the quest for the perfect filter

What do you do when you’re using CIPA-approved filters in your library and patrons or politicians want you to use filters that will block ALL pornography? In this case, in Pennsylvania, it looks like the local paper gets it right.

article: Allegheny County Councilman Vince Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park, hopes libraries across the county will adopt even stricter measures to prevent similar incidents. He wants the eiNetwork, the computer network that links the 44 public library systems of the Allegheny County Library Association, to use filters capable of blocking all pornographic or inappropriate material found on the Web.

editorial: With such an alarm sounded, someone might think libraries in the county are hotbeds of vice. In reality, they are centers of serious learning and improvement presided over by librarians, who rank among the most respectable members of society. It would be hard to find any group of people more dedicated and less inclined to tolerate those who would pollute their sanctum.

[thanks megan]

DRM isn’t just ineffective, it does active harm

Speaking of DRM, let’s look at what ten years of it have done so far. I’ve been reading the Intellectual Property & Social Justice blog this morning and they have a summary of an EFF white paper on the subject. The IP-SJ blurb does a great job of giving some “in a nutshell” descriptions both of what DRM is, as well as what is wrong with it, especially for libraries and educators and anyone who has an obligation to provide content to all the public. I’ve excerpted the list of negative effects DRM has had for libraries, in the developed world where the EFF states “it has been in wide deployment for a decade with no benefit to artists and with substantial cost to the public and to due process, free speech and other civil society fundamentals.”

  • The success of the information society depends on digital content being accessible. Digital content must not locked up behind technical barriers.
  • Libraries must not be prevented by DRM from availing themselves of their lawful rights under national copyright law and must be able to extend their services to the digital environment.
  • Long term preservation and archiving, essential to preserving cultural identities, maintaining diversity of peoples, languages and cultures and in shaping the future, must not be jeopardized by DRM.