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Among the Bootleggers

High on Clark. Download defenders. The working rich. California huffing. Plus MUCH more.

9.29.03

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GO WES, YOUNG MAN
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Funny Girly-Boy:

Regarding your 9/25 "story" about Wes Clark .

1. You assert that Clark wanted to fire on Russian troops in Kosovo. How does blocking the airport constitute 'firing on' them?

2. Unlike Huffington to the Arnold, Clark is already polling at numbers comparable to Bush -- he's a viable candidate.

3. If you want to talk about lies and distortions look no further than the Bush campaign of 2000. "No Child Left Behind"? Ha! How about increasingly more kids living under the poverty line (by the official government statistics from the Census) since 2000. Reversing the trend established by Clinton.

R. Emmett, there is a vast right-wing conspiracy and you, pal, are a card carrying member of it.
-- Robert Brown

NO SUCH THING AS A FREE HUNCH:
Re: Francis X. Rocca's Download Freeloaders:

Two points: One, bootlegging and downloading music from the Internet are not the same thing according to the law. Bootlegging is the sale of illegally produced materials in violation of the copyright laws. Unless I missed something, nobody is selling music illegally on the Internet, they are giving it away. Which brings me to item 2; unless I missed the congressional action on the copyright statute, it is not illegal to give away copies of music whether one owns the copyright or not. Recording companies gain a royalty on every blank cassette and blank audio CD (not data CD's used by computers) sold in this country. This was the compromise reached to allow updating of the copyright law. I'm not sure of the date.

The problem now is that digital copies of digital copies lose no fidelity in the copying like analog copies did. I agree this is a problem but until Congress amends the copyright law to address the peer to peer swapping of music, it may be immoral to download but it is not illegal.
-- Dave Kuchler
North Brunswick, New Jersey

If Francis X. Rocca wants to understand the future of intellectual property, he needs to stop analyzing the moral arguments of sixteen year olds and deal with the real issue.

First, there is no such thing as intellectual property. There is the modern political creation called copyright, which is a temporary monopoly in the reproduction of words and music. But this monopoly rests, not on any power inherent in government, but on the domination of a particular technology -- a technology now being displaced.

For most of human history, copyright did not exist. The reason is fairly straightforward. If you wanted your words reproduced, discouraging other people from reproducing them was not the way to go. People who copied your words were doing you a favor, they were not stealing from you.

The printing press changed all this, of course. But even with triumph of print, there was no effective copyright until quite recently. Again, the reason is easy to discern. Pre-modern governments simply lacked the power to control what printers printed (see eighteenth century Britain). Or rather, to the extent that governments attempted to create a monopoly in the reproduction of words, it was a monopoly created on behalf of printers - not authors. It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that copyright actually provided a means for authors to "own" their works, and to make a living.

Now this government monopoly is in the process of disappearing. Again, it is not hard to figure out why. It made no sense to have copyright in the centuries before the printing press, and it will now make no sense to have copyright when digital copying is free, instantaneous, automatic, and universal. Music is only the cutting edge. When once digital displays become as portable, and as easy to read, as printed books and magazines -- then copyright in words is also gone.

As George Gilder puts it, if you have ten million customers who routinely "steal" your product, you don't have a theft problem, you have a marketing problem.

It's a new world, Mr. Rocca. You'd better get used to it.
-- Jefferson White
Hilliard, Ohio

I read Francis X. Rocca's article "Download Freeloaders" with some apprehension. I say that as I have worked in the digital medium all my life as programmer, designer and developer. The problem is Mr. Rocca has been reading too many of the RIAA pamphlets. Consider:

• It costs < $2 to produce a record to label before distribution. Why are CD's $15-25 in the stores?

• Why are artists, who can get a label, receiving only $3 of the total?

• The holder of record for song titles are not the artists! Most artists in order to get a label have to sign away their rights to not only their current but up to 5-8 additional albums. The RIAA represents the publishers, which is not the same thing as the artist.

I would suggest Mr. Rocca read two articles (click here and here). He might find Janice Ian's article most enlightening.

I would have Mr. Rocca consider a spin on the materials by the RIAA. Is it customer serving that in order to buy a Mazda Miata would also be required to purchase a Mazda 323, 626 and B2200? Most would say no and turn such an offer down flat. But that is what the record industry is doing today. Look at most CD's and maybe 2-3 songs are what you are buying; the balance is filler. Ask yourself why the 45rpm record format died? Or the single play CD? The record industry found out long ago that selling the album was more profitable than selling the singles. They want to protect the status quo to line their pockets.

