The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case | New Republic: " . . . The past few years have seen a lot of attention to the Obama Administration's war on whistleblowing. In the first move, the Administration revived the World War I Espionage Act, an Act whose infamous origins included a 10-year prison term for a movie director who made a movie that showed British soldiers killing women and children during the Revolutionary War and was therefore thought to undermine our wartime alliance with Britain, and was used to jail Eugene V. Debs and other politicalactivists. Barack Obama’s Department of Justice has brought more Espionage Act prosecutions for leaks to the press than all prior administrations combined since then, using the law as what the New York Times called an “ad hoc Official Secrets Act.” If Bradley Manning is convicted of aiding the enemy, the introduction of a capital offense into the mix would dramatically elevate the threat to whistleblowers. The consequences for the ability of the press to perform its critical watchdog function in the national security arena will be dire. And then there is the principle of the thing. However technically defensible on the language of the statute, and however well-intentioned the individual prosecutors in this case may be, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror of this case and ask: Are we the America of Japanese Internment and Joseph McCarthy, or are we the America of Ida Tarbell and the Pentagon Papers? What kind of country makes communicating with the press for publication to the American public a death-eligible offense? What a coup for Al Qaeda, to have maimed our constitutional spirit to the point where we might become that nation." (author - Yochai Benkler is a professor at Harvard Law School and co-Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.) Read full article at link above)
San Francisco-based Inkling is specifically shooting for Amazon’s book business. Founder and CEO Matt MacInnis observes that the Kindle isn’t especially well suited to the oversized, graphics-intensive layouts of many textbooks. Inkling seeks to overcome this limitation of traditional e-book formats through a layout engine specifically designed to re-envision textbooks for tablets, smartphones and the web. But elegant design doesn’t take you far if most online shoppers are going straight to Amazon to buy books. That’s why Inkling has developed an information architecture based on the concept of “cards.” Each of the books is divided into chapters, and each chapter is divided into cards. A card contains what amounts to one quantum of useful information. Cards themselves are viewable for free on a limited basis; readers can buy Inkling’s books by the chapter. Each card also has its own URL, which means Inkling’s cards are what Google indexes. Inkling is banking on the quality of the information in its cards to rise to the top of Google search results (and generate attention on social media) to get Inkling’s books noticed. People aren’t going to discover content through Inkling, MacInnis says. They’re going to discover Inkling through content.
Google Defeats Publishers Over Web Copyright in German Vote - Bloomberg: "Google Inc. (GOOG) and other news aggregators may continue to show short news items on their Internet sites without being required to pay, German lawmakers decided in a parliamentary vote today in a blow to publishers including Axel Springer AG (SPR) and Bertelsmann SE. A majority of lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition allowed companies such as Google to display “single words or very small text excerpts” referring to publishers’ websites at no cost. For content exceeding these limits, publishers retain the exclusive right of use, according to the bill. . . ."
Absence of Editorial Gatekeepers in New Forms of Media Creates Equal Opportunity and Risk | Greentarget - JDSupra: " . . . . Woody, a private person, decided to only answer questions related to his movie and refused to answer any personal questions, violating the readily available rules of the game and well established “reddiquette.” This approach immediately created an angry backlash from the Reddit community, criticizing Harrelson and shifting the dialogue away from his new movie. . . . For anyone as concealed as Woody Harrelson, actor or CEO, Reddit was the wrong social media channel, and therefore had a negative affect on his reputation, and potentially, the movie’s box office success. This AMA is now a permanent part of Harrelson’s online fingerprint, making it all the more harmful. This instance is an interesting reminder of the opportunities and risks inherent in the opportunity to self-publish enabled by new media formats. The lack of editorial gatekeepers provides unprecedented access to valuable stakeholder groups. However, without an editor calling the shots and effectively saving participants from themselves when topics and approaches are inappropriate, a high level of attention must be paid to the expectations of the community, particularly one as engaged as Reddit. . . ."
Google Reader: Why did everyone’s favorite RSS program die? What free Web service will be next? - Slate Magazine: " . . . Back in 2005, when Google launched Reader, the company talked about it like they’d keep it around forever. And they probably thought they would. You took them at their word, and now you’ve been burned.Reader’s death illustrates a terrible downside of cloud software—sometimes your favorite, most indispensable thing just goes away. Yes, software would get discontinued back in the days when we relied on desktop apps, but when desktop software died it wasn’t really dead. If you’re still a fan of ancient versions of WordPerfect or Lotus 1-2-3, you can keep using them on your aging DOS box. But when cloud software dies, it goes away for good. If the company that’s killing it is decent, it may let you export your data. But you’ll never, ever be able to use its code again. That’s why we should all consider Reader’s death a wake-up call—a reminder that any time you choose to get involved with a new app, you should think about the long haul. It’s not a good idea to hook up with every great app that comes along . . ."
