Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Steve Outing’s recent brush with having his work plagiarized by a blogger reminded me of the ever-present threat of having your Web-presented content unabashedly swiped. Not that I need much reminding: That back-of-mind knowledge keeps me from putting much in the way of truly valuable ideas on this blog (or anywhere else that doesn’t translate into a paycheck).

But here’s the rub: How can you check on the potential theft of your content? I guess you could compulsively search the Web for exact-quote snippets of your work, but that’s mighty scattershot, and probably not terribly effective regardless of which search engine you use.

I have stumbled across a site that might make such vigilance easier: Copyscape is a tool designed specifically to scan for instances of duplication of text on multiple sites. You enter your URL, and Copyscape spits back results.

I haven’t dug into it, but it seems to look only for whatever’s on the page of the URL inputted, not the entire site. If you want to check on archived or non-index/default page stuff, you have to input those specific URLs — making it an arduous task if you have a bunch of archived stuff. Much like most basic search engine functions, this is text-only, so hunting for image-swiping is out. I also have no idea just how far and wide Copyscape searches; my tests gave back results within 10 seconds, which is great for speed but perhaps not as much for comprehensiveness. Still, it’s better than nothing.

The idea of blatant copy-and-pasting, particularly when it’s blogger stealing from blogger, is mind-boggling. What makes the thief think it won’t be detected? And what satisfaction can you derive from it anyway?

More than anything, it’s indicative of pure laziness, since most bloggers likely wouldn’t mind the borrowing of material as long as it was even slightly reworded and re-presented.

On the other hand, such practices highlight how fuzzy things have gotten in the digital/Internet age. Where does attribution end and plagiarism begin?

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/08/2021 10:03:33 PM
Category: Bloggin', Internet, Media
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What can we expect for the future of popular music, now that Grammy-nominated “Genius Loves Company” by Ray Charles et al can attribute its success to big-time sales at Starbucks outlets?

“How long does it take to make a drink? In 3 1/2 minutes you can hear most of any song on ‘Genius Loves Company’ in its entirety, so perhaps that’s the sweet spot,” [record producer John] Burke said, chuckling. “Three-and-a-half minutes. That’s our new criteria for making albums.”

Lovely. But on the plus side, they can market extended-mix tracks as specialized “Grande Singles”, or whatever pseudo-Italian names they use for their cup sizes.

I recall reading about plans by the coffee kingpin to branch out into music sales as a solid side revenue stream. That’s seemingly well underway:

In Seattle and Austin, Texas, some Starbucks are experimenting with kiosks that allow customers to peruse a selection of 200,000 songs and pick and choose tracks for a tailored CD that is produced on the spot and paid for via the swipe of a credit card. The company has said it plans to put the CD burners in 2,500 stores in the next few years.

And it has announced an aggressive expansion that would set as its goal 30,000 stores worldwide — triple its international total today. That could make Starbucks a heftier player in music retail, a sector that has been shriveling in recent years.

Starbucks’ Hear Music also launched a channel this year on the XM Satellite Radio network, and a Hear Music Coffeehouse — with 68 music listening stations — opened in Santa Monica in March.

The brand has won credibility, Burke said, especially with adults who do not feel well-served by youth-skewing radio and have hectic schedules that make it difficult to stay up on music trends or carve out time to meander through the aisles of music stores.

That last part is the most critical. Like many new-style retailers, Starbucks is all about producing an allegedly full-fledged retail experience. They must be doing a good job of it, judging by the number of people constantly hanging out in their stores. Music is a crucial part of creating that environment, and making it available for easy acquisition (purchase) is the next natural step.

This would spell trouble for traditional music stores, if they were actually marketing toward the older-skewing demographic that Starbucks is targeting here. But by and large, the stores go after younger consumers, who are more likely to drop more money on hit-oriented music; so really, I don’t see how it’s having an effect there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/08/2021 09:16:33 PM
Category: Business, Pop Culture
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modern stone-age family
Remember when old-time episodes of The Simpsons invariably would include hilarious crank calls from Bart to Moe the Bartender? (My personal favorite: “Jacques Strap”.)

Since they’re insisting on continuing the show these days, I think a good contemporary line for this gag would go something like this:

Moe: “Moe’s Tavern.”
Bart: “Hi, I’m looking for a Mr. Kidah? First name, Al.”
Moe: Just a minute… HEY! AL KIDA? IS THERE AN AL KIDA IN HERE TONIGHT?”
(Barflies all laugh at him)
Moe: “Wait a minute! You little infidel!”

That’s comic gold, baby.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/08/2021 06:35:26 PM
Category: Comedy, Pop Culture, TV
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