Now I am not one to suggest wanton disregard for IP. But the artists that produce the music are finding that they can produce the product equal to what the record industry does for less cost and in a format that the customer wants. In the Internet age the major record labels will become more and more irrelevant. The RIAA is fighting a desperate attempt to prop up the large, costly infrastructure that has built up over the years. They are on the wrong side of history and technology on this issue. It is in our collective interests to see to their demise if only to protect ourselves from draconian laws that serve only to line the pockets of a few. The industry is ripe for downsizing and the sooner they get to it the better off they will be.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

RICH AND FAMOUS
Re: Shawn Macomber's The Other Other Side:

I think the Macomber article about attending parties of the rich complaining about poverty is one of the best written pieces I've ever read. The structure, the pacing, the words used -- all combine to make a strong point.
--Jane Rose
Rockport, Texas

Brilliant! As Fred Imus asked the other morning on his brother's radio program, What's the difference between a porcupine and a BMW -- with one the pr--ks are on the outside and the other they're inside.
-- unsigned

Wonderful piece. Thanks for putting into words what I've thought for so long. If Mr. Macomber has more articles like that left in him when his internship is up, please offer him a job.
-- Russ Bader
Lincoln, Nebraska

Denny Kucinich bankrupted Cleveland not Cincinnati. Cincinnati was where Jerry Springer wrote a check to a [woman] while city councilman. Easy to get them confused from the East Coast.
-- Jim Harris

END OF DEBATE
Re: George Neumayr's Huffing and Puffing at Huffington:

I read Mr. Neumayr's "Huffing and Puffing at Huffington" and here's another tack for consideration. It seems to me that Arnold was in a no-win situation with Arianna. Personally, I don't think she deserved to be there, she wasn't serious and it was obvious she was more interested in attracting attention than replying to questions. In a man-to-man faceoff, Arnold or any other man wouldn't let an attack go by so if he ignored her, he would have been criticized for not responding, and I would have been one of them. She, no doubt, would have been encouraged to continue her tactics perhaps interrupting even more knowing she was getting a pass. If women want to play in the big leagues, they have to take it as much as they give it. That's equality. Hillary uses a similar strategy, she is very aggressive then plays the female victim when it is to her advantage and men are left wondering, do I treat a female as an equal or what? Men had better sort this out soon because it is dangerous with an Eva Peron waiting for 2004 or 2008 and who has gotten this far avoiding bruising political combat that everyone else knows they must expose themselves to reach higher office. Arnold did the right thing. Mr. Neumayr was correct, McClintock was sober and knowledgeable but that is not enough and that won't get him elected in the age of televised spectacles which are as much about entertainment as information and Arnold was in his element. Ronald Reagan connected with his outgoing, positive personality and Arnold, as a successful, outgoing businessman/executive/actor, does the same. California could do a lot worse.
-- Karen Kamuda
Vice President, Managing Editor
Titanic Historical Society & Titanic Museum
Indian Orchard, Massachusetts

George, George, George, get hold of yourself! Let's face it, McClintock was head and shoulders above the rest and Ahnold will be elected Governor. This is Cauilifornia, not Nirvana. The real problem is that neither Ahnold nor anyone else has any idea what he is getting into. These lunatics in Sacramento have left problems that may not be solvable. After dealing with these problems, I predict that, three years from now, Ahnold will be a 90 pound weakling!
-- Tom Dougherty
Sunnyvale, California

Re: Arianna Huffington's performance the other night: No wonder her husband left her for another man.
-- Mike Horn
Tracy, California

ACCOMMODATING TERROR
Re: Paul Weyrich's Holy Places:

It is interesting that the world continues to press Christians to accept the unacceptable, but remains silent in regard to Muslims. I would like to see these same people demand that women should be mullahs, that women should be allowed to be judges in Muslim lands and reign over Muslim men. Perhaps when they accomplish that, they can talk to the monks at Mt. Athos.
-- Isabel Papagno

Sometimes a book pushes a hot button. Sometimes all it takes is a word.

"When we hear about the Middle East, we frequently hear about the holy places that are important to religious believers. Some date back to the beginning of recorded history. There are holy places that are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. This is true about Israel and what may become Palestine and now we hear the same thing about Iraq." -- Paul M. Weyrich in "Holy Places," Friday, 26 SEP 2003.

Here the offender is "may,, as in "what may become Palestine." If Palestinian misbehavior since the Oslo Accords in 1993 is any basis for the existence of an independent Palestine, then the operative words should be "will never."

Please do not post my name and hometown on the web. I have a rare name, live in a small town, and know that enemies can read maps.
-- name withheld

HEAVY MEDALS
Re: Jed Babbin's Clinton's General:

In the recent article by Jed Babbin their is reference to Clark's silver star in Vietnam. As one who served in Vietnam as an officer, though be it only a Lt. it was seen on many occasions where those in high positions got medals for simply existing. One example I was personally involved in was a Lt. Col, my commanding officer got the Legion of Merit because he led his troops into battle. Yes, he told us what to do, even flew out to the fire base after the battle to help in the body count, and made sure everyone knew he was in charge. Most of the "Grunts" who did the actual fighting smoked a couple of joints, had a beer, put on their ruck sacks, and went back into the jungle, while the Lt. Col., got back into the helicopter and went back to base camp for a cold beer, hot shower, and a hot meal.

When required to go to his award presentation, many of us who were involved in the situation were almost sickened at the event. How that Lt. Col., got a medal for setting in a bunker at base camp, and then flying out afterwards was beyond us.