Did Google just kill RSS? | Felix Salmon: " . . . .RSS has been dying for years — that’s why Google killed Reader. It was a lovely open format; it has sadly been replaced with proprietary feeds like the ones we get from Twitter and Facebook. That’s not an improvement, but it is reality. Google, with Reader, was really providing the life-support mechanism for RSS. Once Reader is gone, I fear that RSS won’t last much longer."
The Killing Of Google Reader Highlights The Risk Of Relying On A Single Provider | Techdirt: "Still, a very large number of folks I know feel like they practically live inside Google Reader -- and I know (for example) that Google Reader is a huge driver of traffic to this site, so I get the feeling many of you use Google Reader as well. The thing that seems to have so many folks upset is the fact that there really aren't any comparable alternatives if you want that same basic experience. In fact, you could argue that Google effectively killed off many of those alternatives. Back in the day there were things like Newsgator and Bloglines, but both were effectively marginalized or pushed into other markets because Google Reader really did become the de facto standard RSS reader that so many used and relied on."
Bradley Manning pleads guilty to being Wikileaks source, denies 'aiding the enemy' | The Verge: " . . . This week, word began to leak that Manning would plead guilty to some charges but not others. According to The Guardian and corroborated by other news sources, Manning's guilty pleas confirm that he was Wikileaks' principal source for the following: the so-called "collateral murder" video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq; some US diplomatic cables including one of the early WikiLeaks publications the Reykjavik cable; portions of the Iraq and Afghanistan warlogs, some of the files on detainees in Guantanamo; and two intelligence memos. . . .In the personal statement, Manning says that before contacting Wikileaks, he had a brief conversation with a reporter at The Washington Post and left a message withThe New York Times containing his email and Skype address that was never returned. Neither the Post nor the Times, he said, took him seriously. Manning says he also tried to contact Politico before ultimately deciding to publish the materials through Wikileaks. According to Manning, he had extended online conversations with a Wikileaks member calling himself "Ox," who Manning assumes was Julian Assange. . . ."
Jeff Jarvis : What if The New York Times had returned Bradley Manning's call or the Washington Post had listened to him and published what would have been Pentagon Papers 2.0? Would he be in prison and on trial now?
Not My Anne - Possible Perils Of Book Cover Designs | Heenan Blaikie LLP - JDSupra: " . . .But let's imagine for a moment that Lucy Maud Montgomery was still alive or that the books were otherwise still protected by copyright (i.e., imagine LMM had passed away within the last fifty years) - can an author object to a publisher's choice of cover art? Could a cover be so bad, so inconsistent with the author's vision for the book, that it actually gives rise to a right of action on the part of the author? . . . . There are two conceivable routes to such a claim: breach of contract or infringement of moral rights. An author's publishing agreement may be negotiated to include some kind of approval right on the part of the author . . . Where an author enjoys an approval right and their publisher publishes a book with a cover that the author did not approve, the author would be able to bring a claim for contractual breach. While damages might be difficult to prove, the author could seek an injunction prohibiting the publisher from printing or selling editions of the book with the impugned cover, which would have the effect of removing the cover from circulation and (hopefully) causing the publisher to re-issue the book with a new cover. . . . "
Independent Booksellers Sue Amazon and Publishers Over E-Books "Three independent, brick-and-mortar bookstores have filed a lawsuit against Amazon and the big six publishers, claiming that they are violating antitrust laws by collaborating to keep small sellers out of the e-book market. In a lawsuit filed on Friday in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza and Posman Books, both based in New York, and Fiction Addiction, based in South Carolina, alleged that they and other small bookstores were being deliberately forced out of the digital market as a result of agreements between the big publishers and Amazon. “The contracts entered into between Amazon and the Big Six,” the complaint said, constitute “a series of contracts and/or combinations among and between the defendants which unreasonably restrain trade and commerce in the market of e-books sold within the United States.” At the heart of the lawsuit is the idea that the top publishers signed secret contracts with Amazon that allowed them to code their e-books in such a way that the books could only be read on an Amazon Kindle device or a device with a Kindle app. The booksellers are pushing for open-source coding that would allow readers to buy e-books from any source and download them on any device. . . . The booksellers are seeking an immediate injunction to the practice, as well as damages. The six publishers named were Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette. . . ."
Press Publish 6: Rick Edmonds of Poynter on paywalls, print days, and the economics of newspapers » Nieman Journalism Lab: "Rick’s been writing about the business side of newspapers for many years, and in reading some of his recent work, I thought I’d detected a slight hint of optimism. Not full-blown excitement about the business future of newspapers, mind you — they’re still awfully challenged, by a host of factors — but a general feeling that a combination of paywall, ancillary products, and other strategies are, at least in places, helping steady a sector that has seen little but bad news over the past decade or so."
