Some useful links, and a wonderful thing

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Via Boingboing come these useful links and this fantastic, fan-created mashup music video, featuring clips of 80s John Hughes films to a soundtrack of “Lisztomania” by Phoenix. The creator, avoidantconsumer on YouTube, just decided that the Phoenix track sounded like an 80s movie, so she “made it happen”. Apart from creating something so good that Phoenix feature it on their own web site, she has – of course – breached copyright law in myriad ways. But copyright is supposed to protect creativity, right?

[YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtRQsCgYmtc%5D

Link number 2 is this article about the “newspaper suicide pact” – an expose of the truth and lies being told about the future of the newspaper industry. An absolute essential read.

So can we finally, finally call this thing what it is? Quality journalism is expensive, and to the extent that it provides a public good, we will find ways to fund it. But top-heavy, poorly run, arrogant-to-the-bitter-end media companies? This is their crisis, not our crisis, and it certainly isn’t about journalism.

In other words: If Isaacson wants to join us in protecting and expanding creativity and quality, welcome aboard, Walter! Because we can do THAT for an awful lot less than what it’s going to cost to bail out our brain-dead media companies on behalf of shareholders and executives.

The comment thread below is worth a glance, too.

Finally, an article from Ben Goldacre, of Bad Science fame, on the subject of the lies, damn lies, and statistics issued by the entertainment industry as they lobby governments to change laws to protect them from their own customers. It’s frightening but true: because they’re rich and powerful, they can make any old crap up and convince the government it needs to do something about it. Just by my typing those words, they “lost” $7million in sales.

Goldacre tracks down the origin of “official” figures concerning lost revenues caused by downloading. It appears to come from a government department, but no, it’s from a research group at a University, but no, they got it from a press release from a press release issued by a law firm, but no, they got it from “an industry estimate”. In other words, it’s a made up figure – but it’s informing government policy!

I love this bit:

SABIP refused to answer my questions in emails, insisted on a phone call (always a warning sign), told me that they had taken steps but wouldn’t say what, explained something about how they couldn’t be held responsible for lazy journalism, then, bizarrely, after ten minutes, tried to tell me retrospectively that the whole call was actually off the record, that I wasn’t allowed to use the information in my piece, but that they had answered my questions, and so they didn’t need to answer on the record, but I wasn’t allowed to use the answers, and I couldn’t say they hadn’t answered, I just couldn’t say what the answers were. Then the PR man from SABIP demanded that I acknowledge, in our phone call, formally, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, that he had been helpful.
I think it’s okay to be confused and disappointed by this. Like I said: as far as I’m concerned, everything from this industry is false, until proven otherwise.

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