Saturday, February 23, 2013

Young actor's video makes fun of free content problem

I found a Youtube video from 2011 that makes fun of our obsession with “free content”, Or maybe, alternatively, it makes fun of the copyright trolls and media lobbyists who want to extract profits from media the old-fashioned way – as we’ve seen in the battles over SOPA, and even  PACER and academic journals.  It’s by actor and songwriter (and comedian), Reid Ewing, 24 (best known as Dylan in “Modern Family”,  titled  “Reid-ing 01: It’s Free”.  He made this video when he was about 21 or 22. It certainly fits the spirit of challenging overzealous prosecution and litigation for “copyright infringement” today.  EFF should use this video.

Perhaps ironically, this YouTube video has been marked private. I will advise if a replacement becomes available for e-commerce purchase or download. I hope so!

(Note, July 2013: "Reid Rainbow" has moved the video to "Igigistudios" production company site, here.  A number of his most interesting videos are available there now.  )

Reid goes to the public library, in a skit that could well fit on Saturday Night Live.  You don’t have to charge library books on your credit card.  You can do research for high school term papers and make 3x5 index cards (like I had to do in high school in 1960, when I legged downtown to the DC Public Library, now near the Convention Center, to write a paper on James Fenimore Cooper’s treatment of women (not very flattering).

And remember how clumsy those microfilm machines were for accessing old newspaper articles?  Back in the 1990s, microfilm was common in “the public library”.

The federal government (especially the ATF with gun background checks) has to do all kinds of manual microfilm and paper checking just like a student used to do at the “public library”.

But before the age of the Internet, the “public library” was even a necessary resource for some mainframe computer programming techniques.  I remember running into a library when on the road to check on whether something I had done at work was considered kosher.

Oh, I remember my first “gay talk group” back in 1973, when the leader reassured me over the phone, “It’s free”.

Update: February 27:

Here is something that's "free":  A smartphone app that allows the user to get up-to-date Metro information in Washington (including busses).  A young man developed it for free distribution as part of his own sense of volunteerism, link here.  The story was reported on NBC4 Washington.

Update: March 9:

Reiding-201, maybe, in Frostburg. MD:

Or the Frostburg museum:
Or Salisbury, PA ("America starts here"):

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