RexBlog.com http://www.rexblog.com Rex Hammock's RexBlog.com Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:26:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 The Internet Archive Liberates a Mountain of Materials Published Between 1923-1941 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/10/11/52267 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/10/11/52267#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:10:43 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52267

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The Internet Archive (in my book, one of the few “wonders of the internet”) is now using a little known, and perhaps never used, provision of US copyright law (Section 108h) which allows libraries to scan and make available materials published 1923 to 1941 if they are not being actively sold. (Note: While I am not an anti-copyright advocate, I believe that certain types of copyrights should sunset in 14 years, renewable once if the copyright holder took actions to renew it. That’s 28 years. Okay, round it up to 30. But forever? At the bottom of this post, there’s a link to two articles I wrote on SmallBusiness.com about Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and their beliefs on the topic.)

Quote from the Internet Archive blog:

Elizabeth Townsend Gard, a copyright scholar at Tulane University calls this “Library Public Domain.”  She and her students helped bring the first scanned books of this era available online in a collection named for the author of the bill making this necessary: The Sonny Bono Memorial Collection. Thousands more books will be added in the near future as we automate. We hope this will encourage libraries that have been reticent to scan beyond 1923 to start mass scanning their books and other works, at least up to 1942. (…)

 

If the Founding Fathers had their way, almost all works from the 20th century would be public domain by now (14-year copyright term, renewable once if you took extra actions).

 

Some corporations saw adding works to the public domain to be a problem, and when Sonny Bono got elected to the House of Representatives, representing part of Los Angeles, he helped push through a law extending copyright’s duration another 20 years to keep things locked-up back to 1923. This has been called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act due to one of the motivators behind the law, but it was also a result of Europe extending copyright terms an additional twenty years first. If not for this law, works from 1923 and beyond would have been in the public domain decades ago.

 

Today we announce the “Sonny Bono Memorial Collection” containing the first books to be liberated. Anyone can download, read, and enjoy these works that have been long out of print. We will add another 10,000 books and other works in the near future.

 

Professor Townsend Gard had two legal interns work with the Internet Archive last summer to find how we can automate finding appropriate scanned books that could be liberated, and hand-vetted the first books for the collection. Professor Townsend Gard has just released an in-depth paper giving libraries guidance as to how to implement Section 108(h) based on her work with the Archive and other libraries. Together, we have called them “Last Twenty” Collections, as libraries and archives can copy and distribute to the general public qualified works in the last twenty years of their copyright.

Sidenote by Rex: Here are a couple of articles I wrote a few years ago for SmallBusiness.com about the founding fathers, patents, and copyrights.

Benjamin Franklin Never Sought a Patent or Copyright

Thomas Jefferson’s Views on Patents and Intellectual Property Rights

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Spread Love http://www.rexblog.com/2017/10/08/52255 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/10/08/52255#respond Sun, 08 Oct 2017 14:48:25 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52255

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Video from last night’s “cold opening” of Saturday Night Live included a hopeful message on the tee-shirt of Jason Aldean’s dobro player. (The opening was Jason Aldean singing Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.”) Did some googling and found the source of the message:

“Spread Love. It’s the Nashville Way.”

I wish it were always true; that “the Nashville way” is all about spreading love. I’ve seen lot’s of examples of Nashvillians spreading love. But I’ve examples of the opposite, also.

I wish spreading love was everyone’s way.

But we all fall short.

But I still think I’ll get one of the shirts to remind me to keep trying.

 

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Quick Observations About the iPhone X Presentation http://www.rexblog.com/2017/09/13/52248 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/09/13/52248#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 20:04:40 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52248

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Apple lovers (I confess) love product announcements. Tech writers love dissecting the features of new Apple products but never quite criticize them for fear that they will fall out of Apple’s graces. (Consumers only care what you can do with a product, not what chip it has.) Yesterday (September 12, 2017), another product announcement was made by Apple. Here are my thoughts about the announcement that only the ten people reading this care to know.


