Quicker than a Ray of Light
This is the perfect illustration of one of the major problems with copyright today. I want Michael to post the video online so that every library can see how great it is, but they'll get slapped with a cease-and-desist order if they do. When we discussed this informally at the conference, Bob said they tried several times to get through to someone at Warner Brothers in order to follow copyright compliance laws, but no one would give them the time of day.
So here we have the little Library that could and did (David) that can't get the attention of Warner Brothers (Goliath) just so they can show the fantastic video they did for their staff in-service day (and let me tell you, the video TOTALLY ROCKS!). Would SJCPL make a single dime off it if they post it online? No. In fact, it would probably cost them loads in bandwidth.
So what is the Library supposed to do in a case like this? They can't afford to be a test case or a protest case, but their video deserves to be seen beyond the borders of their building, if for no other reason than to inspire other librarians. Heck, Apple should be promoting how the staff used Mac software and hardware to put together the homegrown video and maybe then they could make some new inroads in the library market (SJCPL is one of the few public library Mac houses I know of).
So I ask again, what can we do to help them? Anyone have Madonna's home phone number? Should we start an online petition? Is there any way to release it under a Creative Commons license that fully credits Warner Brothers?
We're drowning in draconian copyright laws - help!
Something else I haven't had a chance to mention is that we've opened up the second round of participation for ListenIllinois. You may recall this is our collaborative group purchase of Audible titles with the NOLA folks behind ListenOhio. Now we want to take the project statewide, so any Illinois library can join between now and May 3, provided its regional Library System agrees to provide the first line of technical support.
So, if you are at an Illinois library that would like to join or if you would like more information about the project, please feel free to contact me and we'll start talking. Naturally, I think it's a great deal. ;-)
NCAA Schedule in Your Outlook Calendar
David Weinberger blogged today's librarian panel at sxsw, and it makes for very interesting reading. My first thought is how sad it is that Jon Udell was included on it. Well, not that he was included on it per se, but rather because it points out quite starkly that he's never gotten any similar recognition from libraries or librarians.
I'd like to officially encourage the folks behind the Internet Librarian conference and/or the Computers in Libraries conference (and any other conference) to invite Jon to give a presentation at the next event. Don't you think it's time we 1) officially recognize him for his contributions, 2) start hearing more from the outside world in general, and 3) ask to hear more from a library user who did something to our catalogs that we didn't do on our own and then made it available to the whole world?
I pointed at the screen when I read Dinah's comment, "Could libraries become a magazine, aggregating local sites?" Luckily, no one was around when I literally yelled, "RSS!!!!"
In addition, Liz's comments confirm my theory that the emerging topic in libraryland is social networking. It was the undercurrent buzz at CIL, rightly so.
They’ll be running a contest beginning April 1 in which the public can vote on their favorites. I’ve been listening to more audiobooks ever since I joined Audible as a personal subscriber, and I love the service so much that I implemented a group purchase of Audible titles in Illinois.
It would be pretty difficult for someone to listen to all 125 titles (note: Word document file) in order to be an informed voter in the APA’s contest, but I wondered if it could be done. My hypothesis is that it can’t because publishers keep the majority of their titles in cassette and CD form and will not license them to Audible.
To prove my hypothesis and show just how out of touch these publishers are, I went through their list of 125 titles and checked to see if each one is currently available through Audible. All finalists were released between November 1, 2002, and October 31, 2003, so they’ve had plenty of time to get them to Audible.
The results: 79 of the 125 titles (63%) are NOT available in Audible, which means just 37% of the audiobook titles the industry thinks are the best are available online as a digital audiobook.
What’s wrong with this picture? Why isn’t every title available as a file I can load on my Treo to take with me? I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t all of these titles ALREADY AUDIOBOOKS, so there shouldn’t be much of a physical cost to give them to Audible, right? The publisher has already acquired the audiobook rights and paid the narrator, etc., right?
Now, I know that this isn't totally the publishers fault, because sometimes the author refuses to allow titles to be distributed in this format. For example, I've read that J.K. Rowling has refused to make the Harry Potter available in a purely digital format. This tells me that Ms. Rowling fails to recognize that it is far easier to rip one of the Harry Potter CDs than it would be to try cracking Audible's encryption. So ultimately, in the end all it does is deny potential readers the joy of listening to the title.
And in the end, I'm being denied the chance to listen to 79 of the "best" titles of the year because I don't want to carry around a multitude of CDs or cassettes. The flip side, of course, is that the industry is losing out on my dollars since I can't purchase those 79 titles, even if I wanted to.
Isn't it too bad that the vendors aren't in on these discussions? I hope to contact Innovative to jumpstart discussions soon, but I'll just note that I did talk to someone at CIL who works for a major ILS vendor and who said, "Oh, we can do that. We will do that."
So all of you other vendors better get your butts in gear.
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Spreading the meme:
Why You Should Fall to Your Knees and Worship a Librarian