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posted by cmn32480 on Monday July 27 2015, @08:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the dewey-decimal-system dept.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is agitating for a new Librarian of Congress that will loosen restrictions on fair use and appreciate how content use has evolved in the digital age. The current Librarian, Dr. James Billington, has been criticized by EFF and others for failure to modernize the institution, being slow to grant exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and reportedly communicating with staff by fax. Now that Billington is retiring, the EFF hopes that a fresh face will speed up digitization of LoC public domain works, do a better job of overseeing the Copyright Office, and improve access to the Congressional Research Service.

Jessamyn West, the librarian whose Librarian of PROgress campaign has become a focal point for this discussion, has been a leading voice on what we can hope for in, to use her term, the #nextLoC. In a post last week, she laid out a wishlist of what she and other members of the library community would like to see.

As she notes, these priorities could certainly match those of somebody who already works in a library—perhaps unsurprisingly, the American Library Association too has advocated that President Obama nominate a professional librarian for the position. But they could also come from somebody who is simply passionate about users rights. Free speech, privacy, and intellectual freedom are core values of both EFF and librarians everywhere, and we can always use another well-placed advocate. We urge the president to choose one.

The Atlantic also has a discussion about the next Librarian of Congress:

"A lot of people are very happy that Billington finally stepped down, so we can get some better technology infrastructure for both the Copyright Office and the Library," said Samuelson. The previous Librarian of Congress did not hire a permanent chief information officer—despite being exhorted to do so by the Government Accountability Office—and has instead churned through five IT chiefs in the last three years alone.

A new Librarian could also shape copyright policy, Band said, just by communicating to libraries that they should take advantage of recent changes to fair use. The 2012 HathiTrust decision, for instance, found that searching ebooks and making them accessible to the disabled is covered by fair use. The Copyright Office "is very troubled by the evolution of fair use," Band told me. "A different Librarian who is more involved with these issues should say, 'No, libraries can take more advantage of fair use than the Copyright Office feels.'"


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  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday July 27 2015, @08:27AM

    If I understand correctly, jailbreaking was legal, then it was not. I don't know whether it is legal right now but I do know that a certain phone store that advertising jailbreaking would no longer permit the word "jailbreak" to be spoken on the premises.

    A good reason for jailbreaking is that it enables one to employ technical measures to defeat mobile analytics. Far worse than web bugs, mobile analytics tracks your every tap - what buttons you press, what text you enter, what screens you visit, which apps you use, what you use them for, how long you use them.

    The developer SDKs are all free as in beer, yet they phone home to entire data centers. Data centers are very costly; someone must be paying for all that behaviour insight.

    I can see how mobile analytics could well make a smoking crater of our democracy, what with the upcoming presidential election and all.

    The most-straightforward way to block an analytics server is to blackhole it with your /etc/hosts file. On iOS you can do that with the iFile app from the Cydia store. I don't know about Android, but jailbreaking either platform enables you to transfer your hosts file to your box with scp. I expect Windows phone has a hosts file as well but don't really know.

    If the analytics SDK uses IP addresses or does not use /etc/hosts for name resolution, one can block the IPs by patching a library, I expect that would be the standard C library. If that is still insufficient one could patch the kernel.

    I have some other arguments for legal jailbreaking that I'll post some other time.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 1) by puzzled_decoy on Monday July 27 2015, @07:19PM

      by puzzled_decoy (5524) on Monday July 27 2015, @07:19PM (#214479)

      I kept reading this hoping I would understand the tie-in to LoC. When I reached the end, I saw the off-topic tag. Yeah.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Monday July 27 2015, @08:49PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday July 27 2015, @08:49PM (#214526) Journal

        I kept reading this hoping I would understand the tie-in to LoC. When I reached the end, I saw the off-topic tag. Yeah.
         
        It is on-topic though. The Librarian of Congress grants exemptions to the DMCA. The DMCA as written prevents Jailbreaking and the existing exemption is what allows it.
         
        I think the exemptions have to be renewed on a periodic basis or they expire.

        • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Tuesday July 28 2015, @08:30AM

          by davester666 (155) on Tuesday July 28 2015, @08:30AM (#214757)

          Yeah, every three years.

    • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday July 28 2015, @03:50AM

      by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 28 2015, @03:50AM (#214696) Homepage Journal

      -g.

      I simply assumed every here would know that.

      Again I dont know the current rule.

      But employing technical measure to defeat undocumented invasions of privacy is clearly legal.

      --
      Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday July 27 2015, @08:39AM

    Jeannie has been a librarian since 1980; presently she runs the interlibrary loan department at the University of Idaho library. When she was a kid she spent all her time at libraries. She has a Bachelor's degree in forestry and is working part-time towards an Anthropology degree.

    Our mother was a librarian as well, at the U of I and here in Vancouver.

