Category Archives: Media

→ Academic paywalls don’t just cost money, they hinder research

Ben Goldacre:

In the two cases [described], academic journal paywalls acted as a barrier to research by slowing peoples progress in accessing content they had a legitimate paid right to. […] These paywalls simply act as a barrier to research.

Even if I did have a day’s wages to spend on a single article, if a journal doesn’t permit me to read and research at my own leisure, I’m sorry but that field’s lost what could have been an excellent mind. And at such a high price per article, a well-designed and well-engineered interface isn’t being put off for financial reasons; either laziness or just good old-fashioned “enough people’ll pay us regardless of what we do”-ism.


→ Why I’m not going near Spotify

James Allworth:

There’s something pretty insidious buried inside music rental models like [Spotify]. Understanding […] that we consume audio in a fundamentally different way [to the way we consume movies and television] is critical to understanding why, from a consumer point of view, paying a monthly rental fee is a risky way of obtaining music.

Now, I agree with James here – and yes: it’s an article from July – that subscription-based music services effectively lock you in as long as you want to ‘keep’ the music collection you never actually owned in the first place. And also, all that music can’t be good for you.

I do have one major problem with Allworth’s article, however, and that’s the overgeneralisation in the second paragraph that all traffic over the BitTorrent protocol is copyrighted material which should be being shared. Sorry, James, but this isn’t true. BitTorrent and pirating are not synonymous.

Borderline libel

I’ll leave you with this cutting from the Cambridge News. Scan below copyright Cambridge Newspapers Limited; §30, CDPA 1988, et al. Just in case you’re wondering, I am “Mr Arrogant” but, alas: I’m not mentioned by name and therefore my libel case would be weaker than Chris Leydon makes Earl Grey.

Borderline libel: a cutting from today's (29th January 2011) Cambridge News. Click image to enlarge; CDPA 1988 §30 and all that.