BOULDER, Colo. (July 31) - To Priscilla Hudson, public libraries are society's great equalizer, a place where anyone can go to learn regardless of their economic, social or political background.
So she doesn't much like Big Brother peering over their shoulder.
Hudson, manager of Boulder's main library, is among a number of librarians nationwide who oppose a provision in the USA Patriot Act that gives authorities access to records of what people check out from libraries or buy from bookstores.
The law is why Boulder librarians have lately been purging their files on patrons every week, not every couple of months. And experts say other libraries are doing similar things.
Snapster is built on the legal concept of Fair Use, which allows people who purchase records, tapes, and CDs to make copies for backup and for moving the content to other media. [...] Snapster will be a company that buys at retail one copy of every CD on the market. Figure 100,000 CDs at $14 each requires $1.4 million. Snapster will also be a download service with central servers capable of millions of transactions per day. [...] Snapster has to be a public company. It would have its IPO as soon as possible after all those CDs have been delivered. It must be a public company right from the start of operations [...] By limiting issued shares to 10 percent of total Snapster ownership, stock splits could be used to maintain the price of each Snapster share at $20. [...] Each Snapster share carries ownership rights to those 100,000 CDs. You see, Snapster is a kind of mutual fund, so every investor is a beneficial owner of all 100,000 CDs. Each share also carries the right to download backup or media-shifting copies for $0.05 per song or $0.50 per CD, that download coming from a separate company we'll call Snapster Download that is 100 percent owned by Snapster. [...] What I have described is legal, it just leverages technology in a way that has never been done before. There are precedents for group ownership of recordings and certainly the law of mutual funds is very clear. Of course, the RIAA will have a response. They will file suit, probably claiming restraint of trade, but this simply will not stand and it is impossible to believe they could get any form of retraining order. - [Full article]