Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book crooks.

I've done a lot of bad stuff in my life. I probably had 2,000 baseball cards when I was a kid that I never paid for. I got in fights and hurt some people. I threw rocks and firecrackers at other kids. I started fires. I kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.

But I never stole anything from the library. Libraries were like a sanctuary, a refuge, where everyone was equal because everything was available to anyone for free. I never vandalized a library or broke or stole anything. I never tore pages from books or magazines. I never even cut out pictures of topless actresses printed in the French movie magazine, Seins dans L'obscurité (which I just made up). And it still angers me today when I read stories about libraries losing materials to thieves.

I remember when I found out that a friend had taken a book from the library, I said, "Man, you took that from the library... you're an asshole." And I stole the book back from him and left it on the floor inside the library entrance (because I was afraid an alarm would go off if I tried to bring the book back inside). And I felt good about returning it, until that asshole shot me in the arm with his BB gun.

Even now, when I know many ways to steal whatever I want, I don't take library books or DVDs or CDs.

Yes, of course, I make copies of whatever I want. Because, you know, copying isn't stealing. :)

On a related topic, listening to "TWiL 20: Ethically Cleansed," which discusses the ripping of CDs.

Questions: If you rip a CD at 10 to 1, which is basically copying ten percent of the data on the CD, is that legal under "fair use"? How much of a written work can you copy and still be within fair use? What about copying a DVD at fifty-five percent compression?

That's why ripping confuses me since the ripped tracks are never 1:1 copies. They are almost always compressed and stripped of 80% of the (music) data. Do you define that as a copy? I guess it is, but it's a very bad copy.

Didn't analog recording (vinyl sound recordings copied to tape) produce closer copies of the source than today's digital copies? I think they did, but people were copying The Carpenters, so no one really cared.