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Google hit with antitrust suit over claim of ownership on orphaned books

Google faces antitrust investigation over $125m books deal | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Lawyers for the government are examining potential antitrust issues surrounding a $125m settlement made between Google and authors - in a move that could scupper the internet company's plans to create an "iTunes for books".

The deal, struck last autumn between the web giant and authors' groups, would see Google pay $125m for the right to digitise millions of books in the US, with the intention of selling the files online and taking a significant cut of the profit.

. . .

But the proposals have concerned some other campaigners, particularly because it would give Google exclusive rights to digitise so-called orphan works - books that are still under copyright, but without any clear owner.

April 27, 2009

Free Anthology -- Thoughtcrime Experiments

Thoughtcrime Experiments

Thoughtcrime Experiments is a free 2009 anthology of fantasy and science fiction stories and art, published under a Creative Commons license. It’s available online as HTML, as a downloadable PDF, or as a print-on-demand physical book (coming soon).

We Must Kill The University To Save It

Op-Ed Contributor - End the University as We Know It - NYTimes.com

GRADUATE education is the Detroit of higher learning. Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans).

Widespread hiring freezes and layoffs have brought these problems into sharp relief now. But our graduate system has been in crisis for decades, and the seeds of this crisis go as far back as the formation of modern universities. Kant, in his 1798 work “The Conflict of the Faculties,” wrote that universities should “handle the entire content of learning by mass production, so to speak, by a division of labor, so that for every branch of the sciences there would be a public teacher or professor appointed as its trustee.”

. . .

The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldn’t conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations. That’s one of the main reasons we still encourage people to enroll in doctoral programs. It is simply cheaper to provide graduate students with modest stipends and adjuncts with as little as $5,000 a course — with no benefits — than it is to hire full-time professors.

April 24, 2009

Bill Moyers interviewig Joseph Heller

Maud Newton: Blog

Whoa. Get a load of Heller's voice!

Have you read Catch 22? Seriously, why not?

The woman Jeanette Winterson wrote the Passion for

Pat Kavanagh's will omits former lover Jeanette Winterson from remembered friends - Telegraph

When Pat Kavanagh, the literary agent and wife of Julian Barnes, died last year there was no mention in her will of Jeanette Winterson, the author with whom it was disclosed she had an affair during the Eighties.

Yet Kavanagh, 68, has pointedly provided sentimental gifts for the other close female friends in her circle, Mandrake can disclose.

. . .

Although Winterson, 49, was not present at her former lover's funeral, she paid tribute to her on her blog and said: "I wrote The Passion for her, and I loved her very much."

April 21, 2009

If it's good, it can't be science fiction

Making Light: "But this is good!" "Well, then, it's not SF."

From the New York Times obit for J. G. Ballard:

“His fabulistic style led people to review his work as science fiction,” said Robert Weil, Mr. Ballard’s American editor at Norton. “But that’s like calling Brave New World science fiction, or 1984.”