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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Poaching From CNN: TiVo, Bloggers, the Bible, and Pajamas

What was meant to be a quick glance at a few news sites has turned into a CNN-enabled blogging spree:

An apparent "glitch" reveals that TiVo apparently offers broadcasters the ability to delete content that users have saved. This is on top of the the copyright protection announced last year for pay-per-view content. I can respect that broadcasters might want to somehow copy-protect their material from being saved indefinitely, but I'm a little unclear as to why TiVo feels the need to help out. It's a good thing TiVo has been so aggressive about protecting its trademark, too, or else people might not realize that there are other PVR systems available...

A Paris watchdog group has created an 87-page guide to avoiding censorship while blogging. The freely-available guide, launched at the Apple Expo, was partially funded by the French government. It's times like these that I remember "freedom fries" and cringe.

High school Bible classes now have a textbook. I have been thinking a lot lately about how the Bible is arguably the most important book in the country. This article mentions how knowledge of the Bible is useful for understanding literature and history, which is undoubtedly true, but it's also pretty relevant in understanding activism and political communication. I have often naively wondered why more high schools don't teach the Bible from a secular standpoint, as mine did. While reading this article, the words "tiptoe" and "legal nightmare" certainly come to mind.

And what follows the Bible better than footed pajamas? I include this because, though the clothing mentioned here seems mainly worn for the sake of comfort, concern about it seems an issue of the message it sends to allow kids to wear pajamas in public (or the message sent by the actual wearing of the pajamas, presumably, "I can't be bothered with getting properly dressed"). In other words, clothing is a form of visual communication, but I wonder if it always gets recognized as such. Garrison Keiller doesn't seem to appreciate verbal appropriation on a t-shirt, but would he let it slide if it were the title of a book? Consider also a certain law suit involving a parody of the Starbucks logo, in which the court ruled that the parody was "confusingly similar" to the trademark, and thus merchandise (such as t-shirts) featuring the logo could not be sold. (Even the article I just linked seems to forget that clothing is visual communication, stating that the parodist's comic book featuring the logo was "reduced" to the status of a commodity. Is there any such legal differentiation?) I guess footed pajamas may not be communicating a message as directly as politically satirical t-shirts, but come on, everybody loves pajamas with feet.

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