- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 3, 2005

Google and copyright law

Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr’s column whining that Google is violating copyright law by making books searchable via an online database is absurd (“Reining in Google,” Commentary, yesterday). They, and almost everyone else in our government — at the behest of the media conglomerates — have completely missed the point when it comes to copyright law.

When the original copyright law was introduced, such things as copy machines and cassette recorders did not exist. In making it illegal to “copy” works, the law was referring specifically to impersonating the works of another — not making a physical copy. The media-conglomerate-fueled government has repeatedly missed the point on this issue and has completely changed the meaning from the original intent of this law.

Being able to search the works of thousands or millions of authors via an online database in seconds should not be taken lightly. This would benefit the public extraordinarily by making such information more easily accessible than ever before. The fact that the media conglomerates aren’t getting the kickbacks from the advertising revenue Google will receive apparently gives them the right to whine all the way to the courthouse. I, for one, would rather my works become better known and accessible and that someone have the option to purchase the full content of my works immediately or via a link to a bookseller than to have those works never be known by so many.

JACOB M. MCDONALD

Hilliard, Ohio

I understand, and to some extent share, Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr’s concerns over the protection of copyright and the threat of being Googled.

However, there is another side of the story. Online access is not given sufficient credit for enabling researchers to check facts in minutes that once would have taken hours spent at a library.

Indeed, there even was a time when hidebound authors and publishers protested against lending libraries as an insidious infringement on copyright.

Progress never comes without pain, and perhaps both sides ought to wince and seek a compromise.

HAROLD BRACKMAN

San Diego

Clearly racist comments

I am appalled and deeply embarrassed that elected officials in the state of Maryland would speak approvingly of comments and depictions of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele that are clearly racist by any standard (” ‘Party trumps race’ for Steele foes,” Page 1, Wednesday).

Is this really happening in my Maryland, the Free State, in 2005 and during the week in which we honor Rosa Parks? Shame.

No man should have to endure such treatment. The fact that Mr. Steele is the lieutenant governor of Maryland only worsens the shame these elected officials have brought upon themselves.

As the former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, I have known Mr. Steele for 15 years. From day one, he has been principled, genuine and caring to others.

It is extremely disturbing that elected black Democrats are attempting to justify the practice of racism in our state based on the political philosophy of the victim. There is no such thing as situational racism. Is their fear of Mr. Steele that great?

Surely all of us — black and white, Republican and Democrat — can unite around one simple principle. Our elected officials should not justify insulting racial practices for any reason, including political benefit. How much better my beloved Maryland would be served if we engaged each other in the battle of ideas.

JOYCE LYONS TERHES

Committee member

Republican National Committee

Silver Spring

I hope Maryland voters, particularly black voters, are as incensed as I am over the strategy adopted by the Democrats in their attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his quest for the U.S. Senate. How on earth they can justify racially charged attacks against this man because “he is a conservative Republican,” as the story says, is beyond me.

If any white candidate openly used these tactics against Mr. Steele, he would be branded as racist. Does the fact that this objectionable drivel emanates from blacks make it any more acceptable?

Hopefully, those who pursue racial name-calling strategies will regret it at election time. To impugn an honorable man simply because of his membership in another political party smacks of nascent racism and must be rejected by all.

JOSEPH C. FENRICK JR.

Capitol Heights

It is both sad and ironic that on the same day as civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ funeral, a front-page story confirms that elected black officials in Maryland say that racially charged attacks against fellow black politician Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele are fair because he is a conservative Republican. As if that were not bad enough, three of Maryland’s top Democrats, including the two leading candidates for governor, chose not to repudiate those remarks (“Top democrats duck on Steele hits,” Page 1, yesterday).

You may disagree with Mr. Steele’s views, but the sound you heard was Mrs. Parks already turning over in her grave.

COL. CHRIS J. KRISINGER

U.S. Air Force

Burke

Kilgore, a ‘standout politician’

The governor’s race in Virginia is a tight one, and Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore and Democratic candidate Tim Kaine are neck-and-neck approaching the finish line and Election Day. As Ken Cuccinelli noted yesterday in his Op-Ed column, “The conservative case for Kilgore,” of the two candidates, Jerry Kilgore is a standout. Although falsely accused of running a dirty campaign by those in the opposing political camp, Mr. Kilgore is by no means a nasty individual. To the contrary, he is an admirable public servant whose career record reflects a professional reality embraced with character, honor, integrity and class.

Mr. Kilgore is, in all respects, a uniquely genuine politician. He is a keen and objective listener. Unlike most politicians, who will not provide their complete attention to an individual who may approach in a crowd, Mr. Kilgore will give his undivided attention to the person addressing him and will maintain full contact while astutely listening to what the person has to say. Mr. Kilgore is also a man whose word can be counted on. When he says something, he means it. Unlike Mr. Kaine, who signed an agreement stating he would not use footage from the debates in campaign but subsequently reneged on his word, Mr. Kilgore is a man who says what he means and means what he says.

Mr. Kilgore has proved himself as a public servant. As attorney general of Virginia, Mr. Kilgore was aware of the critical issues plaguing the state’s criminal justice system, and he was critically aware of the issues and problems in the areas of domestic violence, gang violence and illegal immigration. He implemented successful programs that made an impact in Virginia. He established a statewide anti-gang task force to assess and implement solutions to Virginia’s raging gang problem. He also cared deeply about victims of crime and successfully developed and implemented a program throughout the state in which hair salon personnel were trained to recognize signs and symptoms of domestic violence. Consequently, customers who were in abusive situations could be guided with referrals and an avenue of assistance to extricate them from the cycle of violence.

Mr. Kilgore possesses a great deal of common sense. He focuses on the real issues facing Virginia, and he has developed viable solutions to problems that confront the state. Voters in Northern Virginia should follow the advice of Mr. Cuccinelli and The Washington Times and stand up and vote for Mr. Kilgore, a standout politician who should be the next governor of Virginia.

KAREN L. BUNE

Adjunct professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University

Arlington

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