Where is the damn morning going so damn fast, anyway? I’ll tell you where: Into wrestling with the CMS — that’s content management system, to you civilians — at my other site, which ate a story I was working on juuuust as I got to the last paragraph. And let that be (another) lesson to me: Don’t trust Drupal. Just when I think I’ve learned its quirks, it grows a few more. Drupal is a high-maintenance girlfriend given to plate-throwing and slapping. WordPress is your stable, dependable wife who gets dinner on the table without having to be begged.
This site is WordPress. So let’s hop to it, knowing we’ll probably not lose this one. (Bless you, autosave.)
I’m reading around this morning, and I find this L.A. Times column about the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is starting to file lawsuits over stolen content. Roughly three dozen of them so far, the story says, against bloggers and others who have lifted their stories or photos, either whole or in large enough chunks to make the reader hardly need to click back to the original. The blogosphere is said to be “whirring and sputtering” over it, and I’m not surprised, as when it comes to getting a big hate-on for the evil MSM, you can’t really beat the blogosphere. But here’s the nut graf:
A certain generosity of spirit seldom gets traction in these new media/old media grudge matches. Still, I wonder if we can’t find a bit of middle ground. Can’t we acknowledge that copyright law has a righteous purpose, to protect original content and encourage creators to create even more? Can’t we also admit that a little creative reuse, far from thievery, can drive new attention to good work?
Dude, this is where I live. Come on in, the water’s fine.
You don’t have to be reading me for very long to know that in this fight, I’m going to be closer to the Las Vegas Review-Journal side than the other side. I guess that would include Jeff Jarvis, who is quoted later in the story “bristling” at what he calls “the bogus meme that news stories are being copied wholesale everywhere by copyright thieves.” Hmm. Well. Copied wholesale? Maybe not. But every day I see stories that are quoted at huge, huge length, yes with a link back but one that hardly matters, because the nine paragraphs quoted are all you really need to know. For a while, I was dropping e-mails or comments at some of these sites, reminding them of the concept of fair use. The response was almost always the same — fury, or at least an indignant reply that their quoting was “legal” because they’d credited the story to its original author/source. Many of these bloggers appear to be non-morons, so the only conclusion I can draw from this is that understanding basic copyright principles is simply not in most bloggers’ tool kits.
I have something of an advantage here, because the part-time job I do at night is for an aggregator service. We compile clipsheets for corporate clients, basically one-topic news roundups pertaining to their industry and published to their own intranets at dawn’s early light. My bosses, besides being the nicest people in the world (smooch, smooch), are also very well-versed on copyright law, and are scrupulous about obtaining rights and licenses to the material we republish for our clients. Our clients pay for both our service and those licenses, which ain’t cheap.
A few months ago, searching for a story for this blog, I ran across the “newsroom” section of Michael Moore’s website. I was stunned to find Wall Street Journal A-column stories reproduced in their entirety, down to their identical headlines and photos, on that site, along with the work of many other newspapers and wire services. I sent three polite e-mails asking the webmaster the nature of their licensing arrangements, and received no reply. There’s no advertising on Moore’s site (other than a store selling his own merch), so either he’s carrying the considerable cost of his newsroom out of pocket or risking the fury of people with even better lawyers than the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s.
In the past I have been a sinner, yes. A couple years ago I took a “no copyright violations” pledge here, and I’ve found it amazingly easy to keep. The rule of thumb is elsewhere in the LAT story, and it’s the one I follow, too: No more than three paragraphs, always attribute, always link back.
The punchline of that story is that one of the sued sites was a small-time cat blogger with no advertising. Sometimes a cease-and-desist letter will do just fine. Don’t bring a grenade launcher to a slap fight.
Good bloggage today:
Thanks to MMJeff, who Facebook’d this: How Thomas Kinkade sold the soul of his talent, by a First Things — i.e., Christian — blogger. Contains instructive illustrations of early v. late Kinkade, with this very droll takedown:
The first street scene was painted to capture a very specific place, San Francisco; the second scene was painted to capture a very different place, the consumer’s living room wall.
