Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter188



Letters to the Editor

(April 5, 2010)


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Defending Copyrights. An objection to Gilles d'Aymery's The Gray Lady And Copyright Insanities

To the Editor:

As an author and a publisher, I can appreciate your [Gilles d'Aymery] frustration in dealing with The New York Times but I cannot agree with your basic contention that The Times does not have the right to exercise its copyright on the article in question. Moreover, I don't see how your admittedly frustrating experience means that the copyright laws are "rotten and broken."

First, let me say that, although I think that the NYT is short sighted in not providing a way to contact its writers via e-mail, I was disappointed that you couldn't find a way to e-mail Anthony Tommasini. When I had the same problem reaching this author, I simply used several standard variations of an e-mail address (anthony.tommasini, atommasini, etc.) and sent off the e-mail. I can't remember which one went through but one did and I got a nice reply from him.

Back to the basic issue: whether your author was inserting rejoinders in between paragraphs or whether it was part of a longer article, the fact is that he planned on publishing a copyrighted article -- the entire article -- on your Web site. If I understand your complaint, you feel that because you're running a Web site instead of being a print publication, the holder of a copyright should simply say, "Thanks for asking," and let you proceed. I published a magazine for a nonprofit association for more than 25 years and occasionally got a similar answer; it may have caused me to shake my head but that's all -- it is, after all, that publication's copyright. You appear to follow a similar policy on your site: see the statement at the end of the post about it being all right to include a link but not to repost your content.

You may think The Times' $500 fee is too high but that's not your call to make; it's The Times' copyright (indeed, Mr. Tommasini probably would have told you that he didn't have the authority to allow you to use the article in the manner your requested because, as an employee of the paper, he doesn't own the material; the paper does unless it has a contract with its writer specifically disclaiming rights).

I'm also curious about your statement that "I would treat music, movies and software copyrights to a different standard." What differences would you adopt and why? All of these areas are the work of creative people, as was Mr. Tommasini's article. They all deserve copyright protection, not just the ones you elect to pick and choose.


Robert D. Thomas
Los Angeles, California, USA - March 23, 2010

[ed. The writer is a music critic for three Southern California newspapers. His writing on music can also be found on his Blog, Class Act. Gilles d'Aymery will endeavor to revisit this topic and address Mr. Thomas's points in the near future.]


Art Shay's Collaboration

To the Editor:

Thanks Art Shay,

Yup. Art is the problem... the best one.

Memory and truth are just, it seems, not good enough for the stories that sell -- at least for the ones that sell most easily. Thanks Mr. Cameron -- but you Mr. Shay, knew the "3-D" Simone and the man who loved her most.... Art, I know you know the stories; the truth in the humans you know. Shame to those who will not listen.

Large love,

Jim Leaming
Chicago, Illinois, USA - March 22, 2010


Questions on the worldwide crisis and Gilles d'Aymery's Blips.

Hey Monsieur d'Aymery,

You've been blipping a lot about the economic and financial crises and have raised hell against the wealthy leeches that are sucking our blood -- though, to be honest, one of them is trying to force his bloated dick (for cause) in between my still gorgeous legs... What should I do, what should I do? A Corneilian question, to say the least...

But, trève de plaisanteries, you have yet to explain the causes of the crises and tell us whether it is at long last behind us. How did this tsunami happen and are we heading into safer, quieter shores?

Because, here in France we are falling so fast down the drain that the next stop looks like a meeting with good old proto-fascist forces. Is there a 21st century Marshall Plan on the horizon or are we all gleeful passengers of an out-of-control Titanic rushing toward an iceberg of titanic proportions?

I do enjoy your giving hell to everyone but I am not sure hell is warranted in this age and time.

Allez, bon vent.

Alouette Arouet
Paris, France - March 28, 2010


Question about Copyrights

Dear Sir:

I have been reading Swans articles for many years and I have been greatly impressed by the content of these articles and by the quality of the way they are written. From time to time I share some articles with a few select friends. I hope I am not contravening some copyright rule.

