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December 07, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-12-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 7, 2005

OPINION

Clbe £ibitgux &ii1il

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON Go
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Forgive me for
using the term 'fat
little brother.' It
is not a criticism,
rather a suggestion
that he do some
exercises and go
on a diet."
- Cuban President Fidel Castro, speaking
about Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as reported
yesterday by The Miami Herald.

Indecent
rubbing in
France

THE THUMBS HAVE IT

King Kong

French officials forced to fence off 19th cen-
tury statue because of concerns about "inde-
cent rubbing" of its groin area. If we were
French, we'd riot too.
Peter Jackson's $210 million blockbuster
receives early five-star reviews. We haven't
seen the film, but we'd give Naomi Watts
five stars any day.
A New Hampshire man named Ronald
MacDonald was detained by police for
robbing a Wendy's. Word has it the Burger
King has his sights on KFC. Stay on guard,
Colonel.

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

Ham-
burglary

Ann Arbor District Library v. Sony BMG
EMILY BEAM LOOKING FOR AMERICA

ecognizing
a growing
trend, Sony
BMG decided to fight
back against villain-
ous music-sharers by
restricting how many
times listeners can
copy their CDs. Fight-
ing technology with
technology, last spring
it started selling CDs that contain Extended
Copying Protection software - a lovely
euphemism for what is little more than a com-
mercially distributed computer virus.
The innocent-looking XCP software auto-
matically installs itself on Windows comput-
ers and limits listeners' ability to copy the
CD's music - supposedly protecting Sony
from untold lost profits. But while copy-pro-
tection software keeps Sony safe, it also puts
buyers' computers at risk. This type of pro-
gram, called a rootkit, lurks on users' systems
- undetected even by antivirus software
- and makes computers more susceptible to
viruses.
Viruses happen, but who expects "The
Essential Pete Seeger" to be the culprit?
A blogger revealed the threat Sony's soft-
ware poses in late October, quickly attract-
ing national attention. The company at first
provided only a flawed uninstall program that
left computers even more vulnerable. Thomas
Hesse, president of Sony BMG's global digital
business division, told National Public Radio,
"Most people don't even know what a rootkit
is, so why should they care about it?" I must
have misunderstood - as long as listeners
don't know that Sony is violating their com-

puter's security, there's no real harm done?
By late November, the company recalled
all affected CDs - 52 titles amounting to
roughly 5 million discs - but ignored the
Electronic Frontier Foundation's complaints
about a similar Trojan horse-style program
included with another 20 million CDs. It
wasn't until yesterday that Sony finally issued
an advisory on the second program.
During the gap between the public's dis-
covery of the risk and Sony's recall, one
brave institution took action: the Ann Arbor
District Library.
Employees read about what was going on
and promptly cancelled orders of CDs that
contain the XCP software and pulled discs
that contain it off the shelves. Just like run-
of-the-mill library censorship, well-mean-
ing library administrators sought to protect
patrons from loaned materials. But unlike
controversial literature, the CDs actually
posed a threat.
Eli Neiburger, tech manager for the library,
said the choice was a no-brainer: "It's as if it
were a book that had spikes stuck out in it."
Sony has taken the spikes out of its CDs
now, but what's next? It depends on how much
consumers are paying attention. For now, the
library will begin purchasing Sony's CDs
again, and a handful of jaded buyers will look
elsewhere for their music. As for Sony, every-
one from the Electronic Frontier Foundation
to the Texas state attorney general is fuming
- and suing.
If Sony can keep its 16 lawsuits (and count-
ing) quiet, it seems likely that it'll simply find
a bigger, better copy-protection program that
does the job without jeopardizing computer
security. Neiburger suggested that Sony's

mistakes could generate the backlash needed
to signal "the beginning of the end" of these
sorts of restrictions, but I'm not that optimis-
tic.
Although companies are starting to real-
ize the music industry needs more than just
CD sales to survive, they're still trying to
keep afloat by pegging themselves to the past.
Sony's stubborn crusade to make sure buyers
share CDs no more frequently than they share
underwear fails to recognize that the game has
changed. It seems absurd that Sony's innova-
tion consists of little more than researching
new ways to restrict its product's use.
Neiburger mentioned that these music
companies, along with other corporations
struggling with copyright law, need to come
up with a business plan that actually reflects
the change in how consumers demand music.
And indeed, a few companies have adapted
- iTunes emerged out of the Napster mess as
a copyright-friendly way to make money off
digital media. But for all its popularity, Apple,
not the buyer, is in total control. Apple can
"change, suspend, remove, or disable access
... at any time without notice" to downloaded
music - meaning that $0.99 music file isn't
really yours at all.
At a certain point, customers will want to
actually own what they purchase, and they
may be willing to pay a little more in order to
be free of restrictions. But even as things stand
today, it's not consumers' job to worry about
what their music CDs could do to their com-
puters. And it certainly shouldn't have to be
the library's job to keep us safe from viruses.

