Quick Bytes: Captured and reCAPTCHAed!

Two short pieces that show the good and bad of our digital lives at the moment:

1. You may have heard that a jury recently awarded the recording industry (RIAA) over $200,000 in damages against a woman who was sharing 24 songs via Kazaa on her home computer. Wired has a story that quotes the jury on why they went for the damages (one wanted to award the maximum, which would have been over $3.5 million).

2. More and more websites are relying on the use of Captcha, which is a technology that is human readable but not machine readable. You know the one, you’re asked to enter the text you see so you can buy from Ticketmaster, or post to a blog, etc. Well, Carnegie Mellon University has developed a brilliant implementation: reCAPTCHA uses people’s input to proofread scanned texts that are being released into the public domain. Read about it here. In this way, the internet is more secure and less open to spam, and the whole world has better access to works that belong to them. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more implementations like this in music education (granted, a musical captcha isn’t likely to work: how many people could confirm that a given note is a ‘c’ on an alto clef…).

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