My question to Mr. Noel, and to others who are in agreement with him, is where is the same passion, finality, and self-righteous indignation when it comes to the thugs, pimps, and drug dealers who are ripping the very souls out of our black children? There are whole neighborhoods being held hostage by thugs.

Although I understand that headlines like "If a Cop Kills My Son, I Will Kill the Cop" get more attention, the enemy is whoever is taking the lives of our young people.

Debra Wilson-Brown
Paterson, New Jersey

Global Warning

Thank you for publishing Cynthia Cotts's Press Clips column titled "The Boston T-1 Party" [May 2]. It is heartening to see a paper print the truth about the rights-grabbing attempts by the Boston Globe. Sadly, the Globe is not alone in its efforts to strong-arm freelancers.

I am a monthly columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune, which for years has been posting freelancers' articles on its Web sites—without paying writers who own copyrights.

Since the decision in Tasini v. The New York Times, supporting freelancers' rights, the Union-Tribune demands that freelancers sign contracts giving the newspaper rights to republish our works without payment. Writers have been told that if they do not sign, they will no longer be able to write for the newspaper. Many magazines now also demand outrageous rights.

Freelancers depend on resales to make a living. Without the ability to resell, many talented people will be forced to leave this business. Greedy publishers will wind up with material written by inexperienced contributers—the only ones who are likely to sign such onerous contracts. Readers who deplore this exploitation should urge publishers to fairly compensate freelance writers and photographers for each and every usage of their work.

Miriam Raftery
La Mesa, California

Bleak Houses

Hurrah for Cynthia Cotts's column about the Boston Globe. Those of us trying to make our livings as freelancers know that the Globe contract is not unusual; it's part of a nationwide squeeze being put on freelance writers. I have turned down similar contracts with The Dallas Morning News, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and many other newspapers requiring freelancers to work under similar egregious terms. This is a bleak time for freelance writers.

Sophia Dembling
Dallas, Texas

Law of the Land

In Jeff Howe's May 9 article, "Down By Law," he ignores the fact that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 is the law of the land and not just some pesky annoyance for hackers. Attorney Martin Garbus defends the open-source community, his (in Howe's words) "corps of overworked, denigrated protectors of civil liberties," but evidently cares nothing for the creators and copyright holders of the works in question.

At least Hollywood and the major record labels have deep pockets and can fight threats to copyright protection. Independent artists, on the other hand, are usually both creator and copyright holder, and have few resources. My group, the Society of Independent Musical Artists (www.simanet.org), is endeavoring to protect the rights of independent musical artists. As bandwidth increases, independent filmmakers will find themselves facing similar circumstances.

Whether DeCSS is technically an inappropriate target for Hollywood's legal attacks is not relevant to the issue of intellectual property. The utter absence of consideration for artists' rights in Howe's article is a deep shame.

Jon Sobel

Alpha Beta

Near the end of Jeff Howe's article, he mentions the 1984 case involving Betamax. Sony was the defendant in this case, and as Howe notes, its video format survived. Now Sony is part of the Motion Picture Association of America, fighting to destroy the fair use that allowed it to sell VCRs so many years ago.

Ironic or what?

Iain Colledge
London, England

Maxed Out

I am writing to clarify several points in Sharon Lerner's April 25 Body Politics column entitled "Managing Maximus." Maximus has a contract with the State of New York to provide outreach, education, and enrollment counseling services to New York City's Medicaid population in order to help move this population into managed care programs. We implement the policies determined by the state and city.

Although by contract Maximus must provide educational material in two languages, we offer material in five languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Haitian Creole.

Maximus has call center counselors who speak nine languages, with 140 additional languages available through a language-line service. By contract, we are evaluated on seven quantitative measures. Enrollment is not a measure; choice is, i.e., the extent to which an informed Medicaid recipient voluntarily chooses a managed care plan in which to participate. Maximus has achieved a voluntary choice rate of 81 percent compared to a contract requirement of 60 percent.

Maximus is not responsible for granting language exemptions to Medicaid recipients wishing to opt out of managed care; the city is, and such requests are forwarded to the city for disposition. By contract, Maximus utilizes the provider lists developed by the city to identify physicians with special language skills.

Maximus has exceeded every measure of success in our efforts in New York City. We are proud of what we are doing in New York, as well as in California, Texas, New Jersey, Michigan, and Massachusetts, to improve understanding and access to health care.

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