Museums and libraries in America, institutions that largely depend on federal funding, are in danger of closing their doors. If you like visiting the Tampa Museum of Art, the Florida Aquarium, or you’re one of the many people that depend on your hometown public library, this is a cause for concern. A message from the American Library Association:
WASHINGTON, DC — In response to President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services in his FY2018 budget, American Library Association (ALA) President Julie Todaro today issued the following statement:
“The President’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in his FY2018 budget just released, and with it effectively all federal funding for libraries of all kinds, is counterproductive and short-sighted. The American Library Association will mobilize its members, Congressional library champions and the millions upon millions of people we serve in every zip code to keep those ill-advised proposed cuts from becoming a Congressional reality. Libraries leverage the tiny amount of federal funds they receive through their states into an incredible range of services for virtually all Americans everywhere to produce what could well be the highest economic and social “ROI” in the entire federal budget.
“The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funded through IMLS is the primary annual source of funding for libraries in the federal budget. IMLS distributes the majority of LSTA funds to every state in the nation according to a population-based formula. Each state library determines how to best spend its allocated federal funds, which must be matched at the state level. The range of services provided to millions of Americans through LSTA grants is matched only by the creativity of the libraries that receive them: veterans transitioning to civilian life, small businesses seeking to expand their business online, summer reading programs, resources for blind and hearing-impaired patrons, resume writing and job skills workshops and computer coding courses to teach youth 21st century job skills.
“America’s more than 120,000 public, school, college and university and many other libraries are not piles of archived books. They’re trusted centers for education, employment, entrepreneurship and free inquiry at the core of communities in every state in the country – and in every Congressional district. And they’re staffed by the original search engines: skilled and engaged librarians.”
UPDATE: Seems like a line was drawn over the weekend. Simon & Schuster cancelled Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ book deal, as debated below.
The following news story from about a month ago (Jan 2017) tackles the argument: do publishers, in this case Simon & Schuster, get to decide what is published despite a clear concern that the book may contain flagrant hate speech? In a university, there are policies enforcing the rights of free speech amongst students and faculty in the classroom to encourage critical nuanced debate. What do you think about the arguments brought up in this article to address this particular situation?
Excerpt from the article:
“Trying to suppress hateful speech doesn’t make it go away,” says [Joan Bertin, executive director of the NCAC]. “I mean, I think the whole idea of free speech requires us to be active participants, and when we hear ideas that we think are bad and harmful, it requires us to say ‘why,’ not just say ‘shut up.'”
But publisher Dennis Johnson says another equally important right is at stake here: The right to protest.
“This is not about censoring right wing voices,” he says. “This is about combating hate speech and its entry into the mainstream.”
If you are one of many people in the US who use the internet (and if you’re reading this right now, that’s you!), you probably need to understand what net neutrality means. Here is the Wikipedia article definition: “Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.”
Just 6 months ago, the The U.S. Court of Appeals, under President Obama, backed the FCC’s defense of a free, open, and neutral internet, with certain regulations tacked on to protect this neutrality. You can read more about it on whitehouse.gov.
What will happen under the new 2017 administration? If you like the freedoms of an Open Internet (or simply a fast broadband network), you should be concerned. But, as always, there are two sides to any argument. Take a look at the article below published from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The article links out to many other sources to assess Trump and the new administration’s views. Why do you think they are against net neutrality? Who are the major parties involved? Is the language for an anti-neutrality stance confusing? Read this Atlantic article from 2014 for even more information about the debate, and this Forbes article arguing against net-neutrality.
Trump and His Advisors on Net Neutrality
December 19, 2016 | By Kerry Sheehan
Through the combined efforts of EFF and a coalition of public interest groups — and four million of you who wrote in to the FCC — we won carefully tailored and essential net neutrality protections in 2015 and defended them in court in 2016. But how will the incoming Trump administration impact net neutrality in 2017? We’ve collected a range of statements on the positions of Trump, his transition team, and those who are likely to guide the new administration on this issue.