*

Beam can be reached
at ebeam@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Daily's editor in chief makes
articulate case in defense of
cartoon
TO THE DAILY:
Congratulations to Jason Pesick on a well-
reasoned and articulate explanation of the
Daily's mission and policies (Daily responds
to critics, 12/06/2005). My only problem
with his column is his stating, as the paper
has many times since the cartoon in ques-
tion ran, that some of the views expressed
on the editorial page "do not represent the
views of the Daily's editors or its editorial
board."
What "view," exactly, did the cartoon
express? There was no opinion in the car-
toon. All black students gain an advantage
over all white students as a result of affir-
mative action. Whether one supports affir-
mative action or not, surely he can agree that
this is, in fact, the definition of affirmative
action. Was it not until this cartoon ran that
the NAACP recognized the mechanisms of
the program? Does the NAACP have some
interest in hiding those mechanisms?
If affirmative action is to be a legiti-
mate policy of the University, its advocates
must be able to support it for what it is: an
advantage given to black applicants over
white applicants. They traditionally do so
by pointing out that the program is intended
to level an unequal playing field created by
the long history of slavery and discrimina-
tion that black people have endured in the
United States. I'm not sure what it says that
there has been such an uproar over a car-
toon that did nothing more than identify the
primary purpose of affirmative action, but
I'm sure it's not insignificant.
Most problems relating to discrimination
in this country will not be solved until we
can have an open discussion of the issues.
The uproar over this cartoon shows that
we've got quite a long way to go before that
discussion is possible.
Tyler Mann
Law student

represented in the paper, and I would like
to thank you for sticking up for those who
may have opinions different than the major-
ity here on campus.
Breanne Hoernschemeyer
LSA sophomore
Pesick fails to see mora l
reason for affimative action
TO THE DAILY:
In his explanation for the "provocative" car-
toon, Jason Pesick sidesteps the entire point of
affirmative action: to legally countervail the
racial inequality found throughout the K-12
education system and the admissions tests.
There is a "compelling need" for equality,
not for diversity. If racial preferences in admis-
sions were awarded only so the campus could
be more "colorful," then they wouldn't be fair
and Michelle Bien's cartoon (The Bean Archives,
11/28/2005) that started the uproar would not
have been offensive.
The cartoon and Pesick's argument justifying
it are offensive because blacks, Hispanics and
American Indians face additional burdens of
discrimination against them in their K-12 educa-
tion. There are exceptions - black students in
good districts, white students in bad districts -
but there is a distinctive, substantial, scientifical-
ly demonstrable racial bias in the school system.
Furthermore, it goes beyond which schools are
good and bad, to the subtle forms of discrimina-
tion that black and Hispanic people face in many
ways. Again, this racial bias has been scientifi-
cally established; there's no debate about it.
Not only Pesick, but shockingly, the Univer-
sity's legal team ignored virtually all of this evi-
dence, resting its entire case on this so-called
"compelling need for diversity" argument. It
was actually BAMN's lawyers from the Law
school who called the witnesses to prove this
racial bias in court. For instance, Stanford Uni-
versity Prof. Claude Steele testified how and
why blacks and Hispanics get lower scores on
standardized tests, even with socioeconomic
status and grade level controlled for.
Does Pesick understand WHY the cartoon
was racist? Does he understand that affirma-

ed that the Dow Chemical Company's denial of
responsibility for the Bhopal gas disaster was
neither highlighted nor challenged. Though the
Daily mentioned the settlement reached between
the Union Carbide Corporation and the Govern-
ment of India, the article failed to explain that
this settlement was reached without the consent
of survivors and the gas-affected people of Bho-
pal. This settlement only covers health care costs
for survivors for three to five years, and many
of the survivors can no longer work because of
exposure-related illnesses.
The article also mentions that the Indian
Supreme Court closed the case filed by Bhopal
victims to overturn the 1989 settlement. Unfortu-
nately, it did not go on to explain that while ruling
the settlement would stand, the court simultane-
ously reinstated the criminal cases against Union
Carbide and its former CEO Warren Anderson
- who remain wanted for culpable homicide by
the courts of Bhopal to this day.
When the Dow Chemical Company acquired
Union Carbide's assets in 2001, they also
acquired their liabilities according to U.S., Indian
and international corporate law. Union Carbide is
now effectively owned by Dow Chemical. It is
important that the corporation accept its liabili-
ties in Bhopal and take responsibility, for thou-
sands of lives depend upon it.
Jayanthi Reddy
LSA senior
Apology needed before we
can continue discussion
TO THE DAILY:
Two days ago, a Palestinian suicide bomber
entered a mall in Netanya, Israel and blew him-
self up, killing five people and wounding over
60. For those not familiar with Middle East
politics, the city of Netanya is nowhere near any
land claimed by these Palestinians. What were
these people guilty of that they deserved to die?
They were neither in the "territories," nor were
any on military duty at the time. These people,
may they rest in peace, were killed out of cold
blood, for no rational reason.
Until acts like this stop, and the people
responsible for them neutralized, there can

0

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Reggie Brown, Gabrielle
D'Angelo, John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared
Goldberg Ashwin lagannathan. Theresa Kennellv. Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank Man-

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