And thanks to Dexter, who Facebook’d this: Toddler caught on video, sipping a brewski at a Phillies’ game. Longsuffering Phillies fan Joe Queenan would have a very droll takedown line here, but my baseball knowledge falls short. Write your own.
So much for drinking responsibly: Is Smirnoff virally marketing binge drinking, or are there just a bunch of drunk dumbasses on the internet?
Off to study Russian.
basset said on June 9, 2010 at 11:17 am
Let me ask the advice of the group on something totally unrelated: a coworker has breast cancer, chemo didn’t work, she’s having surgery later this week. There’s a card going around the office for messages of support. I don’t know what to write. Any suggestions?
Jenflex said on June 9, 2010 at 11:20 am
I’d retreat to the old Midwestern bromide: say it with food. Speaking as someone who had a sudden, devastating illness last year, it meant the world to me to enjoy warm, ready meals (homemade or otherwise) with my family as I healed.
By all means, write in the card, too, but I can tell you I don’t remember what the cards said; just that I was humbled by how many people took the time to write.
Hope your friend has a successful surgery and heals well.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 9, 2010 at 11:28 am
If just writing your name is what comes to you, do that. “You will be in my thoughts” works for those to or from whom the word “prayer” is problematic, and if it’s true, it doesn’t hurt to add “If I can help in any way, holler.” If it’s not the case, don’t say it . . . but generally, no one will call, you just have to be alert for the right time and situation to bring over some food or offer to walk the dog, and like Jenflex said, just do it.
Sue said on June 9, 2010 at 11:31 am
I would say, write down whatever Moe tells you.
The Thomas Kinkade article was interesting, but his rep for any good work done in the past was finally, irreparably destroyed by that ghastly NASCAR painting. He’s so far past hack he should be opening a black velvet wing in his ‘gallery’.
alex said on June 9, 2010 at 11:49 am
How ’bout them elections? Just a few weeks ago even the liberal blogs were writing Harry Reid’s epitaph. Now he’ll be running against a teabagger in November. Sweet.
Little Bird said on June 9, 2010 at 11:50 am
As for the Smirnoff thing, have you seen the ping pong tables that are in bars now? They aren’t for ping pong. Beer Pong is the new “hot” game at bars. And it has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever witnessed.
Deborah said on June 9, 2010 at 11:52 am
Regarding the Kinkade piece, even the stuff they attributed as good seemed smarmy to me. Comparing him to the Luminists or the Hudson River School is ludicrous. There is no comparison to be made, early work or current work, it just doesn’t hold up.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 9, 2010 at 11:54 am
I’d agree except for the Water Tower version he did earlier — that’s hardly recognizable as Mr. Painter o’ Light ™, and I’d happily put that up in my house without apologies to anyone.
ROgirl said on June 9, 2010 at 11:58 am
From my point of view, comparing the earlier Kinkade paintings with the more recent ones is like comparing Velveeta with imitation cheese. He didn’t have to go too far to sell out. Having the technical ability to depict an object or scene that resembles the actual thing doesn’t make you a good artist or a Christian artist, either. Early Christian art was not realistic, unlike the art being produced in the same period by the paganistic Romans. Religious art used to be about suffering and redemption. Mr. Kinkade has conflated realism with a version of idealism that appeals to those who pine for a past that existed only in their heads (or maybe 1930’s MGM movies), and sold that as a Christian, anti-elitist slap in the face to the art world.
Jen said on June 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Oh my, I had never seen that Thomas Kinkade Daytona painting! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. There’s just so much going on! It hurts my eyes!
