Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This blog is no longer on Sacramento Connect

This blog is no longer connected to Sacramento Connect, the blog roll of the Sacramento Bee.  Here is an explanation of why.
I attended an interesting talk on Sept. 23 by Barry Lynn, author of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction. (2010)  He discussed many roles of monopolies in our society.
Among the most dangerous   roles is the monopoly, or the quasi monopoly on information.  In a republic, the citizens need several sources of information from multiple viewpoints in order to make citizens decisions.  Adding sources of information is precisely the purpose of this blog.
The Sacramento Bee is a near monopoly that gathers information in order to make a profit.  The purpose of the Bee is to make a profit.  To be on Sacramento Connect, you get listed by the Bee and they place ads on your blog.  They receive money from these ads.

The BEE often gathers public data, or uses public data, and publishes it, then claims the right of copyright for their publication of public information.  The Bee also copies and posts items such as photos of public officials and YouTube videos from campaigns ads.   As with any monopoly, their goal is more profit and/or more power.  Gaining power is a route to more profit.
During the week of September 21, Sacramento Connect objected to some of the choices I made to post on my blog.  They asserted that the posts were covered by copyright ( of others- the Washington Post).  The Sacramento Connect editor  asserted  a very narrow view of copyright.  They claimed that less than 95 characters in a line of script would violate copyright.   I have written several books.  Typical rules are less than 250 or 500 consecutive words ( not characters) to violate copyright.  The Bee may be using this narrow definition due to some of the past problems of  one or two of its writers. I also seems that the BEE would have a narrow definition because since they added ads to my blog, then there was a profit for publication ( a profit to the BEE). Many writers freely give permission to post their work in non profit sites,  But the Bee's ads made this blog a ( very small) profit site.  Thus, the criteria for copyright would change. 
The Sacramento Connect  editor asked me to remove the posts and I said no.  I pointed out that this was my blog, not the Sacramento Bee’s. 
The Sacramento Connect editor ( the Sacramento BEE), by using a very narrow view of copyright was asserting a right to determine what I posted.  That is not acceptable.  For an excellent discussion of copyright, I recommend the Creative Commons.  www.creativecommons.org.  I do not contest the Bee’s right to make a decision for their paper, they are private property.  They are organized to make a profit.  My blog is not intended to make a profit.  However, I do not accept their right to make decisions for me or for the public at large.  Their interests and concerns are different than my non profit, pro public concerns.
There are a number of good books on the declining role of newspapers and the rise of the blogs.   As a private monopoly, the Bee seeks to use its power to limit discussion to areas where it can make a profit.  That is why they place ads on Sacramento Connect.  That is why they establish an internal loop for communication called the Sacramento Connect.  This is a closed loop of communication as contrasted with an open internet.
The web offers a more open, public venue-  at least at present.   There are excellent discussions of these issues at Personal Democracy.  ( see the link on the left).
In this blog and elsewhere  I  will continue to argue for open sources of information and dialogue.   Open sources  are essential for a democracy.  We should all  oppose any monopoly of power in information.
You can well see the effect of monopoly of power in the reduced pages of the Bee in the last few years  and the reduced number of employees.  They are contracting to make more profit.  I chose to subscribe to the New York Times home delivery in order to contend against the Bee’s reduction in quality and quantity of news.  And, I read a number of blogs and I host three blogs.  The goal of this work is spread more information, and more diverse viewpoints through an open internet.   
The role of copyright in this dispute needs significant further discussion.  For now, let me say that we follow the following guidelines for Fair Use as determined by U.S. law.
FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. WE ARE MAKING SUCH MATERIAL AVAILABLE IN OUR EFFORTS TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, ECONOMIC, DEMOCRACY, SCIENTIFIC, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, ETC. WE BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A 'FAIR USE' OF ANY SUCH COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THE MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/USCODE/17/107.SHTML. IF YOU WISH TO USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES OF YOUR OWN THAT GO BEYOND 'FAIR USE,' YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER.

If any publisher or owner of a copyrighted product believes we have violated your copyright, please contact me and we will usually remove the article, except under the guidelines of fair use above.  We will then post material about the contested issue  from alternative sources.
See the posts below on Charter schools and Waiting for Superman.

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