I am a software developer who has made my livelihood giving away source code that I write.
While Grayson Currin's article, "If your love is cheap" (July 1), highlights some of the problems with Microsoft's marketing program that misuses artists with the vague promise of exposure, I'd like to see a more positive article about how artists can use new media, open platforms, open formats and open distribution. Or, better yet, become a leading voice of the free culture movement, one which allows artists to create and share and grow revenues in ways that are not immediately toxic to their users or their communities.
ccMixter has launched the careers of open-music pioneers Brad Sucks and Calendar Girl. Jamendo offers more than 20,000 albums that offer "free, legal and unlimited" downloads, and an easy mechanism to compensate artists from donations to advertising to other commercial licensing. Magnatune has also created a huge alternative to iTunes, plus a huge outreach to independent film producers. When an indie film uses Magnatune's content and goes big, the artist receives a fair share of the success.
The basis of open source is cooperation and freedom. Platforms like Windows and iPhone that restrict user freedom for economic reasons are engaging in censorship and content selection. Protecting our liberty and economic livelihoods requires encouraging consumers to pick the platforms and channels with the least restrictions, not just the best marketed ones. Closed platforms and distribution channels are basically like a casino; you can play any of the games they put in front of you, but the house always wins in the end.
The writer is a board member of the Open Source Initiative.
As the executive director of CLAWS, Inc., a local, volunteer-run, nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation and educational facility, my phone has been ringing off the hook with calls over the closing of Piedmont Wildlife Center ("Financial woes prompt wildlife clinic to close early," by Rebekah L. Cowell, July 8).
Unlike PWC, CLAWS has no paid staff, which means 100 percent of donations go directly to the care of the animals. CLAWS holds more rehabilitation permits than any facility in the area. Rehabilitators are trained to provide care for rehabilitating animals, which requires specific knowledge of each species, including basic emergency care.
To contact us directly in case of a wildlife emergency, please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or, for emergencies, call: 619-0776.
Kindra D. Mammone