The Daily Kos is looking into a White House correspondent with questionable bona fides. People in various places are contributing some reporting, and the results promise to be worth seeing, one way or the other.
"the issues raised by 'orphan works,' i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Concerns have been raised that the uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works in new creative efforts or making such works available to the public."
This is wonderful news, and a sign of that people like Larry Lessig are making progress in educating the powers-that-be on the issues.
I'm reminded of that by a call this morning from António Granado, who writes about science for Publico, a major daily newspaper, and posts frequently to his own journalism blog. He's reviewing We the Media, which has just been published in Portuguese.
We Americans tend to take for granted the ascendency of English. While English has become the international language of commerce, science and aviation -- and it's becoming a common second language around the globe -- cultures are holding onto what makes them unique. As they should.
One of the reasons I like to travel is meeting people who aren't like me in their own lands. We all refract life through human lenses, but our cultures determine a lot about who we are beyond that.
Editor & Publisher: Senators to Introduce 'Stop Government Propaganda Act'. In response to continued revelations of government-funded "journalism" -- ranging from the purported video news releases put out by the drug czar's office and the Department of Health and Human Services to the recently uncovered payments to columnists Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher,who flacked administration programs -- Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) will introduce a bill, The Stop Government Propaganda Act, in the Senate next week.
Of course, when Democrats introduced -- and got many, many co-sponsors for -- legislation mandating verifiable electronic voting, they couldn't get serious Republican support even for that.
This will be a test in many ways. If people can't support this bill, they are outright endorsing corruption of the press. Period.
NY Times: SBC Said to Be in Talks to Buy AT&T. A deal, if reached, would be the final chapter in the 120-year history of AT&T, the first technological giant of the modern age and the original model for telecommunications companies worldwide. A deal would be a reunion of sorts, putting back together some of the largest pieces of the Ma Bell telephone monopoly, which was broken up in 1984.
The AT&T of today is a weak shadow of its former self. SBC is one of the powerhouses among the regional monopolies.
This deal, by itself, wouldn't do much to disrupt the marketplace immediately. But it's a harbinger of trouble.
The worry is on the data side. Voice is already moving into the data sphere as VoIP, and will someday be seen as a small add-on to data.
SBC is one of the most arrogant of the "Baby" (!) Bells. But all of them, assisted by an FCC that has been determined to let the phone and cable duopoly control data access, are moving to throttle the most important competitive market of the future -- broadband -- by insisting on absolute control over the wires they've installed based on government-granted monopolies. This local duopoly makes other kinds of consolidation look tame.
Someday, wireless broadband could help. But competing wireless systems have to connect to backbones and their local nodes. If the Bells can take over the companies that provide such data access, they can be anticompetitive in new ways.
I predict a slew of deals like this, where the regional Bells take over the long-distance and backbone companies, with little regulatory concern. Then we'll be even deeper in the soup.
On Wal-Mart's corporate website, under News and then Statements (the site makes it almost impossible to link directly inside, no doubt on purpose), is this gem:
As you may know, Wal-Mart makes an exception to its anti-union stance in that bastion of freedom, China. See this BBC story for the basic facts. (The Chinese "union" is controlled by the government, and "represents" workers accordingly.)
Then read Harold Myerson's Washington Post column (reg req) to understand the meaning of it all, which I summarize with this apt quote: " When a company such as Wal-Mart is so plainly comfortable with authoritarianism abroad, it tells you something about that company's values at home."
The Associated Press' Technology Editor, Frank Bajak, has written a nicely nuanced overview of last week's Harvard gathering on blogging, journalism and credibility. Key quote:
The bloggers aren't quite overrunning the newsroom, but they are engaging established media in keyboard-to-keyboard combat that's benefiting public discourse and making the journalism ``franchises'' more accountable.
Meanwhile, Slate's Jack Schafer debunks away but veers toward outright condescension in this piece about the same event. On a semi-private mail list for attendees (which I won't quote directly), the fur is flying, needless to say.