16 January 2007

It's Still Monday

...and it probably will be all week. That's the problem with four-day weeks: Although the weekend is (sometimes) great, one is then left with four business days to make five business days' worth of phone calls, and spend five business days' worth on hold/ignore.

  • What a surprise: Getting a "mature audiences" program onto non-paywall cable is no guarantee of evading censorship. Back when I was foolish enough to pay for "basic cable" instead of "broadcast only," I watched a lot of A&E and Bravo (well, relative to what else I was watching that was not prerecorded). I distinctly remember my annoyance at some of the elisions in Homicide... and that had been broadcast over the air!
  • Most entertainment industry players wring their hands over copyright piracy, no matter where it occurs. But if it's in a foreign country, look out: The USTR will put you on a list of countries that don't "adequately enforce" copyright — even Canada. The problem here is the linkage between "adequate enforcement" and "availability of criminal sanctions." Sorry, guys, but that's window-dressing at the most. Trust me when I say that going through copyright litigation is itself a criminal sentence.
  • On the other hand, one descendant of piracy has begun to have an effect on actual practices. The record store as we knew it is probably terminal, but that's not entirely a bad thing. For all of the vaunted large catalog at Tower, the stores were still far too focussed on topsellers, even in the classical section. For example, I remember going into a Tower in the late 1980s and trying to find a copy of the Ozawa/Boston recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to give as a gift — I wasn't about to part with my copy — and being told that it wasn't available... but the 1962 Karajan/Berlin recording was just as good. (No, it wasn't, either musically or technically, especially in the opinion of the gift recipient.) The clerk in question, who was in charge of the whole classical department, hadn't even listened to both recordings.
  • Although this is far too theoretical for morning musings, contrast Zadie Smith on readers' role in "creating" a novel with the amusing context of this artist's show. Does it really make a difference that there is no artist there?
  • The Publisher's Marketing Association has responded to the PGW bankruptcy by advocating solutions that go directly to the heart of the antitrust/oligopoly aspects of book distribution: Greater diversity in distributors, availability of short print runs to maintain publisher control, and recognition of cashflow as a critical element of the small-publisher picture. And just how long have I been bitching about these problems? (Long before I began this blawg.)