That blog entry about Kinkade was very interesting. My sister (who has a minor in art history) and my sister-in-law (who is an art major) both hate, hate, HATE his stuff. I didn’t realize that he painted anything but schlocky landscapes, but his early stuff wasn’t quite so cringe-worthy. Though, I suppose he doesn’t really care if a few people hate his stuff – he’s laughing all the way to the bank, because around here, his art is EVERYWHERE!
moe99 said on June 9, 2010 at 12:01 pm
“You are going through a very difficult and scary time of your life. We are there to support you through this, and will be thinking/praying for you as you endure what has to be done.” And then call and ask what evening would be good to bring dinner. Or better yet, show up and do some weeding in her yard or mow her lawn for her.
I received this advice from a breast cancer survivor in my office, who was quite empathetic with my situation. She told me to visualize all this care and prayers for me as a bright light that I can see in my mind, and call on to wrap its light and warmth around me in my deepest dark times. It has helped. But I’m not sure how you can put all that in a card without crowding everyone else out.
A different Connie said on June 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm
“Is Smirnoff virally marketing binge drinking, or are there just a bunch of drunk dumbasses on the internet?”
I choose both!
coozledad said on June 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm
Speaking as a drunk dumbass on the internet, I’d have to second Deborah and RO Girl’s take on Kinckaide. My biggest gripe is he’s not painterly. He’s drawerly. There are things he appears to put himself to great pains to spell out for the viewer, and they reveal more about his eerily childish sensibilities than whatever eye he might have developed.
Someone could probably pull off a painting of a Nascar race that made you want to look at it repeatedly, and they could even shovel it full of little slices of genre painting. William Powell Frith did stuff like that, and did it often (That’s why he’s a minor painter, though). Hippolyte Sebron painted a lot of castles, lakes, and riverboat landings calculated to appeal to dumbshits, but he was a master of the abstract underpinning of most successful paintings, and his stuff generally works. This one appeared in Harper’s not long ago in postage stamp size, and I had to go look it up:
Ultimately, it’s got to be tough for practitioners of realism to have to share their time on earth with Walton Ford.
Sue said on June 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm
Cooz, what do you know? Don’t you have naked ladies painted on your fireplace or something?
Although I would like to see you paint the Water Tower with a nascar driver and car in front of it.
coozledad said on June 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm
Sue: I’ve painted stuff that looks like something you’d find stuffed in a dumpster behind a whorehouse. I’ll never live it down.
Sue said on June 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm
We kid because we love, Cooz. Everyone knows you are an actual artist. Except for the occasional naked lady fireplace tile and… wasn’t there a … let’s see, big whale spearing painting as a statement on current politics or something?
And which whorehouse would that be, was it a commission?
Dorothy said on June 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm
Moe said it perfectly, and I would just go a wee bit further and say to send your own card/note, basset, if you really are able to bring a meal or do one of the tasks Moe suggested.
alice said on June 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm
The real Painter of Light (TM):
I love seeing him on the shopping channel. He clutches a paintbrush the entire time, lest we forget he is an artiste!
beb said on June 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm
Nancy writes today about a newspaper suing bloggers for ripping off its content.
Coinciidentally I found (via boingboing) this article about copyright violations on Glee
As the article notes, video-taping a music video by Oliva Newton-John would cost a real person upwarss of $300,000 in fines. On the show the violator gets a contract with ONJ to remake their video.
People suing over internet copyright theft are less interested in he legalities involved and moe interested in trying to squeeze blood from rocks.
Lex said on June 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm
[[Is Smirnoff virally marketing binge drinking, or are there just a bunch of drunk dumbasses on the internet?]]
That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t pimp my friend and former co-worker Louis Bekoe’s first feature-length film, “Balls Count Anywhere: A Beer Pong Movie,” which played for a week here back in April.
Louis was an editorial assistant and then a webslinger at the Greensboro News & Record before getting laid off last year. He wrote, directed and produced a movie that’s so indy it’s not even listed in IMDB.com, although it does have a Facebook page. My favorite part was his casting my last boss at the N&R, Metro Editor Teresa Prout, as the main character’s mom.
If you’ve had a few beers yourself, I think you’ll find it pretty entertaining. Leave the kids at home, though.
