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Tagged by a Blog Meme on Books March 31, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’ve been tagged by pal and former fellow Jup Rudayday to contribute to a “best books” meme. Who am I to violate Internetiquette? ‘specially since this is fun, in an egotistical, poseur kind of way. So here goes:

1. You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

The Wind in the Willows

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Of course. Many times: Norman Rush’s unnamed heroine in Mating, Patrick O’Brian’s Diana, the assassin in Fritz Leiber’s “The Sadness of the Executioner,” Dido Twite, Lyra, etc. etc. etc.

3. The last book you bought is:

Saturday by Ian McEwan. Should arrive tomorrow.

4. The last book you read:

The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry

5. What are you currently reading?

The Chronicles of Narnia
. Re-reading, of course. There’s a movie on the way. From Disney.
The Big Picture : The New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood. Hey, I’m a media analyst.
American Rhapsody. Eszterhas as poor man’s Hunter Thompson. Accent on poor.
No Man Knows My History : The Life of Joseph Smith. I suspect there are hidden Mormons in my family tree, and I’m on a millennial kick.
The Footprints of God. Greg Iles is a solid trash-thriller writer, and this one’s on that millennial theme.

6. Five books you would take to a deserted island.

Oh, this is impossible. I’ll pick the ones that are long and dense and bear re-reading. With only 5 on that island, I’d hate to be disappointed by something I hadn’t read yet. And who has time for non-fiction under those circumstances?:

Moby-Dick. Of course. It’s the best ever in English. And Amuhrican.
Le Morte D’Arthur. True to my “ethnic” roots.
The Worm Ouroboros. Yes, I’m a closet fantasy nerd. This is so much better than Tolkien.
Paradise Lost. I remember liking it in college, believe it or not, and I’ve got to have something that’s poetry. I suppose I could have Cantos.
And Wind in the Willows.

7. Who are going toing to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Here, I will violate protocol, and get their permission first. I’ll re-post when I’ve corraled the next group of suckers.

True Professionals March 30, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Character assassination and nasty comments – based on a smidgeon of truth or nothing at all – may be the bread and butter of a certain type of blog. But it takes true professionals to devote the investigative resources necessary for slipping the stiletto in and giving it a good double-twist.

On-Demand Promo Network from TV Guide March 30, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Oddly, I think this might catch on. It’s certainly the first sign of life from Gemstar-TV Guide in quite some time.

Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc. (NASDAQ NMS: GMST) today announced plans to launch TV GUIDE SPOT, a new on-demand network designed to entertain consumers while helping them navigate their ever-expanding programming choices. TV GUIDE SPOT will launch to cable, tvguide.com, and TiVo customers in the 2nd quarter of 2005. The service will feature short-form, originally-produced entertainment programs that guide consumers to the most compelling fare on TV each week.

It will be a channel on Comcast and Time Warner Cable, fill Showcase spots on TiVo, and also be available online. The key will be promotion. Will Gemstar buy or barter on-air spots? integrate promotions into TV Guide Channel programming? promote heavily on the EPG? All of the above, I hope.

Random Thoughts While Watching UPN March 29, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Although it’s one of the best-scripted shows of the season, it’s unlikely that Veronica Mars, aged approximately 17 in 2005, would quote a J Geils Band song of 1980 (“Love Stinks”), even though it’s an obvious quote and got, back in the day, heavy MTV rotation time, not to mention inclusion in The Wedding Singer (1998) soundtrack. Volume 2, anyway. Perhaps the show’s no-doubt thirty-something writers should, er, update their cultural reference points?

Slate Back on Target March 29, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The rookies are back on the bench. Much better coverage on the Grokster Supreme Court case in Slate today. Perhaps Slate’s editors agree with me – this piece links to three other Slate stories, but not the one I thought was awful yesterday.

Slate Blows “Legal” Downloading Coverage March 28, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I never thought I’d say this, but Slate’s journalism standards appear to have declined since its ownership migrated away from Microsoft to the Washington Post. At least if this article is any example.

Under the headline Barely Legal, “law student and writer” Dana Mulhauser says that Russion site allofmp3.com is

the trendy, angst-free way to download copyrighted music. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments tomorrow about the legality of Grokster, Aimster, and other file-sharing services, downloaders have been looking hopefully to Allofmp3.com as their only legitimate way to get 50 Cent for less than face value.

The article goes on to ask:

Could a scheme like Allofmp3.com be legal? Probably. Is it legal, in fact? Probably not. Will you get sued for using it? Not likely, or at least, far less likely than you would be for using Grokster or any of the other peer-to-peer networks.

Well, no, it’s not likely legal – the only authorities cited in the article deny that Allofmp3 has cleared any rights, and Allofmp3 itself claims its distribution rights are for Russia only. That’s why it’s “probably not” legal. And Slate thinks you won’t get sued because the RIAA is suing uploaders these days, not downloaders.

The article quotes a Case Western Reserve law professor (who’s on Grokster’s side in the MGM v. Grokster case) on a very liberal interpretation of fair use. That is, downloading is okay if it’s for your own personal, non-commercial use. But wait, while that interpretation has been upheld by some courts, they weren’t US courts. The article admits this, in a casual, hip sort of way.

Allow me to quote the US Copyright Office:

Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150, 000 for each work infringed.

I’m not trying to say what’s moral or not. Or what should be legal or not. But this article runs in Slate’s Jurisprudence section, and it ain’t very prudent. In fact, it strikes me as bizarrely irresponsible, especially for a mainstream media publisher. And you thought blogs were dangerous.

More Laffs as Hollywood Co-Opts Heaven & Hell March 28, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Now it’s the Journal’s turn to look at “religious” programming on the broadcast nets.

(Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment at NBC) says it’s about time networks got more specific. “Going into these waters with only the safest kind of content would be missing out on a golden opportunity,” he says. “People want programming that goes right at it. I’m fairly confident that there are many millions of people out there who will appreciate having a frank religious dialogue in a show.”

…The decidedly unwholesome “Desperate Housewives” couldn’t be such a massive hit without a fair number of religious types tuning in, executives say. Says Mr. Reilly, “By offering shows that have a morality and belief at the center as well as some racier content — hopefully a lot of people can have their cake and eat it too.”

Do these entertainment execs realize just how silly – or clueless – they sound? I’m sure tons of people went to see The Passion of The Mel because of the torture scenes.

A Content Owner Defends Grokster March 27, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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He may not be your average, everyday, media mogul, but Mark Cuban owns Rysher, the Dallas Mavericks, HDNet and Landmark Theatres. And now he’s funding the Grokster legal defense.

A Sign of Where Blogs Fit in the Grand Scheme of Things, Part II March 25, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Solid Journal story on blog advertising. Premium spots on Wonkette – a brand you’ve actually heard of – can command $350 a week; Cendant pulled out of Gridskipper because it was too “naughty;” Jason Calacanis’ “empire” has yet to see a $1M quarter. But ad networks are springing up.

Some JupiterResearch data – blog readers are an attractive demographic, but there’s not that many of ’em yet.

Drive Your Officemates Crazy! March 24, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Go to the site of Fox’s new show, Life on a Stick, and run your mouse back and forth and back and forth over the menu. I guarantee minutes of fun.

This kind of thing might be one of the reasons Fox just about bottoms out among general-audience networks in JupiterResearch’s CORE analysis.

And don’t miss this sure-to-be-a-hit’s debut tonight! Check local listings.