  1. If I were the number “9” I’d feel cheated.
  2. I liked the way Tim Cook, an Auburn alumni, used a photo featuring an Auburn football player when introducing the new Apple TV. (Auburn football and Apple TVs are both hobbies of Cook.)
  3. I also liked the way Tim Cook, a native of Alabama, still talks with an Alabama accent unlike other Alabama natives who don’t. Like me, for instance.
  4. The presentation was the first consumer-facing event (vs. a developer event) that flooded the zone with tech-features. That was all back-story narrative related to Samsung. Typically, only tech reporters love comparing one bezel to another bezel. Consumers live in a completely different world where no one knows what the hell a bezel is.
  5. Don’t buy a $1,000 iPhone unless you know why you are spending that much. If you are buying it to impress people, that makes sense: it’s a lot cheaper than buying a $50,000 car.
  6. Wearing blue jeans with your shirttail out does not hide your Dad bod.
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When disaster strikes “someplace else,” first send money | 2017 | Hurricane Harvey http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/26/52236 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/26/52236#respond Sat, 26 Aug 2017 16:40:23 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52236

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  2. When disaster strikes “someplace else,” first send money (continued)
  3. When disaster strikes “someplace else,” first send money
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Give relief to those affected by #HurricaneHarvey
• Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• Text "STORM" to 51555
• Donate online at https://t.co/Tr6pwCDM4n pic.twitter.com/KYkx87gOBU

— Salvation Army USA (@SalvationArmyUS) August 25, 2017

Over the years, I have re-posted this far too many times: a few words about natural disasters and the human toll they take. I believe social media, writ large, make such events more personal to us all — a shared phenomena, even for those of us not on the scene.

When we start to see the images of these disasters, our first impulse is “go help.”

However, I’ve also learned from writing about these disasters (and having one occur in my hometown) that it’s always better to give the local citizens and experienced officials and non-government agencies a few days to address the immediate needs and to assess what the longer-term needs will be.

As I’ve written before, in the first days of any disaster, for those of us not on the scene, the best way we can help is always: first, send money.

This is especially true when a disaster is so widespread as Hurricane Harvey appears to be.

Personally, and because of advice I’ve been given by individuals who have been on the front lines of such disasters, I contribute, in a designated way, to the Salvation Army as it is supposed to be one of the most efficient ways to support first-responder, essential needs efforts.

Of course, there are many groups through which you can make such contributions.

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Thoughts on Today’s Solar Eclipse (August 21, 2017) http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/21/52228 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/21/52228#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:02:29 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52228

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(Update: Bottom of post.)


I keep forgetting. Am I supposed to stare at the sun until my eyeballs bleed? Or is it, poke holes in them with a pin?

(Notice: That was a satirical jab at the ubiquitous warnings not to stare at the sun. Do not attempt to stare at the sun or poke holes into your eyes. Don’t believe anything you read on the internet, either. Except, of course, when it concurs with something you already believe.)


How come so many people make reference to “total eclipse of the heart” when a better reference is “flew your lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.”


How to take a photo of the Eclipse: Wait until NASA takes photos and posts them on their website. Since NASA is funded by the federal government, such photos are public domain. So, you can *take* any photo they post and use it anyway you’d like.


In Nashville, the grocery stores were jammed up this morning — people looked like they were preparing for 1/2 inch of snow.

What’s going on, I asked someone.

Eclipse parties, they said.


Happy eclipse day. And don’t forget to stare at the sun, no wait, don’t forget not to do that.


Update (after the event.)

With the use of eclipse glasses I survived. I took a few bad photos during first few seconds of totality but then decided this should be a non-lens event.

I now know how a total eclipse is celebrated. People all over my neighborhood started cheering and a few even used up some July 4 fireworks. I even gave up a whoop or two.

Incredible is all I can say. Here are three photos from my backyard in Nashville.

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A Statue of Robert E. Lee is NOT a Part of Who I Am | 2017 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/15/52215 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/15/52215#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 01:33:12 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52215

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Two years ago, I wrote a blog post titled, “The Confederate Flag is NOT a Part of who I Am,” right after the horrific Charleston church murders. The title was from the response Lindsey Graham (at the time a candidate in the GOP presidential primary) gave when a reporter asked him why the confederate flag should continue to fly on the grounds of the South Carolina capital. “It’s a part of who we are,” he said, somewhat baffled.

Flash-forward to today and another hate-crazed neo-nazi-zealot attempts a mass murder, this time in Charlottesville, by plowing his car into a group of people protesting the spewed-hatred of white nationalists.

