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What’s the difference between a pig and a unicorn? June 22, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Legality.
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Back on April Fool’s Day, ThinkGeek advertised “Canned Unicorn Meat” was available.  See the ad here.

Recently, lawyers for the National Pork Board (NPB) sent ThinkGeek a Cease and Desist letter alleging that ThinkGeek is infringing on NPB’s trademarks when they say, “Unicorn, the new white meat”.

No worries though, ThinkGeek is clearly in parody-land, so their use of the phrase is considered Fair Use.  But thanks to ThinkGeek for providing us with the news, and even better, their hilarious handling of the letter and response!

ThinkGeek :: Blurgh! The ThinkGeek Blog – Officially our best-ever cease and desist.

No Library Here – Please See Google December 8, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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Library at BusinessWeek Magazine

I came across this picture last week, and although I chuckled a little, my reaction was to roll my eyes and groan at the state of libraries and the lack of respect for their resources or the skills of the librarians in this country, as more and more companies and agencies are cutting staff and resources to save money. This picture came from a blog post highlighting that BusinessWeek Magazine has recently closed its library, on the heels of the Wall Street Journal doing the same thing earlier this year.
Even with my awareness of the usefulness of a skilled librarian and a well-inventoried library, it doesn’t hit home until you need access to a resource that is no longer provided. This morning, for my work, I needed to search for a specific set of cases to support my legal argument, and although I knew they were out there, and I knew exactly how I could find them – I could not find any library within a reasonable distance that still had the resources I sought. It took me 3 times as long to figure out a different approach to the problem, and that is only to find the resources – not to use them. Either my clients are going to get an ugly bill, or I have to discount my time – either way, a good library would have made everyone happier.

Publishers Put Up a Fight November 30, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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It’s nice, for a change, to see publishers attempt to innovate and meet the changing demands of their tech-savvy readers instead of complaining about decreasing sales and demands for free content. This article by the New York Times discusses the attempts of powerhouse publishers like Conde Nast to create a centralized portal where both electronic and print copies of publications can be bought. This model, which the consortium plans to reveal in early December, will be loosely modeled on the iTunes store.

While I laud the attempts of these companies to keep payroll up and their writers employed, I cannot help but to believe that people will find a way, once again, to circumvent payment. If anything, this development is just another reminder that libraries are not doing outreach correctly (or at all). Most public libraries (and all public libraries in New York State) already provide free access to these publications through databases provided by their own tax money! Is it our job as librarians to spread the word about this amazing access to information, or should we keep in on the DL? Is being overlooked what has kept us in business? Is our biggest downfall our secret savior?

Google Books Blah Blah Blah November 30, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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If you are as sick as we are of hearing about Google Books settlement updates then just scroll past this post. BUT if you just found yourself saying, “huh?”, “what?”, or (astoundingly) “that sounds interesting!”, then you should check out this guide created by the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries that explains the revisions to the proposed settlement, and with particular emphasis on the parts that will most affect libraries. Have a Red Bull before this one!

Net Neutrality Update November 5, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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A new article by CNET summarizes the on-going battle over net neutrality, focusing on Verizon’s CEO’s negative stance towards the FCC’s newly proposed rules. I have to agree with the comments in saying “who asked this guys opinion, anyway?”

See our first post on this subject here.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent November 4, 2009

Posted by infomavensdesktop in Uncategorized.
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A section of the internet portion of a secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has leaked onto the web (how ironic) and basically states that the rules governing copyright on the internet will deem you (and your family and anyone else using your ISP) guilty immediately upon suspected infringement of copyright and cut off all access to the web. As access to the web is increasingly considered a legal right (Finland goes as far to consider broadband a legal right) I think this agreement is clearly in violation of our rights as Americans! Check out what exactly this entails in the words of Cory Doctorow.

Celebrate Open Access Week! October 22, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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The first annual Open Access Week (which began this Monday, the 19th and ends on the 23rd), is a growing movement that started with a “day of action” in 2007. Openaccessweek.org is a site dedicated to the week and explains the exponentially growing movement in greater detail.

In short, the week and movement in general is a collaboration between colleges, universities, professional and academic organizations to make access to research freely searchable and accessible to all. The movement was started, in part, by the National Institutes of Health with it’s unprecedented completely free access to health publications in its database PubMed, many of which are full text.

Though most Open Access blogs, movements, sites, etc. tend to over look an important piece of legislation, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007“, by President Bush, this was a landmark piece of legislation which required the National Institute of Health to include complete electronic versions of research findings in PubMed Central.

For those of you who are still unsure what exactly constitutes an Open Access Publication, Earlham College explains:

“An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:

  1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).

Want to know how you can join the fight? Add you signature to the Budapest Open Access Initiative here.

High Cost of Hoarding Data October 16, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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A California County tried to charge an exorbitant amount of money for mapping data it had collected, and when the non-profit coalition seeking access decided to sue instead of pay – the county claimed the data was withheld for reasons of National Security.

Well, not only did the court not believe it, but after a 3-year and thus very costly trial, the county has been ordered to release the data, and pay the coalition’s legal fees to the tune of $500,000.

So, instead making $250,000, the county is paying at least twice that, and that’s not counting their county’s own legal fees.

(via Wired)

Hello denizens of the information age! October 15, 2009

Posted by infomavensdesktop in Uncategorized.
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This is our inaugural post! The “Infomavens” come from an eclectic background that you can check out under PupFiction and DataDuchess pages.  And don’t forget to check out what we are all about.

I’m going to start this blog off with a bang and bring up one of the most interesting debates going on in the information world: Is broadband a legal right? Or, in other words, should it be? Finland certainly thinks so. What do you think?

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