Kids Steal Christmas Gifts

Some of the most popular stories on the Web.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ALISON STEWART, host:

This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. I'm Alison Stewart, going solo today on the last day of 2007, but not exactly alone. THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT players have assembled in the studio.

LAURA CONAWAY: News team, assemble.

STEWART: Because it is time for the most blogged, e-mailed, viewed and commented stories in the Web. It's something we call The Most.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: All right. Up first today with The Most, director Jacob doing double duty. We're going to let him go first then he can direct the rest of the segment. What do you have, Jacob?

JACOB GANZA: I've got one of the most commented on stories on Engadget, which is a - it's a pretty complicated story, but I'm going to try to make it simple as I possibly can. The RIAA has got another round of lawsuits against a music listener, this person whose name is Jeffrey Howell. He's in Scottsdale, Arizona. And he - the story was commented on a lot because the RIAA says or people think that the RIAA is suing him because he's copying CDs that he legally owns.

STEWART: Can you just quickly explain what the RIAA is?

GANZA: The RIAA is the Recording Industry of America, and they represent the major labels that put up CDs, music, stuff like that. They're basically the lobbying group that has the back of the industry. But the place that this gets complicated is that in the lawsuit, they're not - the thing that they're actually suing him for is not copying the music that he owns but copying the music on his computer so that - and into a file, into the hard drive, the file-sharing program on his hard drive - so.

STEWART: Oh, so he becomes inadvertently a distributor of his music illegally.

GANZA: A distributor, exactly. It's not that - but - the brief, which is very long and I've tried to go through as much of it as I can but it's a little bit too long to go through in the time before our show this morning, calls this - calls the copies of the legally purchased CDs, unauthorized copies, which is what's getting everybody all round up like this.

STEWART: Yeah. I'm worried like that, you know?

GANZA: If people is - people are basically…

STEWART: Just putting a CD on my computer means I'm a criminal.

GANZA: Basically, what they're suggesting is that, you know, going forward from here, they may start to bring lawsuits against people for making these unauthorized copies. But it's unlikely at this point that that's the real issue.

STEWART: The real deal. Okay, Jacob, thank you so much. Hey, could you put some time on the clock? Yeah, I need you to multitask.

GANZA: Yes, sure. (Unintelligible).

TRISHA McKINNEY: Yeah, that's Jacob. How many hands do you have?

CONNOWAY: Come on.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: All right. Up next, Pauline, making her Most debut.

PAULINE: Hello, everyone. Yeah, I have one of the most popular on Yahoo News. It's called world outsources pregnancies to India. That's right, there are, like, 50 women in Anand, India, who are pregnant with babies of parents who live in the U.S., the U.K. and Taiwan. And I guess it's called commercial surrogacy.

STEWART: Wow.

PAULINE: And so some of these 50 women actually live in a, like, 24-hour clinic and are taken care of by this doctor. And guess how much they are paid to be a surrogate.

STEWART: Oh, is this going to upset me how little it is?

PAULINE: I'm just curious, like, how many people think that it's worth.

STEWART: A thousand dollars.

PAULINE: No, more actually.

STEWART: Five thousand dollars.

PAULINE: Ten thousand. Somewhere in between 4,500. There's one woman who's being paid 4,500 to be pregnant…

McKINNEY: I can do that.

PAULINE: …for nine months.

STEWART: Well, I'm feeling better about it. I really thought it was going to be like here's 50 bucks and a snickers. I'm really happy to hear at least women are being paid for their nine months of work.

PAULINE: Right.

McKINNEY: Well, labor.

STEWART: (Unintelligible)

McKINNEY: Labor.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PAULINE: I mean, the doctor says it's a win-win situation because this is - it would take 15 years for one woman to make that amount of money at India.

STEWART: Wow.

PAULINE: And so she's going to buy a house with $4,500. Another woman is getting more than $6,000. So, really, it's not a big deal. And this woman who's tying to get pregnant in L.A. is spending more than $20,000 trying to get pregnant. So it's like, okay, it has been 20,000 in L.A.

STEWART: It brings a very interesting - it brings us very interesting ethical issues.

PAULINE: It does.

STEWART: Pauline, good story. Trisha McKinney, our editor.

McKINNEY: First on, I'm going to give everybody a visual because I'm really not a very - I'm not a radio professional. I have no idea how to move this microphone so I'm hunched over.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McKINNEY: I can hardly see.

STEWART: (Unintelligible) no, Myrtle the Turtle giving the news.

McKINNEY: No, from my bunker in the studio. I'm afraid to test this thing.

All right, so I have the most viewed story at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. And it's basically kind of scary for people who cross the border into Canada all the time. You know, it used to be pretty easy. You just sort of waved hi, showed them your driver's license and got on in.

Well, apparently now, they're starting to ask more questions about your background. And if you have something like a DWI in your past, you may not be allowed into Canada.

STEWART: Wow.

McKINNEY: Yeah, this tells a story of a computer guy who, you know, had two drunken driving offenses back in the '70s and when he tried to cross into Canada, he answered a questionnaire saying, you know, mentioning these arrests and they wouldn't let him in. So apparently, you know…

STEWART: You better turn, eh?

McKINNEY: He had to turn around.

STEWART: Turnaround about.

McKINNEY: That's right.

STEWART: A boot(ph).

McKINNEY: Yeah, a boot. So apparently, you know, they're sharing more criminal databases and they're asking tougher questions. So if you have something in your past, you could have some troubles. There are ways to clean up your records and there are sometimes you can pay a little money to get in just temporarily. So there are ways around it.

PAULINE: You should have asked the Mounties why they're cracking down.

McKINNEY: You're right.

STEWART: Caitlin(ph).

CAITLIN: Yes, the story I have is the most e-mailed from the Washington Post. It's about modern kids getting into the world of philanthropy. Quite a change from my last story about Paris Hilton and not getting her inheritance.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CAITLIN: It starts off with the story of Maddie Freed of Potomac who asked her friends to bring money for her birthday party instead of gifts. And she raised $800 for the Children's Hospital, which is so cute. Also, Club Penguin, which if anyone out there has kids, you know it's a popular online game club for the elementary school kids.

More than 2.5 million kids gave their virtual earnings to charities in a contest this month. Now, the way the site works is that you have a virtual job and you earn coins, and you can furnish your penguin's igloo. So all of these kids who've worked so hard to earn these coins decided instead to buy things for the igloo to donate them. They held a 10-day Coins for Change campaign ending on Christmas Eve, and they raised up to - they raised a ton of coins and in turn, the company donated $100 million dollars in real life money to real charities.

STEWART: I like hearing about the little ones and knee biters doing the right thing. If you like any of those stories and you want to read more about them, you can find them in our Web site, npr.org/bryantpark.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: There we go. Thanks you guys for helping me with The Most.

McKINNEY: Yep.

STEWART: I'll get it eventually.

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