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EDITORIALS ELSEWHERE

Opting in, opting out

October 05, 2005|Andres Martinez

ACCORDING TO AN editorial in today's Wall Street Journal, "there is no more important election this year" than California's special balloting next month. The Journal is most excited about Proposition 75, requiring public-sector unions to get workers to "opt in" to the union's political activities before their dues can be spent on political purposes. The measure has the "potential to significantly reduce the political influence of the state's quintessential special interest." Expect the Los Angeles Times to weigh in on this proposition soon, as part of our initiative endorsement process.

Both the Journal and the New York Times editorial pages side with the state of Oregon in a case brought by the federal government challenging that state's "right to die" law. The case is primarily about the proper relationship between the states and Washington. The Journal acknowledges that, and holds its nose in upholding the right of states to allow assisted suicides under certain conditions.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times approvingly editorializes about Yahoo's approach to scanning old books onto the Internet. Yahoo, which has partnered with the University of California, wants to respond to Google's own earlier, library-driven efforts, partly by being more respectful of an author's copyright. Yahoo wants authors to opt in to its program before scanning their book. Under the Google proposal, authors would have to opt out. "Google ought not use the slippery device of assumed permission to harvest intellectual property for its purposes," says the Journal. So for libraries, the Yahoo-Google showdown might be the most important election this year.

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