Dorothy said on June 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm
Nancy forgive me for sending this information this way but I thought you might want to know since I work with a former co-worker of yours. Mark Ellis’s dad passed away on Tuesday. I don’t know any details yet, but he had been ill. I also know that one of Mark’s daughters is getting married this Saturday here in Gambier. Another regular commenter here used to work with Mark as well (forgive me for forgetting his name – I think it starts with a “K”) and I thought I should put this in a comment to be sure he finds out.
LAMary said on June 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm
Even the old Thomas Kinkade stuff is pretty cheesy. The new stuff is horrible. I know I’ve ranted about the two managers here who one-up each other about the Thomas Kinkade paintings so I won’t start.
Sue said on June 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm
Listen, I’d love to hang around talking about all the Kinkade crap those suckers buy but I have to go rearrange my collection of really scary collectible baby dolls, each one available for ### easy installments of $$$.
Dorothy said on June 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm
Kirk. His name is Kirk. I think.
Dexter said on June 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm
I always provide a link-back when I blog about a story, but short one pagers from newspapers I sometimes copy and send to friends, instead. Now I’ll send a link even just to friends, all the time, not just most of the time.
A blogger I love, Ed Hamilton
writes of life in and around the Chelsea Hotel in NYC. If you love New York, you will love this blog. Once I copied one of his entries and gave him credit and thanks, not even knowing that it may have been wrong. His service caught the post, but all Ed did was to thank me for sharing his story.
I understand how people feel about copy and paste a lot better now. Today’s primer at NN.com helped further my education.
Dexter said on June 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm
I don’t follow my local high school’s sports since my youngest daughter graduated fourteen years ago, but we all knew how good this kid is…and
“…now he’s hit the big time
In the USA…”
Kolbrin Vitek, first round pick of the Boston Red Sox. (Meaning an extremely huge dollar amount will be in his bank account next week)
LAMary said on June 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm
Finally, someone figures the whole thing out:
Sue said on June 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm
Mary, you’ve been had – that’s a liberal plant. Every word, even “Petroleum”, is spelled correctly.
coozledad said on June 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm
Sue: Eek. Those things remind me of “dead baby” carte de visites from the early years of photography. Do they make a collector’s tray of fetuses? Sheesh.
To answer your previous question, I never got a substantial commission from anyone who would be able to pay. I did a number of small ink drawings for nonprofits who provided me with cigarette money.
The closest I got to a sort of commission was when an Anglophile couple bought the Swenson’s Restaurant in Brightleaf Square in Durham. They’d seen me drawing spotted owls or salamanders at the bar where I hung out, and they decided they wanted to cover the walls of the new restaurant with historical murals depicting the lives of British royalty on one wall, and the late Romanovs on another. These were to be roughly on the scale of David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon.” The guy even drove me over to the new space from the bar where we’d both been drinking, and listed the events he wanted depicted. I didn’t realize just how shitfaced he was until he mentioned that one of the large paintings was to be The Death of Anastasia. That would have been a first for an eatery, I think.
The new Restaurant was called “The Duke Of York” and when the owner had the first set of menus printed up in Gothic headers, he brought them up to the bar to show them to everybody. He handed one to Kelly, a guy who wore bifocals and drove short hauls for the Swift corporation.
“Hmmm. The Duke of Pork.”
The name stuck. Shortly after it opened, it became the place to go after you’d been drinking somewhere else. Then they got Danny Firr on as a bartender, and he actually made the place work.
One night me and a group of friends (among whom was my future wife) went there to drink some more after we’d had a righteous plenty. Danny had poured about half a dozen yards of Watney’s Red Barrel for some Duke frats who just walked out for some reason, and he gave them to us. Being complete idiots, we drank them.
It was around Christmas, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving had decorated the sidewalks of Brightleaf with several dozen memorial luminaries made of 2 liter plastic bottles. I remember seeing them as the bar closed and we left to stagger away to our respective apartments. That night was pretty rough. I kept waking up to the spins and the sound of muffled voices. The room seemed bathed in an odd light.
