Friday, November 16, 2018

If Mozart and Beethoven Were Alive Today, Would they Be Guilty of Copyright Infringement?; Above The Law, November 15, 2018

Krista L. Cox, Above The Law; If Mozart and Beethoven Were Alive Today, Would they Be Guilty of Copyright Infringement?

"A rise in copyright infringement cases in music, particularly over short snippets of an overall song or the general “feel” of the piece, could restrict the creation of new music. It’s a shame given the long history of “borrowing” in the music industry. Indeed, classical composers frequently copied others, creating variations of older works and creating new interpretations. For example, Mozart borrowed from Haydn; Beethoven borrowed from Mozart; Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms, in turn, all borrowed from Beethoven; Mahler borrowed from Brahms; and the list goes on and on. While some may argue that we don’t need six nearly identical country music songs (though I do personally love country!), imagine instead if the chilling effect applied to some of the greatest classical composers in history and the loss of their great music."

The darker side of Stan Lee’s legacy; Vox, November 14, 2018

Alex Abad-Santos, Vox; The darker side of Stan Lee’s legacy

"As fans, we should celebrate Lee’s work and the wondrous comic book worlds he helped create. At the same time, it doesn’t take away from Lee’s legacy to also acknowledge the comic book writers, artists, editors, colorists, and everyone who worked with him to produce those characters and universes — the people who don’t, and perhaps never will, enjoy the same level of recognition."

Stan Lee Is Dead at 95; Superhero of Marvel Comics; The New York Times, November 12, 2018

Jonathan Kandell and Andy Webster, The New York Times; Stan Lee Is Dead at 95; Superhero of Marvel Comics

"Mr. Lee was often faulted for not adequately acknowledging the contributions of his illustrators, especially Mr. Kirby. Spider-Man became Marvel’s best-known property, but Mr. Ditko, its co-creator, quit Marvel in bitterness in 1966. Mr. Kirby, who visually designed countless characters, left in 1969. Though he reunited with Mr. Lee for a Silver Surfer graphic novel in 1978, their heyday had ended.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Arguments over European open-access plan heat up; Nature, November 12, 2018

Richard Van Noorden, Nature; Arguments over European open-access plan heat up

"Debate is intensifying over Plan S, an initiative backed by 15 research funders to mandate that, by 2020, their research papers are open access as soon as they are published.

The Europe-led statement was launched in September, but details of its implementation haven’t yet been released. And while many open-access supporters have welcomed Plan S, others are now objecting to some of its specifics.

On 5 November, more than 600 researchers, including two Nobel laureates, published an open letter calling the plan “too risky for science”, “unfair”, and “a serious violation of academic freedom” for the scientists affected; more than 950 have now signed."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Stan Lee’s Radical Fight Against Racists: ‘The Only Way to Destroy Them Is to Expose Them’; The Daily Beast, November 13, 2018

Stereo Williams, The Daily Beast; Stan Lee’s Radical Fight Against Racists: ‘The Only Way to Destroy Them Is to Expose Them’

[Kip Currier: Inspiring and powerful example of the ways every person can make a choice to stand against hatred of the "other" and bigotry, in all its forms.]

"Regardless of ongoing controversy surrounding the contributions of Kirby and others, Lee should be remembered for being an agent of change in his medium. A 1968 post from Lee’s mail column has been making the rounds in the wake of his death. In it, Lee makes plain his stance on racism.

“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater—one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen—people he’s never known—with equal intensity—with equal venom.

“Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God—a God who calls us ALL—His children.”

Stan Lee’s creative voice helped reshape the role of comics in American society and helped affect how American society saw comics. In doing so, Lee helped challenge his readers and his peers. His characters live now as part of the fabric of our culture—in blockbuster movies, acclaimed TV shows, video games and a host of other media. Generations of comic-book lovers saw themselves in those characters, and that was what he’d wanted all along. As some quarters of America tell themselves that politics have no place in pop art, the proof in Stan Lee’s history reminds us that the message has always been a part of the medium. Those who believe otherwise maybe have to consider that they aren’t the “good guy” in the story. After all—you can’t be a hero if you don’t stand for anything."

How Stan Lee Helped Bring Humanity to Superheroes; Comic Book Resources, November 13, 2018

Brian Cronin, Comic Book Resources; How Stan Lee Helped Bring Humanity to Superheroes

"Spider-Man's introduction in Amazing Fantasy #15 achieved two notable goals. One, it took the idea of Reed Richards' cosmic ray screw-up leading to the creation of the Fantastic Four to a whole other level, as now Peter Parker's selfishness almost directly led to the death of his beloved Uncle Ben, giving Spider-Man a painful reminder why he has to be a superhero and two, it took a teen hero and had him not as a sidekick or a younger version of an older hero, but as THE hero."

Marvel Icon Stan Lee Leaves a Legacy as Complex as His Superheroes; The Daily Beast, November 12, 2018

Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast; Marvel Icon Stan Lee Leaves a Legacy as Complex as His Superheroes

"Stan Lee supercharged Marvel Comics into one of the most important cultural forces on the planet. But how much credit does he really deserve?"