That earlier post seems sadly similar to what I may have written today. Even sadder and more tragic: Today we have a president who equates white nationalists with those who protest white nationalism.

Desperately looking for something positive I can say to end this post, I can only think of one way: Freed from being a GOP presidential primary candidate, Lindsey Graham now knows what the correct answer is when asked why people in the south should not wrap themselves up in confederate symbols.

When asked about the white nationalists, he did not hesitate to say, “Their cause is hate, it is un-American, they are domestic terrorists and we need more from our president,” Graham said.”

“This is an opportunity for the Trump administration to come down like a hammer on white supremacists,” Graham said. “And I hope they do.”

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What You Can Learn From Damn Research http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52204 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52204#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 17:27:45 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52204

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I grew up in a household where profanity was rarely uttered. At least in the presence of parents. I do recall that I had my mouth washed out with soap by my kindergarten teacher. I have a feeling such corporal punishment would now be verboten, no?

Anyway, this article showed up in my newsreader this morning and the first thing that popped into my mind was my kindergarten teacher who was, other than that time at the sink, a wonderful teacher:

A study published last year with the title “Frankly, We Do Give a Damn: The Relationship Between Profanity and Honesty,” notes, “the consistent findings (of) studies suggest that the positive relation between profanity and honesty is robust, and that relationship found at the individual level indeed translates to the society level.” It’s true, some research shows that people who swear may be likely to violate other social norms, god bless ‘em, but they are also less likely to lie during police interrogations.

(via | Open Culture)

People Who Swear Are More Honest Than Those Who Don’t, Finds a New University Study

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USA Yesterday http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52195 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52195#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 15:37:48 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52195

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Over the years, I’ve written a few scathing observations about Gannett (owner of the daily newspaper in my hometown of Nashville, The Tennessean) and the lawyers and corporate finance people who ruined lots of independent newspapers by buying them, calling them Gannett, slashing budgets, and then killing them in various ways. Employees and customers got screwed in all of these deals, but lawyers and corporate finance people did just fine. Here some examples of those posts:

Gonenett

Final thoughts on the whole newspaper thing

Stop blaming me for killing your newspaper

And, with irony that Nashville’s NHL Predators are today sold-out every game, this response to learning, several years ago, that the Tennessean no longer sent reporters to road games in 2009:

Observing the Tennessean die is like watching the Titanic sink in super slo-mo

Fast forward to today.

It has taken me several weeks to realize “The Tennessean” newspaper has been rebranded online as, merely, Tennessean. (Or, Tennessean.com or Tennessean Dot.) Yet another strange decision by one of the nation’s stranger media companies.

The re-branding is part of a nationwide re-branding of Gannett newspapers as the “USA Today Network. While they say in the article (below) that online, the brand is simply “Tennessean,” every reference to the publication I’ve read in an article, including the announcement article, calls it “The Tennessean.”

It’s kind of funny, if you think about it.

Like the way Facebook would never call itself, “The Facebook,” new media and old have different ways of defining what and who they are by the nuanced references they use to define themselves.

The corporate marketers at Gannett are pushing out the brands “USA Today Network” and Tennessean.com, while the creators of the content on that network and web news-service are still referring to the digital version with the print-focused “The” in front of the corporate marketer’s brand.

I would never suggest this is a conspiracy on the part of the reporters, but I’d like to think it is.

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United, We Fall http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52193 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52193#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 15:08:51 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52193

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This GIF sorta says it all.

 

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The Doodle is the Message http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/21/52185 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/21/52185#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:28:28 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52185

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A Google Doodle today commemorates the 106th anniversary of the birth of Marshall McLuhan.

A few years ago, I submitted an article to an editor describing Osmo Wiio as the Marshall McLuhan of Finland.

“Our readers will have to google Marshall McLuhan and Osmo Wiio to figure out what you mean,” the editor emailed me back.

“That’s okay, I responded, Google is merely an extension of their central nervous systems,” I responded.

“?” emailed the editor.

“You know. The medium is the message,” I responded.

“The message is not a medium, it’s a large. Here it is.: You can’t reference two communications theorists in one sentence.”

Bonus: A review by the late David Carr (RIP) of a biography titled Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work.

The title of the book comes from one of the greatest movie scenes of all time (if you can use google).

 

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