    My sister is adamantly supportive of our rights, and hip to technology.

    Drop here a dime why don't you. [blogspot.com]

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @09:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @09:24AM (#214194)

    ...is more libertarians of Congress!

    ...and no i don't mean the sort that the media, or left, or right portrays.

    I mean ones that will make a real stand against the 'Washington Machine' for regular Americans that don't give a shit about politics.

    Libertarianism isn't about left or right, which is why both the left and the right hate our guts... and all that hatred from the politically motivated cesspools of corruption means that we sure as hell must be doing something awesome!

    Stand with Rand 2016!

    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @10:33AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @10:33AM (#214212)

      Fuck term limits! If 100% of voters write-in OBAMA he can't fucking lose!

      WRITE-IN OBAMA

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @12:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @12:27PM (#214260)
      What we really need is the librarian [wikipedia.org]. Vote Barbarella 2016.
    • (Score: 2) by curunir_wolf on Monday July 27 2015, @04:48PM

      by curunir_wolf (4772) on Monday July 27 2015, @04:48PM (#214398)

      That's what we do NOT need - a cult and a freakshow of crazy, Ayn Rand -following, petulant children [playboy.com]. (SFW)

      --
      I am a crackpot
      • (Score: 1) by puzzled_decoy on Monday July 27 2015, @07:36PM

        by puzzled_decoy (5524) on Monday July 27 2015, @07:36PM (#214486)

        Just a heads on on that article: although its content is SFW, the site has some pop-overs that are borderline NSFW, so tread carefully.

        • (Score: 2) by curunir_wolf on Monday July 27 2015, @10:30PM

          by curunir_wolf (4772) on Monday July 27 2015, @10:30PM (#214574)
          Thanks. I never saw those, but I use "NoScript".
          --
          I am a crackpot
  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday July 27 2015, @09:31AM

    I post this here as I expect many librarians will read this submission.

    Music.

    The main reason I hang out in cafes rather than libraries is that cafes have music, often quite interesting music.

    While I do understand many spend time at the library so they can enjoy its quiet, dead silence drives me totally round the bend, in part because of tinnitus, that is, loud ringing in my ears.

    I could listen to headphones or earbuds but I dislike them. It's not the same as occupying a public space where everyone is hearing the same music.

    Some libraries are large enough that they could devote a separate room to the music. It need not be loud.

    Public performance of recorded music generally requires payment to the copyright holder, but that is not the case with Creative Commons or public domain recordings.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @10:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @10:07AM (#214203)

      Michael David Brotha! I got a solution! Go to your local library with your ghettoblaster laptop and crank up the fucking volume! Make everyone listen to your music! Theres a shitton of music for free on the nternet these days! Play that fucking shit in a public place! The public will thank you! For reals!

    • (Score: 2) by gidds on Tuesday July 28 2015, @01:39PM

      by gidds (589) on Tuesday July 28 2015, @01:39PM (#214830)

      ...is not what everyone else wants.

      Libraries are one of the few places people can get away from all the noise.  Your condition is rare, and has a perfectly good and considerate solution.  But because you dislike that, you'd be happy to make libraries hellholes for everyone else.

      Doesn't that strike you as a little selfish?

      --
      [sig redacted]
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by wonkey_monkey on Monday July 27 2015, @10:19AM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday July 27 2015, @10:19AM (#214207) Homepage

    Ook.

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 2) by fritsd on Monday July 27 2015, @09:11PM

      by fritsd (4586) on Monday July 27 2015, @09:11PM (#214542) Journal

      I hope you get the job.

      And, that there are cameras present, when you are told that due to TPP and TTIP, the world's copyrights are now harmonised with Mexico (100 year).

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by darkfeline on Monday July 27 2015, @10:36AM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Monday July 27 2015, @10:36AM (#214213) Homepage

    Here's my dream: everything that is registered for copyright must have a suitable copy, preferably digital, archived in the Library of Congress. This ensures that nothing is lost to the sands of time. Even in the digital age, stuff just up and disappears all the time.

    --
    Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @10:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @10:49AM (#214219)

      Here's my dream: everyone should go to libraries and fuck all the librarians up the ass!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @09:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @09:18PM (#214546)

        Nice try, Lonely Librarian!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @02:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @02:17PM (#214312)

      You do realize that there is still a law on the books that requires that.
      If people did actually do that, do you think Congress would approve enough money to actually IMPLEMENT that?
      The Culpeper National Audio-Visual Conservation Center Library of Congress is already straining to support the shitstorm that Hollywood and CSpan sends them.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @01:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27 2015, @01:20PM (#214289)

    Metric conversion table. First things first.

  • (Score: 2) by Non Sequor on Tuesday July 28 2015, @02:34AM

    by Non Sequor (1005) on Tuesday July 28 2015, @02:34AM (#214668) Journal
    --
    Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.