It wasn’t until I got up to get ready for work that I saw someone had placed a considerable number of the luminaries in a circle around my bed.
I think this is one of the primary reasons my live-in landlord thoroughly detested me and my friends.
Deborah said on June 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm
Wow Sue, those dolls are reeeaaalllyyy creepy.
LAMary said on June 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm
What is up with that chimp doll?
alex said on June 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm
Actually, the chimp’s rather more cute than the ostensibly human ones.
LAMary said on June 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm
No question about that. It’s just a a jolt as you scan through all the babies. It’s like baby, baby, baby, baby, chimpanzee, baby….
joodyb said on June 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Basset: In my spring cleaning, I happened on a cache of cards and letters my husband received when he underwent surgery and then radiation for testicular cancer. (He was away from work for months; it was so hard keeping others in the loop.) I reread every one of those cards; the messages were straightforward and heartfelt, and I was amazed anew at his wonderful and articulate friends and colleagues. Just say what comes to you. Or try, “Never give up; never surrender.” (That’s from the highly overlooked sci-fi send-up “Galaxy Quest.”)
Meanwhile, were the mall stores not anyone’s first hint at what Thos. Kinkade was about? Our poor philistine aunts couldn’t get to the weekend motel sales of original art/sofa paintings starting at $39.95. Or else the “paintings of light” evoked the biblical images of their childhoods. I’ve read all kinds of theories on why people are drawn to Kinkade’s stuff. I guess it’s enough to be visually appealing and accessible, plus someone’s been conned into thinking they own “art” produced by an avowed Christian.
80s malls and antique marts were overgrown with “art” and crafts. Even old Charles Wysocki had his fans, but he wasn’t the world-class marketer Kinkade was. Isn’t there some big family flap about his holdings? SO not New Testament.
LAMary said on June 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm
cooz, I’m visualizing the luminaries around the bed and it strikes me your room would look like a Thomas Kinkade painting. You had a holy glow around you.
Deborah said on June 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm
I remember how shocked I was to find out that many famous artists didn’t/don’t paint their own work. They hire underlings to do it for them, all the time, it’s standard practice for a lot of them. So this is probably another big problem with Kinkade, he hires inferior people to do what he doesn’t have the time (or the inclination) to do anymore. Not that he was much better than them, but it could account for the difference in former/current work.
prospero said on June 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm
Howard Fineman says that Sharon Angle makes Rand Paul look like Gerald Ford. That’s fairly brilliant political commentary and no wasted words. This woman wants to protect our national bodily fluids from fluoride in drinking water. It’s my idea that when a state elects somebody certifiable (like Rick Perry) they should be asked politely to leave the union.
Did anybody notice that the NYT today had a picture of victorious Blanche Lincoln under a kicker that said “Anti-incumbent rage”? What a buncha maroons. Well, ya know, Arlen Specter. Meanwhile, here in South Carolina, the Democratic primary produced a seriously mentally challenged guy nobody ever heard of to run against the statewide embarrassment (we have so many) Sen. Demint. Dementos say they had nothing to do with it. Sure thing, and corporations are people.
And do any of you have an opinion on the emergency action by the Roberts court regarding Arizona campaign funding. Sometimes it seems the Teabaggers are right but have no idea where the abuse is coming from.
brian stouder said on June 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm
Today was Culmination Day at Towles Montessori. It was a very fine event, and I will say the success of the event was in no small part helped along by my lovely wife, who made gallons and gallons of punch, and a huge pan of mostaccioli al forno. Yesterday our 5 year old turned 6, and her Montessori school (Bunche) will not allow anything unhealthy (birthday cake, for example), and ol’ Pammy whipped up fresh fruit kabobs, alternating fresh-sliced strawberries, fresh sliced pineapple chunks, grapes, and kiwi. Made for a colorful presentation, and the health police approved.
The only thing was, Pam thought there were 22 kids in Chloe’s class, so she did 24 skewers (and then the teacher and her assistant could have one); and then she learned that there were 24 kids in the class!
