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Category Archives: interview

Google says it doesn’t want to steal my book

A little while ago, I wrote a post about my mixed feelings regarding Google and its controversial book-scanning process. The long and the short of it is, Google has for some time now been scanning books and making them searchable online. The company got sued for this alleged violation of copyright by a bunch of authors and assorted book people down in the U.S., but the two sides recently came to a settlement. The deal is still awaiting approval by a judge and there are many questions still surrounding the issue.

I was fortunate to get to sit down with Alexander Macgillivray, one of Google’s top intellectual property lawyers, last week for a discussion on this whole books thing. I’ve posted the full interview on YouTube, chopped into four parts, the first of which is below (links to the other three also follow the embedded video).

In a nutshell, the deal is fairly complex because it involves three separate issues: libraries, in-print books and out-of-print books. Under the terms of the settlement, Google will be making snippets of books available online and users will be able to purchase full access to a copy that is viewable only online. I can see this being particularly good in at least two circumstances: it’ll be an awesome tool for people doing research and who need to access hard-to-get, rare or out-of-print books. Looking at my bookshelf, I’ve shelled out for at least 50 books in the course of researching Bombs, Boobs and Burgers, and there were several books that I simply did without because they would have cost too much or taken too long to get. Having instant online access to any book I want, even if I have to pay for it, will be an amazing resource. Consequently, Google’s plan is also good for authors who have books that are out of print. By making them purchasable online, they get a new life and allow authors to continue making money from them.

One of my main concerns was that once the book is digitized and distributed, people would be able to make copies of it and distribute it the same way they do with music, movies and TV shows. Not so, Macgillivray says, because there will be no actual file to download – the books will be hosted online only. I’m sure some users somewhere will figure out how to make copies (i.e. with screen grabs), but at least Google won’t be selling easy-to-distribute PDF files, or anything like that.

Check out the interview:

Also check out part two, part three and part four.

Interestingly, Google has already scanned about 10 million books. Estimates as to how many books there are in existence vary, but the number is pegged at between 30 million and 100 million. Either way, the company is actually quite far along in its scanning project. It won’t be long before every book ever printed is available online from Google. Like I said before, that’s both really cool and somewhat scary.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2009 in books, copyright, Google, internet, interview

 

Talking porn on CBC radio

If you’re in need of a porn-on-the-radio fix, you’re in luck. I’m on CBC Radio’s Spark show this week talking about the industry’s influence on technology, which is of course one of the major themes of my book. Host Nora Young and I talk about porn’s influence on everything from the Polaroid camera to internet payment systems to 3D movies. My segment starts at the 2:56 mark and goes for about eight minutes. It’s been remarked that it was a refreshing interview in that we were earnest about it rather than salacious, which is how the mainstream media usually addresses porn. Check it out – it’s a nice preview of what I’m covering in the book.

And since we’re on the topic – the great news is that not only has Spark been renewed for next season, it’s also going to one hour from its current 30 minutes as of September. It’s also being moved to Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m., right after Stuart McLean’s popular Vinyl Cafe, which should hopefully result in an audience bump for Spark. All of this seems to indicate that CBC management holds Spark in high regard, which it should because it’s a great show (and not just because they occasionally have me on).

Part of the beefing up is also probably because of the axing of Search Engine, which went from being on the radio to being just a podcast to not being at all. Luckily, Search Engine and host Jesse Brown have ended up on TVO where they’ll probably get treated well. I’m a fan of both the show and Jesse, who likes to deal with the same big-picture technology issues I try to report on, so hopefully they’ll do well at their new home.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2009 in cbc, interview, sex, spark

 

Tera Patrick on tech freedom

As promised earlier this week, today we’ve got a snippet of my recent interview with Tera Patrick, who – like Jenna Jameson – is one of the few porn stars that non-aficionados can identify by name. That’s because, like Jameson, she’s taken major steps toward mainstream crossover. She’s been a regular on the Howard Stern show, had a guest spot in Will Ferrell’s Blades of Glory, and will even be a downloadable character in the Saints Row 2 video game as of April 16. (How does she feel about it? “I’m really proud of that. I’m a hero,” she said. “I get to kill people with weed wackers.”) She’s also the first porn star to have an iPhone app actually cleared by Apple, although it is a PG-rated slide game.

Patrick is perhaps most notable for striking out on her own in 2003. After deciding she was tired of being ripped off by the big porn producers, she started her own company Teravision with her husband, Biohazard bassist and Oz actor Evan Seinfeld, who was also in on the interview (who could ever forget the photo shoot he did with Patrick and Skid Row Singer Sebastian Bach’s wife on the Supergroup reality show?). Here’s a short clip of Patrick telling me about exploitation in the business:

Patrick is possibly the best example of the liberating power of technology. Just as the internet allowed Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to break free from what he felt was an exploitative music business by going out on his own, so too has it allowed porn stars like Patrick to bypass traditional distribution vehicles. Or, as Seinfeld told me:

If you’re independent, now is your time. You don’t need to go through a Vivid or a Wicked or a Hustler to get into the business. You can just open yourself a website and if you have something unique or good, you have the technology to get it out there and it’s the wild west. Have a good time.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2009 in internet, interview, sex, Tera Patrick, video games

 

Stoya talks tech and sex

Last week was really busy. Besides heading down to Houston to eat NASA’s space food, I also interviewed a pair of porn stars – one is a veritable legend in the business while the other is perhaps the industry’s fastest rising star. I’ll have snippets of both interviews up this week, starting today with Stoya, the Digital Playground contract star who won the Adult Video News award for “Best New Starlet” back in January. (And check back later this week for a clip of my interview with Tera Patrick.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Stoya has a reputation for being tech savvy – she blogs, Twitters, plays video games and depends on her BlackBerry – so she seemed like the perfect person with which to discuss the links between porn and technology. Interestingly, she doesn’t consider herself any more technologically proficient than anyone her age (she’s 22). In the audio slideshow below, she talks about her views on why adult companies have been so quick to embrace technology and the limitations they face, as well as the improbability of having sex while wearing 3D glasses.

One big contrast between Stoya and Tera Patrick that emerged in the interviews was their views on whether or not the porn industry was exploitative of women. Patrick, an industry veteran of 10 years, very much believes the business is dominated by men who rip off the women, which is why she started her own company in 2003. Stoya, on the other hand, takes a hard-line approach and says the porn business isn’t more or less exploitative than any other industry, and that it’s up to the individual to negotiate the best deal they can:

Any person hiring another person, regardless of industry or gender, wants to get the most work and the highest quality of work for the lowest price. That’s just business. Of course the company I work for tries to get as much out of me as they can without having to pay me extra. Meanwhile, I try to get fairly compensated for every single thing I do because that’s business. That’s capitalism and the Western world is built on capitalism.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2009 in 3D, interview, mobile, robots, sex, Stoya, Twitter, video games

 

Jesse Jane talks tech

Check out this interview I did with adult star Jesse Jane at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas back in January, where we talked tech. You can read the text transcript over on the CBC website but this audio slideshow is way better as it gives a better sense of her personality, plus there’s a bunch of hot PG-rated photos (all courtesy of Digital Playground). The interview is split into two for length purposes.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2009 in interview, jesse jane, sex

 
 
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