Yours truly,

Alex Munro
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - April 2, 2010

ed. Avoid sending the entire pieces to your correspondents. Instead, direct them to the URLs of the pieces, all the while explaining to them in your own words why you think the articles are worthy of their time. In doing so, you are earning the respect of your correspondents and remain faithful to our copyrights. Thanks for reading Swans.
Follow up from Alex Munro: Thank you for your prompt reply. In the future, I will do what you say. I am actually a resident of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I and my friends are deeply concerned about how the United States have been governed in recent decades. Being such a close neighbour, we are greatly affected by their policies. We cannot trust our mainstream media to report the unbiased facts; so we depend on information from sources such as you. My wife and I also regularly watch the Bill Moyer's Journal on public television.

I hope that the messages you are sending to the US public will raise their awareness and will motivate them to take action to bring about real and decent change in society.

Joel S. Hirschhorn on Weak Reforms Are Worse Than No Reforms

To the Editor:

I wholeheartedly agree with Joel. Just considering the national debt, expected to double in 5 years and triple in 10 years. Currently each household is indebted by approx $200k. That would easily change to $500k per household if the debt triples as expected. No way, under normal circumstances, could we ever pay off this debt.

I believe, that with the rest of the world near or in bankruptcy, there is a plan among the elites to reset the world economies to something akin to a more harmonized global economy where everyone plays by the same rules.

Should that not happen in a fairly timely manner you may be correct that we will need a second American Revolution to straighten things out. I would think that a populist 3rd party movement would be way preferable to a revolution but not likely to happen until the pain and misery is commensurate with a level likely to cause a revolution.

The Republic Sentry Party advocates for government reform through the abolishment of corporate personhood and money is free speech law. Believing that all legislation is conducted under duress as long as those two laws continue to exist. Shouldn't be too hard to achieve government reform once we can get to clean and free elections.

I see where the government has now taken over education. Plans are to give black colleges $4B. Wouldn't it make more sense to close black and poor performing colleges and have students attend the better performing schools? Several wrongs do not make a right.

Roy Ellis
Republic Sentry Party
Castleton, Virginia, USA - March 22, 2010


The World of Music: "Wolfgang Wagner, Director of Bayreuth, Is Dead at 90"

To the Editor:

Many thanks for sending me the link to Wolfgang Wagner's obituary in The New York Times. I have a photo of myself and Wolfgang Wagner (WW) amidst a cast picture of the very first fully staged production of Die Meistersinger in New Zealand. The performance took place in 1990; so it took well over 120 years for that great classic to finally reach New Zealand! WW flew in all the way from Germany for the event. Others in the picture included Heinz Wallberg, the German conductor for the performance, and Sir Donald MacIntyre, the internationally recognized New Zealand baritone who sang Hans Sachs. Also in the photo was Christopher Doig, tenor, who sang David. Doig was also a New Zealander and the director of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts under whose auspices the premiere took place. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was the orchestra for the performance. And thus I, being the concertmaster, can say without contradiction that I am the only concertmaster in the world who has led his orchestra in the premiere of a Wagner opera! What a memory that was!

The next season the opera company in Auckland featured Sir Donald as the Dutchman in The Flying Dutchman, and I served as concertmaster for those performances as well. In later seasons I was able to enjoy again, in New York, Sir Donald's singing, when he re-created Hans Sachs at the Metropolitan Opera. The writings mentioned in The New York Times of Gottfried Wagner, who was Wolfgang's son and Richard Wagner's great-grandson, are characterized by Gottfried's attempts to bring about reconciliation between his notorious family and the Jewish people and his attempts to have his illustrious forebear's music performed at last in Israel, from which it has been banned till now.

Isidor Saslav
Overton, Texas, USA - March 24, 2010


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Published April 5, 2010
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