Quite a few of the vendors that will be exhibiting at ALA Midwinter support SOPA, which “could have potentially disastrous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system, for the principle of interconnectivity that has helped drive the Internet’s extraordinary growth, and for free expression” according to the Stanford Law Review.
The Library Society of the World is here to help you help us conduct a non-harassing protest against these vendors. We recognize that the vendor representatives that will be staffing the boothes in the MidWinter exhibit hall are not the bad guys. They didn’t make these decisions and they don’t deserve to have bad days because of this protest. Their executives, however, need to know that SOPA is not ok with us. The Library Bill of Rights is clear:
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
So here’s the plan:
- Print off as many copies of the LSW SOPA Protest Coupons (PDF) as you can manage, making sure to print it double sided. (The file is in color, but it prints in black and white just fine.) Ideally, print off as many sheets as you think you can use and as many as you think you can carry to hand out to people at Midwinter.
- Cut or tear sheets into 6 protest coupons, each of which should have the letter on one side and the “+1 Protest Point” pattern on the other.
- Use Andy’s Exhibit Hall map to help you know which vendors support this legislation, and take them a coupon or three.
- Please try to be nice to the vendor reps, but make it clear that their higher-ups need to know that we’re not ok with this.
Ideally, by the end of Midwinter, each vendor booth should have a hefty collection of protest coupons quantifying our displeasure.
P.S. This post and the protest coupons have a CC0 license — that means that I claim no copyright on this work and that you can use it and share it at will.
My friends know that I have a complicated relationship with Facebook. Simply put: I hate it, but I can’t leave. The interface never made sense to me, the multiple audiences made participation hard for me, the quizzes cluttered everything up, college friends flaunted their perfect lives in my face (without meaning to, but it still hurt), and Hasbro took away Scrabulous, which was really the only redeeming feature of Facebook. So why can’t I leave? My local friends assume I’ll know what they’ve posted when we meet on the weekend.
I’d finally figured out a balance that worked for me: I put my local friends and my family members on a list of their own, dragged that list to the top of my list of lists, and now when I open Facebook, they’re all I see. But then Facebook started messing with privacy settings again. For a more full story, check this out: Facebook’s New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. But here are the four things I did this morning in my battle to coexist with Facebook:
- Overwrote and then deleted some parts of the newly designated set of “publicly available information” (this includes your name, profile picture, current city, gender, networks, and the pages that you are a “fan” of). I overwrote what I could because I wanted to actually change the cached information in Facebook’s database, and then I deleted it because a) I don’t want to give that information away, and b) it was now bogus anyway.
- Clicked “edit profile” and then the little “edit” icon next to my Friends list and unchecked the box that says “show my friends on my profile” because that seems to be the only way to keep my friends lists out of the hands of apps and random passers by.
- Went to Facebook > Settings > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites > What Your Friends Can Share About You and unchecked everything. I don’t like the idea that having a friend who answers quizzes on Facebook means that the quiz creators can gain access to a lot of my information.
- For good measure, took the opportunity to go through all the other privacy settings and make sure they still reflected my wishes.
Is this overly paranoid of me? Probably. (Tinfoil hats help keep warmth in, remember, and it’s pretty incredibly cold out right now.) The thing is, I’m not invested enough in Facebook to feel like the privacy trade-off is worth it for me. I’m there so I can keep up with my local friends. Full stop. I’m already making concessions by making myself available to the students who want to friend me there and by grudgingly admitting that I like the rolodex function it plays. But I feel zero motivation to give up more than I can help to Facebook and its third party developers. They can kindly leave me alone, please.
Stephen Abram has lived a bit of a charmed life. He’s somehow managed to be the Vendor That Everyone Kind Of Thinks Has Our Best Interests At Heart Even If He Is A Vendor. Meanwhile, he’s also headed up the Special Library Association. Meanwhile, he’s also been a sought-after voice in the library community. And did I mention he’s done all this while being a vendor? No small feat.
There’ve been some bumps along the way, to be sure (I’m lookin’ at you, SLA realignment name change drama), but for the most part he’s managed to keep people from looking too closely at his vendor status.
And then he authored a report on open source ILS platforms.
This document was released only to a select number of existing customers of the company SirsiDynix, a proprietary library automation software vendor. According to our source it has not been released more broadly specifically because of the misinformation about open source software and possible libel per se against certain competitors contained therein.
SirsiDynix is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with one of the largest public libraries in the U.S. (Queens Borough, NY) and this document does illustrate the less-than-ethical nature of this company.
The source states that the document should be leaked so that everyone can see to what extent SirsiDynix will attempt to spread falsehoods and smear open source and the proponents of open source.
I’m sure that others far better versed in these matters will write cogent and thoughtful responses to the document itself. I know of an effort underway to mark up the report and respond with some actual research to back up the counter-claims. With all of this serious thinking going on, I think I’ll just play court jester and point out my four favorite bits of the report.
- The ubiquitous Asian woman who appears on every page and on the cover sheet, and always next to Abram’s name, making it seem like maybe that’s what he looks like.
- The totally information-less charts that appear on page 4 straight out of the “If there’s a chart for it that makes it fact” school of rhetoric.
- “Proprietary software has more features. Period. Proprietary software is much more user-friendly” (p. 6).
- “Rogue programming teams may decide to create a better version, while exclaiming ‘Damn the torpedoes’” (p. 6). (I just love the “damn the torpedoes” phrase.)
Dear Stephen, we’ve seen your infomercial colors now. Next time you write such a report, please cite some sources. What you have here wouldn’t last 5 minutes on Wikipedia.
Yesterday, rain descended on Louisville in a big way, and one of the places hit especially hard was the main public library. I watched Twitter posts and pictures roll in from my friend and fellow LSW member Greg Schwartz and couldn’t believe my eyes. They’re estimating $1 million in damage right now (books, servers, computers, bookmobiles, everything).
So Steve Lawson has started a project in the name of the LSW. Our goal: $5000. Here’s the official announcement from his blog (recreated here for your convenience and through the glories of his CC license):
I have set up the email LSW.LFPL@google.com and linked it to my PayPal account. I intend to collect money at that address until September 1, at which point I’ll send a check in the name of the Library Society of the World to the LFPL Foundation. You can just send money to that email address using PayPal, or use the button below:
If you’d rather send a check, send it to the Library Society of the World Clubhouse, PO Box 7893, Colorado Springs CO 80933. Make the check payable to Steve Lawson.
Don’t worry about how much you can afford to donate. My own contribution will be small-ish, between $20 and $50.
But there are about 300 members of the LSW room on FriendFeed. There are close to 1,000 members of the LSW group on Linkedin. I would like to think we can raise at least $5,000 for LFPL by September 1. That’s only $17 per FriendFeed member, or $5 per Linkedin member.
For this to work, you have to trust me. I promise that every dime that comes through PayPal or check will go to LFPL. (PayPal takes a small cut if your donation is charged to your credit card (rather than your bank account) and if you don’t choose the option to pay those fees yourself, so it’s possible that I won’t get the full amount of your donation. I’ll only be able to donate the money I actually receive after PayPal fees.)
On September 1, I’ll total up what we have raised and send it to the library. If you would rather give money yourself instead of sending it to me, here is the address and phone number given in the Louisville Courier-Journal:
The Library Foundation
301 York St.
Louisville, KY 40203
Five thousand dollars or more for Louisville Free Public Library by September 1. Think we can do it? I’ll keep you posted.
I think we can do this.