Copyright, media reform and the web that time forgot

Posted on June 19, 2008 
Filed Under Journalism

1. IHT’s Alex Wright has a story, The web that time forgot, on Paul Otlet’s 1934 vision of “réseau,” or network – what could have been the precursor of the Internet.

He described how people would use “electric telescopes” to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks.

Otlet wrote a book about the possibility of electronic media storage, called “Monde,” where he laid out his vision of a “mechanical, collective brain” that would house all the world’s information, made readily accessible over a global telecommunications network.

Otlet’s vision began to crystallize in the form of the Mundaneum, a museum filled with millions of 3-by-5 inch index cards that was to become the master bibliography of all the world’s published knowledge.

Sadly, the Belgian government lost interest in the project after losing its bid for the League of Nations HQ, and Otlet was forced to moved it to a smaller space, before it was closed to the public.


2. Bill Moyers speech at National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis, June 7, 2008 is worth the wait on YouTube.

Get the transcribed gist here and ponder this excerpt:

“Why does it matter? What does the media do, anyway? I’ll let an old Cherokee chief answer that. I heard this story a long time ago – of the tribal elder who was telling his grandson about the battle the old man was waging inside himself. He said, ‘It is between two wolves, my son. One is an evil wolf: Anger, envy, sorrow, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is the good wolf: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’ The boy thought this over for a minute, and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee replied simply: ‘The one I feed.’

“Democracy is that way: The wolf that wins is the one we feed, and the media provides the fodder.

“Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent while enhancing the power of the state and the privileged interests protected by it.

“Democracy without accountability creates the illusion of popular control while offering ordinary Americans cheap tickets to the balcony, too far away to see that the public stage is just a reality TV set.

“Nothing more characterizes corporate media today – mainstream and partisan – than disdain towards the fragile nature of modern life and indifference toward the complex social debate required of a free and self-governing people.”

3. AP is getting flak for issuing take-down notices to Drudge Retort, the liberal alternative site spoofing the popular Drudge Report, for supposedly ripping AP content. Dan Gillmor calls AP’s rate details unintentionally hilarious and has this to add:

“Issuing take-down notices (to Drudge Retort) is obnoxious, plain and simple. Also wrong. Not only won’t this fly, but it’s a remarkable demonstration of how not to play well on the Web. I know some of the AP folks involved, and I have to assume they’ve been told what to do by their bosses, because they aren’t nearly this clueless.”

No doubt, the fire the wire argument gains more credence.



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