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[school-discuss] Book-Banning's Digital Future?
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- Subject: [school-discuss] Book-Banning's Digital Future?
- From: Joel Kahn <jj2kk4@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 1 Aug 2009 12:54:10 -0700 (PDT)
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Here's yet another angle on the Kindle/Orwell
fiasco that has been getting a lot of attention
among the technorati lately:
The passage in this article that got me thinking
about FLOSS was this one:
"Most of the e-books, videos, video games, and
mobile apps that we buy these days aren't
really ours. They come to us with digital strings
that stretch back to a single decider—Amazon,
Apple, Microsoft, or whomever else."
How are the free-as-in-speech alternatives to the
"digital strings" machines coming along?
What stimulated my brain even more, though,
was this prediction: "In our paperless future—
when all books exist as files on servers—courts
would have the power to make works vanish
completely." While Manjoo admits that "we'll
surely always have file-sharing networks and
other online repositories for works that have
been decreed illegal," he asserts that "it
seems like small comfort to rely on BitTorrent
to save banned art. The anonymous underground
movements that have long sustained banned works
will be a lot harder to keep up in the world of
the Kindle and the iPhone."
Manjoo seems to have his head stuck so far into
"the world of the Kindle and the iPhone" that
he has forgotten about the non-network info
environment, which is alive and healthy. Will
Big Brother license and track the possession
of all portable storage media? Will it be made
impossible for us to copy e-books to CDs, DVDs,
flash drives, &c, and take them wherever we like?
Will printers and paper mills also be placed
under totalitarian control?
Speaking of paper, it should be noted that courts
themselves don't completely trust online versions
of documents. At the web site of the US Supreme
Court, on the page where they have their opinions
from the current court term . . .
. . . it is made clear that paper versions of all
opinions *will* be produced for the foreseeable
future; in addition, "in case of discrepancies
between the print and electronic versions of a
slip opinion, the print version controls."
At any rate, I have a lot more faith in "the
anonymous underground movements that have long
sustained banned works" than Manjoo seems to.
I suspect that anyone familiar with the history
of samizdat will be inclined to agree with me.