The rights stuff
Nothing gets Mac users more riled up than copyright law. (Well, except maybe the word Intel. ) In June’s From the Editor’s Desk column, Jason Snell braved the intellectual-property debate—and the letters started pouring in. Some were reasonable. Some made us consider calling the FBI. But almost all of them reminded us that there’s no easy solution in sight for balancing the rights of two groups of people: those who create music, movies, and other artistic endeavors, and those who want to enjoy these creations.
Who Owns Your Music?
Mike McFerron - Regarding Jason Snell’s column (“All Rights Reserved,” From the Editor’s Desk, June 2005 ): I think it demonstrates a surprising misunderstanding of intellectual-property rights. Throughout his article, he implies that when a person purchases software, a CD, or a DVD, that person owns the application, music, or movie. This is simply false. When someone purchases an audio CD, he or she owns the CD—not the intellectual property on the CD. That information belongs to the copyright holder. Unfortunately, Jason Snell’s view is a common one today.
If you want your own music, write it yourself. After you have sacrificed in this way, you can give your music away. Pirates can try to justify piracy all they want, but in the end they’re only advocating theft. Following Snell’s logic, as a subscriber to Macworld, I should be able to scan his article and post it on my Web site—but wait, take a look at the copyright notice on page 10 of that issue.
I never suggested that consumers own the copyright to what they buy. However, I do believe that consumers have some fundamental usage rights, and that many content publishers want to reduce or eliminate consumer freedom. For example, when I buy a CD, I believe that I have the right to convert the music on that CD to MP3s and put it on my iPod, or to burn mixed CDs of the songs in my collection for my own personal use. By your reasoning, none of these things should be legal. Not even the music companies hold that position, which is just as ridiculous as the pirates’ belief that there’s no such thing as intellectual property.—Jason Snell
Larry Plachno - As a magazine and book publisher, I’m in the middle of this copyright debate. On the one hand, if we’re worried about software or hardware that can make illegal copies, we should also eliminate copy machines, scanners, and audio recorders. We might even want to take a good, hard look at pens, pencils, and chalk. On the other hand, there are any number of items (musical works, publications, books, videos, and even medicines) that cost money to develop but are also relatively easy to copy. The people who develop and produce these items should be paid for their development costs. Paying the proper price encourages them to produce more; illegal copying discourages them.
Michael Malouf - I was excited to learn about Safari Enhancer (“Secrets of Mac Superheroes,” June 2005 ). But you failed to mention that it doesn’t work with Safari 1.3; according to the Enhancer Web site, trying to do so could really screw up Safari.
According to the Safari Enhancer site, the utility has since been updated so it now works only with Safari 2.0 in OS X 10.4.—Ed.
Danny Lemos - I had just said to a friend, “How do I get into Podcasting?” when I opened the June issue and found your article (“Start Your Own Podcast,” Create, June 2005 ). Bravo! I was setting up my first Podcast in a heartbeat. As a former radio broadcaster, I’m excited that I can just turn on my iMac and be up and running.
Henry B. Ledyard - Your short story about biometric security devices (“Put Your Finger Here,” Mac Beat, June 2005) is the best news since the mouse. Think of the possibilities: secure and personal identification for accessing one’s medical records and credit information, online voting, and online shopping without fear—and I could pitch my little black book with all those login names and passwords.
What Month Is It?
Chris Luth - I know this has been brought up before, but now the magazine industry has reached a new low. I received my latest Macworld in the mail today—the June issue. Page 17 has an announcement that says Tiger will be available on April 29th (“Tiger Arrives,” Mac Beat, June 2005). What? The future tense regarding a date that was more than a month prior to the issue date? I know the magazine industry is competing to maintain a sense of timeliness in this instant-news era, but this is beyond me.
Bob Johnston - As someone who started way back with an Apple II+ and a Mac 512K, and who has been through numerous upgrades since, I’m a true Apple fan. My wife and I wanted to do something unique and different with two Mac Classics (one belongs to a friend) that were collecting dust. We didn’t want to throw them away, but thought that a Mac Classic night-light would make a nice touch on our desk. Each Mac Classic was gutted and sanded, had light holes drilled, and was painted. Blue plastic was placed over the monitor and floppy-drive openings. Finally, the Apple logo was painted to finish the project. Total crafting time per Mac was about eight to ten hours.
Les Simon - After fifteen or so years of using a PC, I switched to a Mac. A year later, I’m still adjusting to the switch. But I’d like to thank Apple tech support and Macworld for all their help in making the switch as free of hassles as possible. In general, Macworld is loaded with useful information, much of it about small apps that cost less than $100. But this can mount up quickly, adding to the cost of an already high-priced system. Using Windows was frustrating, yes. But practically every time-saving app I’ve read about in Macworld adds a feature built into Windows—at no extra cost. It seems that many Mac users (myself included) want Windows capabilities with Mac reliability.
Wayne Mitzner - Regarding the letters you’ve been publishing about excessive fan noise in iMac G5s, you should also look into the noise of the 12-inch PowerBook G4s. Users in Apple’s support forums say that a change to a file (AppleADM103x.kext) in the upgrade from OS X 10.2 to 10.3 caused the fan to stay on nearly all the time. In addition to the noise, this also cut my battery time by about 40 percent. Reinstalling the old file from OS X 10.2.8 into 10.3 solved the problem for me. But that may not work in Tiger—preventing owners of 12-inch PowerBooks from ever upgrading to OS X 10.4. Please check this out.
Ron Connor - In June’s Feedback, a reader commented on the noticeable fan noise the G5 tower makes. I had the same problem and found one solution that worked well for me. In the Energy Saver preference pane, select the Options tab, and then choose Highest from the Processor Performance drop-down menu. Restart the computer, and you’ll notice a dramatic drop in fan noise.
Make iTunes Better
Eric Pollitt - I have a suggestion for improving iTunes. I know I can tell it to use specific equalizer settings for each song. But I think it’d be more Apple-like if iTunes automatically based its equalizer settings on each song’s genre—so it’d choose Pop for Michael Jackson, and Rock for R.E.M.