Monday, November 12, 2018

Marvel Comics' Stan Lee Passes Away at 95; November 12, 2018

Kip Currier; Marvel Comics' Stan Lee Dies at 95

Marvel Comics' legend Stan Lee passed away today at the age of 95 in Los Angeles. In the 1960's, Lee collaborated with the late iconic artist Jack Kirby (and later, others as well) in co-creating many of Marvel's most famous superhero characters--the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, the Black Panther, and many more. Lee and Kirby's creations now rank among the most lucrative Intellectual Property in the "616 universe".

It's interesting to note the headlines that have been appearing today--some citing Lee as "creator", while others use "co-creator":

Destination Station: "Sharing the Wonders of YOUR International Space Station (ISS)"; Kip Currier, November 12, 2018

Kip Currier; Destination Station: "Sharing the Wonders of YOUR International Space Station (ISS)":

[Kip Currier: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 (also Midterms Election Day in the U.S.), the University of Pittsburgh hosted Destination Station--a NASA traveling educational effort to raise awareness of the 15-nations International Space Station, NASA's recent-past missions and future ones, and research conducted in space that yields real-world commercial opportunities and benefits here on Earth. Some of that research leads to "patentable subject matter", as I'll highlight below.

This is the press release that Pitt sent out before the 11/6/18 event:

"Destination Station is making its way to Pittsburgh and landing on Pitt’s campus at the University Club on Tuesday, November 6!

At Destination Station, NASA astronauts, scientists and staff partner with the ISS to share the real and potential impacts of the space station on our everyday lives through general public events, researcher meetings, educational activities and legislative discussions.

The space station utilizes microgravity, extreme conditions and low-Earth orbit to provide a unique science platform, which has currently enabled over 2,400 researchers in 95 countries to conduct more than 2,000 innovative experiments. Since 2000, the station has supported investigations in the areas of biology and biotechnology, human health, technology demonstrations and Earth, space and physical science. To learn more about the space station, please visit"

NASA Astronaut Mike Fincke, Col., USAF, gave a fascinating presentation. Col. Fincke is originally from Emsworth, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. He was a member of the July 2011 final mission of The Endeavour Space Shuttle, which was also the historic final Space Shuttle mission (see here and here).

Col. Fincke told some very memorable stories, some with photos. One photo showed him as a young boy launching a rocket near the Buhl Planetarium (I remember fondly the excitement of visiting here as well, on school and family visits!), which was located on Pittsburgh's North Side. He noted how lucky it was that the photo managed to capture the trail of his rocket as it rose into the air--as this was before the many upshot options of digital photography! Little could he have imagined, he said, that some thirty years later, he would be strapped into a Soyuz Rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkhstan, blasting up to the International Space Station, which was constructed between 1998 and 2011 by 15 nations, including the U.S.

He also showed some photos of other noteworthy experiences; like visiting the set of TV show Star Trek Enterprise (the underrated 2001-2005 prequel series to The Original Star Trek of the 1960's) and meeting actor Scott Bakula (top right image in the photo assortment below), who played Enterprise Captain Jonathan Archer.
(The beginning credits to Star Trek Enterprise show real footage of significant aviation and space exploration-related historical events--like the International Space Station at the 1:02 mark--with a few futuristic spacecraft renderings at the end, depicting the Trek universe's first deep space-venturing ships.)

Col. Fincke's talk provided background about the International Space Station (ISS).
One "Fun Fact": the Station orbits Earth once every 90 minutes (at an altitude of 256 miles above the planet). 

Here are some slides about research conducted in space:

Some examples of the kinds of research done on the Station. Col. Fincke mentioned that Proctor & Gamble secured several patents from the Colloidal Stability research. And that Flame Retardant findings help firefighters and consumers.

Col. Fincke shared his excitement about humans going to Mars and beyond, with spacecraft like the Orion:

 At the entrance to the University Club, where the event was held, a spacesuit greeted visitors:

A trailer parked outside offered a brief video about the International Space Station and a look at a rock from Earth's moon:


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Satanic Temple Sues Over Goat-Headed Statue in ‘Sabrina’ Series; The New York Times, November 9, 2018

Julia Jacobs, The New York Times; Satanic Temple Sues Over Goat-Headed Statue in ‘Sabrina’ Series

"The Satanic Temple filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Warner Bros. and Netflix, alleging copyright violation of its goat-headed statue, which it says appears in the new “Sabrina” series.

The temple objected to the use of the statue’s likeness in the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” which features a much darker portrayal of the teenage half-human, half-witch immortalized decades ago in Archie comics.

In the lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, the plaintiffs ask for at least $50 million for each alleged infraction: copyright infringement, trademark violation and injury to the business’ reputation. They also request an injunction barring the companies from redistributing the series with the image of the statue. The temple argues that the television show not only copied its conception of the deity — a muscled figure with two young children staring up at it — but also that it gives the statue and the Satanic Temple itself a bad rap."

Jeff Koons Is Found Guilty of Copying. Again.; The New York Times, November 8, 2018

Alex Marshall, The New York Times;

Jeff Koons Is Found Guilty of Copying. Again.

"On Thursday, a court in Paris ordered Mr. Koons, his company Jeff Koons L.L.C., the Pompidou Center and a book publisher to jointly pay Mr. Davidovici almost $170,000 for breach of copyright and damages caused. The amount is small compared to the value of Mr. Koons’s “Fait d’hiver,” which the Prada Foundation bought for over $4 million at auction in 2007.