December 16, 2005

Archiving and IP [2:47 pm]

Push to Rescue Met Recordings

The [Metropolitan Opera House] is pressing forward with a project to preserve, and in many cases locate, nearly 1,400 recordings of its Saturday broadcasts. Met officials said they have completed 403 preservations, with 868 still to go, spending about $1.4 million in an open-ended project that is predicted to cost more than $4 million.

“It is one of the most important parts of the Met’s heritage,” said Sarah Billinghurst, the assistant manager for artistic affairs, who also oversees the media department. She called the recordings the “day in and day out history of what was,” and also a potential source of income from downloading or commercial release - “which is always something desperately needed.”

[...] One archival recording is released each year and is available to benefactors who contribute at least $150. Some of the recordings are also available at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center, where opera fanatics congregate for daily listening.

[...] The Met does not release the recordings because paying the house’s unions for broadcast rights is prohibitively expensive, Ms. Billinghurst said, although she said Joseph Volpe and Peter Gelb, the departing and incoming general managers, are talking to the unions about the issue. The donor releases are allowed under a special agreement.

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What’s A Capitalist To Do? [8:59 am]

What, indeed — from Salon on Internet Filtering in China in 2004-2005: A Country Study: “Freedom”: No documents found

The American companies are faced with a tough choice. The Chinese government doesn’t hesitate to use its economic clout to exact the concessions it wants. The hope had been that as the Internet took off, the Chinese government would ease its restrictions or lose control. But that hasn’t happened.

When China first began building its Internet infrastructure, some critics accused the American companies of supplying Internet technology that could be used for censorship. But China no longer needs help building a strong system of control. It already has one. What the censors lack now is legitimacy. Yahoo, Microsoft and Google find themselves in a trap. When they cooperate with the censors, they lend their names to China’s crackdowns. They get a cut of the China market. But the Chinese get a cut of their reputation.

Later: A WaPo article on how one evades the censors: Chinese Evade Censors To Discuss Police Assault [pdf]

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Happy Holidays! [8:43 am]

A little coal for your stocking? RIAA sues 751 file-swappers

The Recording Industry Association of America said Thursday it had filed a new round of lawsuits against 751 as-yet-unnamed people who are accused of making copyright music available on file-trading networks. The suits are the latest in a campaign that has now targeted more than 17,000 people.

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