After a moment of anxiety, the teacher told her “No worries – two kids are absent”; then, too, one kid is a Jehovah’s Witness, and cannot take part in birthday parties (I plainly know nothing about Jehovah’s Witnesses, except that if a thing is fun, it is probably against their religion).
So – she had fruit kebobs aplenty, and they were a big hit.
What was I saying, again? Oh, yeah – the Culmination Day proceedings: people acted terribly. After the principal politely (and repeatedly) asked people to hold their hoots and hollars until the end of the list (and the lists were multiple and short – so there were plenty of legitimate opportunities to applaud), she became steadily more stentorian.
One thing that made Pam and I laugh, though, was the realization that if we HAD hooted or hollered when Grant’s name was read, no one would have been more mortified then HIM.
In fact, it did seem that most of the young folks who drew hoots and hollars when their name came up did indeed look quite mortified by it…so there’s that. Maybe the pendulum will swing back toward decorum, in a few years.
Edit – Prospero – when you said “Sometimes it seems the Teabaggers are right but have no idea where the abuse is coming from” I couldn’t possibly agree more. The defining characteristic of the teabaggers, if we reduced it to one word, seems to be “inchoate”
basset said on June 9, 2010 at 10:26 pm
Not having HBO or much of an interest in episodic TV we don’t watch “Treme,” but it looks like several of you do, so this might be of interest – how they got the sets to look the way they did:
prospero said on June 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm
One of my favorite words, Brian. Unformed but intending to be something we are pretty sure we’re not gonna like. It was a favorite word of HP Lovecraft, along with ichor. But it always makes me think what strange beast is slouching?
Hypocrisy and custom make their minds
The fanes of many a worship, now outworn.
They dare not devise good for man’s estate,
And yet they know not that they do not dare.
These people actually believe W cut their taxes and Obama is a Kenyan socialist.
Dexter said on June 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm
For those who have been watching Treme, unless you already had been there or did a lot of reading about the city, you surely have some questions. I certainly did.
This is a little history lesson from which I learned a lot:
Catherine said on June 10, 2010 at 12:09 am
The fruit kabobs sound fabulous, and hopefully the lovely wife will get a chance to relax this weekend.
I always feel worst for the Jehovah’s Witness kids at Halloween. When my oldest daughter was in second grade, one of my favorite kids in her class dressed up as Harry Potter. It turned out to be a very teachable moment, because he is of African descent and some questioned his claim to Potter-hood. It was pointed out that most of us do not really resemble our Halloween characters IRL, for instance in height, age or hair color. After that was cleared up, he really rocked those round glasses & the cape.
Next year, he wasn’t allowed to dress up because his mom had converted to JW. Following year, he didn’t bother coming to school at all that day. Too bad.
Dexter said on June 10, 2010 at 1:10 am
So THIS is what an earwig is!
Dexter said on June 10, 2010 at 2:27 am
Jack Abramoff is out of prison and in a halfway house. I loved his hat.
Bring back the hat!
ROgirl said on June 10, 2010 at 7:01 am
Deborah, it’s not just that Kinkade doesn’t paint everything, it’s that he uses mass-produced prints that are daubed by real live people with some dabs of paint to give them the glowing light effects that are so important to his brand. The more dabs of paint added to the prints the more he charges for them.
del said on June 10, 2010 at 9:33 am
Here’s a painter with a sense of light:
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 10, 2010 at 9:51 am
Del, that’s great stuff. Thanks for pointing him out.
joodyb said on June 10, 2010 at 6:58 pm
i agree, del. thanks for sharing.
prospero said on June 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm
Look y’all. I know I’M some obscene liberal. I really xBut please listen to this horseshit These people are shameless. you don’t care?
nancy said on June 12, 2010 at 7:22 pm
Yes, I care, but jeeze, prospero, you don’t expect any of us to wade into that mudbath with you, do you? Someone is always wrong on the internet. You can’t make it personal.