So, maybe Clark did earn his silver star for doing something brave, or maybe just maybe he was awarded it just because. Saw it on more than one occasion. The higher up in rank the bigger the medal whether deserved or not. The military did take care of their own.
-- Bruce Squires

P.S. Note, I was awarded two bronze stars, one I truly feel I earned, the other was awarded just because I managed to survive a year, did the job I was being paid to do, and didn't cause anyone too much trouble. .

KISS KISS
Re: Enemy Central's Debategates:

I am in total agreement about Arianna, she always makes me think of the movies showing the witchy rich woman going "kiss kiss" and mumbling a nasty remark about the person she just greeted as she moves on.

I would very much like to see McClintock become the governor of California. He is heads above any of the other candidates with his experience, and knowledge of politics. Perhaps, the people of California will be wise enough to see the great advantage of him winning the recall. I can hope.

Arnold needs to learn far too much at this time and with the state in the terrible state it is in, he could easily make many mistakes simply because he may speak and act too quickly. I do hope Davis leaves as his rushing about signing in bills that are simply not needed at this time and no real thought or wisdom was shown by him in doing this.
-- Carole

TWAIN MARKED
Re: Bill Croke's Sparks Flying

Mr. Croke wrote: "I'm sure Mark Twain noted churches side by side with saloons and brothels in old Virginia City."

Has he forgotten Twain's eloquent summation of Virginia City in the "flush times"? To wit:

"There were military companies, fire companies, brass bands, banks, hotels, theatres, 'hurdy-gurdy houses,' wide-open gambling palaces, political pow wows, civic processions, street fights, murders, inquests, riots, a whisky mill every fifteen steps ... a dozen breweries and half a dozen jails and stationhouses in full operation, and some talk of building a church."[Emphasis added]
-- Rich Rostrom

NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND
Re: Reid Collins' Revenge of the Electric Pole:

Underground wires have their own problems, chief among which is the significantly higher original cost and the significantly lower capacity for overloads. If a utility is required to keep trees trimmed and given enough money to hire the workers. I would never want underground wires to my home. Of course, you do not have to buy electricity, you can always make it yourself. Good luck.
-- Walter E. Wallis, P.E.
Palo Alto, CA

PAPERED OVER
Re: Heather Roscoe's That'll Teach 'Em:

In "That'll Teach 'Em," on the teacher strike in Marysville, Washington, Heather Roscoe says, "A state budget crunch has left them less well off than they would have liked and low on funds to buy basic supplies, like regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper." That simply isn't so. There was no action taken in the state budget that would cause school districts to be low on funds to buy basic supplies. It sounds like Ms. Roscoe bought some of the propaganda being sold by the WEA.

Otherwise, Ms. Roscoe finds her mark. There appears to be little patience among the public this year with the bully-boy tactics of the WEA. According to recent news accounts, even the students are demanding that their teachers get back to school.
-- John Archer
Senior Fiscal Analyst
Washington Legislature
Olympia, Washington

TAKING EXCEPTION
Re: George Neumayr's Planned Parenthood's Latest Casualty:

I took exception to your article on the young woman's death from the abortion pill. Obviously, her death was a tragedy, and there could well have been serious mistakes made on the part of the doctor who prescribed it. However, the writer is blatantly exploiting her death to make the case that all abortions should be illegal. If the author really has such concern over the fate of young women's bodies, perhaps he should read more about countries where abortion is banned, and women routinely resort to back-alley abortions, which often leave them dead. Worldwide, more women die from illegal and safe abortions than from political torture. I don't make excuses for negligent doctors in any field of medicine. The woman whose fetus was expelled sans two limbs was a victim of a shoddy gynecologist, who probably deserves to have his license revoked. Yet, there are shoddy and unqualified professions in every field of medicine, from gynecology to plastic surgery. Following the author's logic, we should ban all medical procedures. If the author truly thinks that the death of one woman from an unsafe abortion is one too many, as in the case of the teenager who took the abortion pill, then the answer is not to criminalize all abortions, but to make sure that they are performed only by licensed professionals, and the way to do that is to keep them legal and safe.

But it is clear the author is not interested in women's health and reproductive rights. Rather, he is only one of many in the anti-choice movement who seek protection of the fetus by sacrificing the well-being, (and sometimes life) of the woman.
-- Carrie Stanziola

SELF-TAUGHT
Re: David Hogberg's A Learning Experience:

I know what I learned after Thursday's president-wannabees' debate: the Democratic Party has finally formed a ten little Indians circular "shooting gallery"...
-- Cari Gravellinini
Cambridge, Massachusetts

YASSERTIVENESS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Arafat Removal:

Your article on Mr. Arafat is so full of hate and bias, that it makes me very sad. You never mention anything bad on the other side -- you portray the Israelis as mere victims. Since everybody in this world knows it is not so... I just can't figure out how can you write something that is simply not true. Anyway, it's sad.
-- Sheila Sultanovic

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