Four short links: 23 Mar 2009

Digital rights, digital wrongs, newspaper science, and hardback socializing. Just another four short links:

  1. Twitter Mistrial — this isn’t a calamity for justice, we’re just able to do something we couldn’t do before (were there many jurors running pamphlets off on their printing presses in the old days?) so we need to figure out whether we want it or not.
  2. UK Government Outlines Digital Rights Agency — a strawman proposal for a rights agency to mediate between producers and consumers. The conservative in me bucks at market intervention, but I find it hard to argue with the problem statement: Consumers are no longer prepared to be told when and where they can access the content that they want. They do not see why a TV show that is airing in the US should not be available in the UK. They are not willing to wait to see a film at home until several months after it has passed through the cinemas. They don’t accept the logic that says that if you have bought a CD you cannot then copy that music onto your iPod. And of course with digital content perfect copies can be made with very little time and at virtually no cost.
  3. With a Newspaper Gone, Who’s the Watchdog and Where Do Advertisers Go? (Julie Starr) — roundup of people treating the closure of the Seattle Post Intelligencer, which leaves the town print-free for news, as a science experiment: if local councils really become unaccountable when local papers cease to investigate them, I’d expect to see a big increase in the value of positions of financial authority at local government level. Those positions will suddenly become a lot more valuable if no-one is watching the purse-strings all that carefully, so more candidates will want them and those candidates will spend more to win them.
  4. The Tweetbook — two years of tweets as a hardcover book. Fascinating to see the ephemeral preserved in print, although in general I wonder about the wisdom of trading ephemeral for eternal. (via Waxy)
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