In Japan, the Fax Machine Is Anything but a Relic - NYTimes.com: "Japan is renowned for its robots and bullet trains, and has some of the world’s fastest broadband networks. But it also remains firmly wedded to a pre-Internet technology — the fax machine — that in most other developed nations has joined answering machines, eight-tracks and cassette tapes in the dustbin of outmoded technologies. Last year alone, Japanese households bought 1.7 million of the old-style fax machines, which print documents on slick, glossy paper spooled in the back. In the United States, the device has become such an artifact that the Smithsonian is adding two machines to its collection, technology historians said. . . . "
Lines of beauty: British Library’s medieval manuscripts go digital ". . . .Two hundred of the highest-profile and most valuable manuscripts in the collection are currently undergoing digitisation. The six photographed exclusively for the FT can be viewed online from today, the first time readers all over the world will be able to see them in full. Among them is the Spanish “Silos Apocalypse”, as vivid and well-preserved as if the monk had just stopped for lunch. “You couldn’t go down to WH Smith and get that kind of yellow felt tip pen,” says Julian Harrison, curator of pre-1600 manuscripts. You’d have a similarly hard time finding the ink for the ninth-century “Harley Golden Gospels”, written in gold. . . . . Many of these books have been treasured for centuries, on a shelf or inside a desk drawer. As such, they are often much less well known than paintings from the same periods, and much better preserved. “The illuminated manuscripts contain a fantastic number of works of art from the medieval period – far more than you’d find in the National Gallery,” says Breay. Doyle agrees. “Because they are in this form, they survived.”… “Every time you look at a medieval manuscript, you see something you’ve never seen before.” As more libraries put their collections online, the question remains of what happens to the institutions left behind. So far, digitisation of manuscripts has increased demand to see the originals. And for every reader turning pages in a hushed reading room, many more are clicking through them in the comfort of their homes or classrooms, with 100,000 visiting the British Library site to date. Some might even notice those follicles. As Harrison puts it, “They’re not museum objects, not something to be put in a case. They’re still a book. There’s still so much you can learn from it.”. . . ."
The man behind Google Docs is now trying to reinvent the web app at Box — Tech News and Analysis: " . . . All of this speaks to the evolution of documents. They used to be more like artifacts — things like properly formatted business letters with high latency, high transaction costs and “all this artifice around the structure of the document,” Schillace explained. Then the web came, reducing the focus on formatting and adding a collaborative element, but keeping in place a certain level or linearity. With the advent of Evernote and the erstwhile Google Wave, documents have become more abstract, mixing images, text, communications, web pages and whatever else onto a digital canvass. “Underlying all of this, what’s really going on is the business interaction you want to have,” Schillace said. “The point of the document is you usually either record something for yourself or to have an interaction with another human being. And I think we can gradually start peeling away layers of artifice and try to get down to the raw core of that interaction.” He thinks mobile devices with their small screens, portability and omnipresence in our lives might present the biggest challenge for achieving this goal. Users probably need a native way of interacting with documents that doesn’t involve opening a Word document and trying to read and edit it on a tiny keyboard. The right test, according to Schillace, might be if a co-worker has a question, “could I answer it while I was standing in line at the store in 30 seconds?”. . . . "
Data on the changing role of libraries in the digital age ~ Policy by the Numbers: "Ten years ago, the U.S. Congress looked at Internet access in libraries as "no more than a technological extension of the book stack." In fact, the Supreme Court cited this statement in the United States v. American Library Association decision, upholding government regulations requiring that, as a condition of funding for Internet access in the library, libraries must install content filtering software. The Court asserted that "A public library does not acquire Internet terminals in order … for Web publishers to express themselves." Ten years later, data suggests otherwise. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows that today Internet access plays a much bigger role in libraries. Over a quarter of Americans say they get Internet access at libraries, with "African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to access the internet at their local library, as are parents of minor children, those under age 50, those living in households earning less than $30,000, and those with at least some college experience." What's more, a Gates Foundation report finds that "people use library computers to perform both life-changing and routine tasks," both in discovering information and as a means of expression. For example, over a half-million Americans used library computers to start a local club or nonprofit group. . . . "
Keys to the Courthouse: Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings--
The inside story of Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings | Ars Technica: ". . . A key figure in Swartz's PACER effort was Steve Schultze, now a researcher at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy. Schultze recruited Swartz to the PACER fight and wrote the Perl script Swartz modified and then used to scrape the site. Until recently, Schultze has been quiet about his role in Swartz's PACER scraping caper. But Swartz's death inspired Schultze to speak out. In a recent phone interview, Schultze described how Swartz downloaded gigabytes of PACER data and how that data has been put to use throughout the last four years. Schultze told us he hopes the outrage over Swartz's death will provide momentum for legislation to finish the job Swartz and Schultze started almost five years ago: tearing down PACER's paywall. . . ." Read more at The inside story of Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings