from the week-themes-are-for-the-weak dept
I came up with several concepts and themes for my Favorites column, but none of them came together quite as neatly as I hoped, so Iíve opted to play without rules. These five posts are selected for different reasons and presented in no particular order, alongside some of my thoughts on each. If it draws your attention to something interesting that you missed, then Iíve done my job!
(Note: I had to polish this post off on Thursday night, so Iím afraid there are no Techdirt posts from Friday included here. Hopefully itís a slow news day.)
Time For Google To Leave Italy? Italy Announces That YouTube Responsible For All Content
Online companies are gaining so much cultural clout that we often hear calls for this ďweíll just leave and see how you like itĒ response to oppressive regulationsóand yet you rarely see it happen. Posts like this one get me wondering why, because boy it sounds like fun, doesnít it? But maybe itís wise for these companies not to bet too heavily on their ubiquity; after all, online services can rise and fall in the blink of an eye, and regional competitors in huge markets like China and Russia already represent some of the biggest threats to the established western players. I wonder: what would really happen if YouTube pulled out of Italy?
UK Man Convicted Of A Crime For Letting Drivers Know They Should Slow Down To Avoid Speed Camera
Okay, I think the conviction in this case is pretty silly, but I got caught up in this post because in a purely abstract sense there is a lot of fun logic to play with. By flashing your lights in this manner, you encourage someone to obey the law while at the same time encouraging a broader culture of disobeying the lawóas an ethical thought experiment, itís nearly as fun as the Trolley Problem.
Have We Reached A Tipping Point Where Self-Publishing Is Better Than Getting A Book Deal?
I have a friend who is a novelist trying to get his first publishing deal, but is resistant to self-publishing for interesting reasons. In short, he agrees that the old ways are changing, but heís wanted this for a long time and heís damn well going to give it a shot before trying to be a pioneer. His response to this post was so good I had to share it, but I havenít had a chance to ask him so Iím omitting his name for now (though the nature of the quote gives you an alphabetical clue):
ďOnce upon a time, vanity presses were for vain writers. Today, traditional publishing is for vain writers. I do want my books to sit on a bookstore shelf. Any bookstore I walk into, I go looking for James Michener, because that's where [X]ís work will one day sit. Isn't that vain? Isn't that my pride talking? But isn't that the stuff meaningful dreams are made of?Ē
I wish him well, and I'll be there to help him if he ever does decide to self-publish.
Dear Gary Larson: Your Kids Go Out At Night; Let Them Be
Ah, the Heartfelt Plea—one of the classic creator responses to the discovery that their work now belongs to their fans. Itís certainly better than the Angry Tantrum or the Silent Treatment, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The Angry Tantrum is all about chastisement, the Silent Treatment is all about punishment, and the Heartfelt Plea is all about another weapon: guilt. Itís an attempt to make your fans feel guilty for enjoying and sharing your work. Though Iím a fan of The Far Side, Iím not a fan of that.
(Incidentally, The Complete Far Side is only available as a two-volume set with a list price of $150. And he wonders why fans want to digitize his workÖ)
IHOP Drops Trademark Lawsuit Against IHOP
As a Canadian, I know very little about IHOP, but everything I find out makes it sound all the more ridiculous. I was astonished to learn from this post that the Rooty Tooty Fresh Ďní Fruity is a real thing. How does anyone order it without giggling?