Jim Elliott with Joan Ann


The question of copyright seems to be under review with an element of the academic and consumer world hoping to limit the purview of copyright protection while much of the corporate world hopes to extend its range and duration. The latter group seems to be winning with the 1998 Copyright Extension Act which lengthened the period of protection by twenty years, and the successful prosecutions of down loaders of music and movies.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out since the internet has effectively removed national boundaries for information. All sorts of laws will have to be modified and practices changed to react to this technical revolution. Consider for example the problem of taxing maps, plans, charts and drawings that can be, and are, transmitted across national borders by wire, micro-waves or satellite transmission. When privacy comes up against the government's (and industry's) need for revenue, guess who wins.

It can be argued that the printing press led to the Protestant Reformation by removing clerical control over the production of books. What similar transformations may the internet have unleashed?

The domination of America's evening hours by three or four major on-air TV networks is obviously over and the market highly fragmented by the multitude of cable or satellite program providers who are rapidly becoming producers of new programming not bound by some of the restrictions afflicting over-the air channels, rather than mere sources of re-runs (although there's still lots of that.) The current round of award ceremonies has been dominated by the "cable" media, chiefly HBO which received more than half of the TV Golden Globes. A premium service, HBO has a sparkling lineup of its own creations, currently featuring the last few episodes of "Sex and the City" the stories of four thirty-something Manhattan ladies and their male accompanists. Alternately sensitive and sensationalist, it has attracted a devoted following among a highly desirable demographic.

HBO also features "Curb Your Enthusiasm" a hilarious romp with Larry David the co-creator of the epochal and much lamented (and re-run) "Seinfeld" series. The current series has much in common with the funnier aspects of the old series, with Larry David playing most of the roles previously done by the fabulous four.

The "Fab Five" are featured in "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" a Bravo cable network creation in which five gays help a straight guy improve his looks, wardrobe, living space and culinary skills to make him more attractive to women.

Go Figure. Worth watching once.

Jim Elliott

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