Trump took a swipe at net neutrality in a November 2014 tweet, stating, “Obama’s Attack on the Internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target Conservative Media.”
The Republican Party platform [PDF] was also critical of net neutrality, and Trump’s transition team is stocked with staunch opponents to net neutrality.
There are books that address the experiences of marginalized groups in the US, books that bring to light the stories of immigrants, of the LGBTQ community, of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, and other non-white race/ethnicities that make up a significant part of our country. Many of these books, especially YA and children’s’ books, unsettle those who don’t affiliate with these groups. In the article below, the author uses statistics from other recent studies to highlight the fact that diverse books are often targeted for censorship. She points to novels such as Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which the library has in the collection (find it on the second floor, PS3551.L35774 A27 2009).
This year’s Banned Books Week theme, diverse books, has been on my mind for some time. As Jamie LaRue, director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, has noted, defining diversity is difficult. However, the definition used by the organization We Need Diverse Books is succinct and inclusive: “We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.”
That Insane Clown Posse full chest tattoo you got in ’04? Your skin might be subject to copyright infringement. Before you get that Nike Swoosh logo or a tat of the The Burger King guy, give this National Post article a read:
More than 20 per cent of all Americans have at least one tattoo, and for millennials that number jumps to almost 40 per cent. What could be more intimately a part of you than a work of body art permanently inked into your skin? You probably assume that the tattoo on your body belongs to you. But, in actuality, somebody else might own your tattoo. Recent lawsuits and events have shown that tattoo artists and companies can have intellectual property rights in tattoos worn by others, including both copyright and trademark rights.
Tattoo-related lawsuits are not uncommon. Just this year, a group of tattoo artists for several high-profile athletes, including Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, filed a copyright lawsuit against the creators of the popular NBA 2K video game franchise because tattoos they created appear in NBA 2K16. The case is still pending in a New York federal court.
Please join us for a panel on predatory publications and Open Access (OA) scholarship. If you are active in publishing, or would like to be, this is a significant topic in the current climate of scholarly publishing.
Fond of uploading your funny video mash-ups to YouTube? More often than not, your video may be flagged for copyright infringement if you are using a famous person’s music video, even if it’s within the realm of fair use (see summary from the article below*). Here is a cautionary tale by Emily Hong courtesy of Future Tense, a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University on emerging technologies, public policy, and society.
* “The law gives judges four factors to use to determine whether something is fair use: the purpose and character of use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and the effect of the use upon the potential market. However, even with these factors, fair use is controversial, and its boundaries are fuzzy.”
Justin Beiber attends the 2015 American Music Awards, Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
I made a discovery just before the holidays. If you start Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” at 0:23 seconds in and simultaneously press play on the music video for Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” (on mute, of course), the Beyoncé audio matches the Bieber choreography nearly perfectly. It is uncanny.
Are you an artist, a professor, or writer? Do you incorporate outside design work into your own to make it unique? That’s legal thanks to the doctrine of fair use, or the copyright laws that make transformative works legal.
Basically, fair use doctrines are exceptions to the copyright law. Because “fair use” is highly subjective, each case needs to be carefully weighted. Stanford University Libraries lists a handful of interesting fair use cases and their outcomes. Below summarizes one of the more contested cases. What do you think?
The painter, Richard Prince, created a collage using — in one collage — 35 images from a photographer’s book. The artist also used 28 of the photos in 29 additional paintings. In some instances the full photograph was used while in others, only the main subject of the photo was used. Important Factors. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that to qualify as a transformative use, Prince’s work did not have to comment on the original photographer’s work (or on popular culture). The Court of Appeals concluded that twenty-five of Prince’s artworks qualified as fair use and remanded the case to determine the status of the remaining five artworks. Cariou v. Prince, No. 11-1197 (2d Cir. 2013) VERDICT: FAIR USE