Hard News by Russell Brown

Pop shop!

I wondered how long this would take to happen: Apple iPod music players to be sold through the Sounds music store chain - with download kiosks planned for later this year. The problem, of course, is that copying a song from a CD you have purchased onto your iPod is still illegal under the Copyright Act, as is copying a song to your computer hard drive, or even making a tape to listen to in your car.

But probably not for much longer: it seems that changes to the act proposed by the MED in late 2002 will finally come to pass. "Format-shifting" will be permitted for personal use. Local music industry bosses (a good bunch, on the whole) have been dutifully resisting the change - even as they load up their own iPods. It's not the home music buyer they'd be going after anyway, they insist.

But you oughtn't have laws you won't enforce, or will only enforce selectively. Establish a fair and viable law, explain it to people, and get on with it. I understand some of my chums in the industry credit me with influencing MED's decision to stay the course, which is flattering, but I just think it was inevitable. See you at the Tuis, then …

Interesting new recreational drugs from Dr Shulgin's top drawer hit the clubs in Britain. Out of interest, does anyone know what their legal status would be in New Zealand? I can't help but feel that eventually governments will stop attempting to dictate exactly which way it is permissible to alter one's consciousness and concentrate instead on relative safety. How long that takes is, of course, anyone's guess.

David Slack is graphing the results of his Treaty Pop Quiz. The results make me feel better about my eight-out-of-12 score, and make the point that a good many people - even in a self-selected group who cared enough to actually try the test - don't know a whole lot about this issue. I'll get back to the (ahem) race debate in my next post, although sometimes I wonder if there's any point: the public vein tapped by Don Brash doesn't seem particularly amenable to any kind of informed debate.

And Matt Drudge starts to go into reverse as the "intern" (well, journalist, actually) alleged to have had an affair with near-certain Demartic candidate John Kerry denies everything. And her parents, who supposedly told The Sun that Kerry was a "sleazeball" say the allegations are "false and unsubstantiated" and that they intend to vote for Kerry. What on earth has been going on here, then?

Much as I think Americans need to make their choices in the present, rather than the distant past, the corresponding allegations about Bush, a "war president" campaigning on his "character" do seem more germane than Kerry's alleged fling. Salon.com ploughs through what the release of Bush's National Guard records does and doesn't say about his conduct in the 1970s. The Progressive Southerner comes up with some extremely colourful stuff from people who claim to have known Bush at the time.

Here's my Listener column about why Howard Dean's Internet-savvy campaign crashed and burned - and why history will still regard it as significant. BTW, one of the bands behind the remixes at deangoesnuts.com was from Noo Zealand - the Tom Bosley Experience is worth a visit if you have a moment.

Riverbend writes vividly about her family's experience with one of the perils of today's Iraq - kidnapping - and Salam returns, again, to the difficult question: was the war worth it?