will \"act as a third party between ISP\'s and content-suppliers with the intent to let the content-suppliers get a share of the access-income. It will act as a clearinghouse where the income from the ISP\'s is distributed to different content-suppliers in relation to size and traffic\". According to a swedish newssite (, Tric has already gathered the largest content-suppliers in Sweden and they are already in discussions with the large ISP and telecoms in Sweden (Telia, Tele2 etc.) which are positive to this. The background for this initiative is the problem of financing the content on the Internet. So far it\'s all been advertising and subsidising from other parts of the companies, now it will be the up to the ISP and telecom-companies to share the income with other actors. This would also be the death of smaller ISP\'s that feed off the free structure of the net, given that this model is applied to the entire net. And not to forget the new business created: clearinghouses. We were just waiting for another level of complicity.\" Either your ISP pays a fee to the content provider (raising your access fees, of course), or the provider blocks access to itself from all of your ISP\'s users and you have to deal with their complaints. We\'ll probably see this in the U.S. soon, as the next stage in the media consolidation.\"

Scroll down to about the 1/2 way mark on the page to find this article and a link to the 100+ outraged responses. Thanks to Metafilter.

Judith Platt Responds

Judith Platt has responded on her radical librarian remarks below.

\"The last thing that I intended was to anger or alienate the library
community. I value them as friends, colleagues and allies in the fight for
free expression and literacy. If publishers and librarians don\'t always see
eye-to-eye on copyright issues, we\'ve been able to seek workable compromises
in the past, and we have every expectation of doing so in the digital

I was quoted completely out of context ZDNet news article.


Library radicals targeted in latest copyright battles Is Reporting on the copyright controversy that casts us as villains simply for doing our job.

And you thought Pat Schroeder was bad a few months ago?

\"They\'ve got their radical factions, like the Ruby Ridge or Waco types, who want to share all content for free, said Judith Platt, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Publishers.\"

They say Publishing houses primary targets are now the public library.

You go ahead and worry about filters, or hotels, me, I\'ll be worrying about The DMCA and The AAP. We\'ll see what impacts libraries more.

\"I don\'t see the doomsday of libraries not existing,\" said Wayne Overbeck, a professor of communications at California State University at Fullerton, who\'s been closely watching the digital copyright debates. \"But I do see libraries having a smaller collection. It\'s going to cost a lot more money than ever for libraries to be up to date.\"

The Case for Micropayments

Scott McCloud\'s smart and beautifully presented defense of file-sharing technology, and how it can benefit both artists and consumers, in two parts [Part 1 and Part 2]

\"When there\'s a direct exchange between creators of art and their audiences . . .small charges could earn those creators a decent living - while the army of middlemen . . .could go back to selling detergent, real estate, and two-by-fours.\"

[via Rebecca\'s Pocket]

Looting the Library

TechReview has This Amazing Story by Seth Shulman on what he calls \"Looting the Library\" by publishers.

He says publishers new greedy \"pay-per-use model\" for information content that will largely shut libraries out. No kind words for Pat Schroeder who he quotes as saying that publishers have to \"learn to push back\" against libraries.

He points out Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of Rupert Murdoch\'s News Corporation is calling for legislation that \"guarantees publishers\' control of not only the integrity of an original work, but of the extent and duration of users\' access to that work, the availability of data about the work and restrictions on forwarding the work to others\". You can see what that would do.

I agree with him when he says:
\"Too much is at stake to let the publishing industry undo the careful copyright balance we have all come to rely upon.\"

Where is the outrage on this that I see everyday over filters??

Questia Responds

I got a response from Questia on This Story. I have also been granted an interview with Questia, so if you have Questions For Questia, post them below, and I\'ll pass them along.

\"I\'d like to respond to your Feb. 22 story on \"Questionable
Advertising @ Questia???\"

Questia\'s business and marketing philosophies seek the greatest degree of
inclusion possible. We believe the feedback and interest from the
librarian and academic communities, particularly, are crucial to the
quality of content and service Questia provides. Therefore, proactive
education campaigns to these audiences have been in progress for more than
a year.


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