Friday, December 9, 2016

Vegas Golden Knights' trademark request denied by U.S. patent office; Associated Press via ESPN, 12/8/16

Associated Press via ESPN; Vegas Golden Knights' trademark request denied by U.S. patent office:
"The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has denied the Vegas Golden Knights' trademark application a little more than two weeks after the new NHL franchise unveiled its name and logo.
The office on Wednesday cited potential confusion with the team name for the College of Saint Rose in New York, which is also the Golden Knights. The Las Vegas franchise is set to take the ice next season...
The patent office said the similarities were too many to overlook.
"In this case, the marks are identical in part, sharing the same dominant wording and overall commercial impression," the office said in denying the application. "The nature of the applicant's and registrant's services is similar; both offer sports entertainment of a kind available in the same venues, broadcast on television, and are generally available to the same class of consumers. Accordingly, the examining attorney concludes that there is a likelihood of confusion between the applicant's and registrant's marks.""

Michael Jordan wins a tough copyright case in China; Associated Press via CBS News, 12/8/16

Associated Press via CBS News; Michael Jordan wins a tough copyright case in China:
[Kip Currier: This article is another example of confusion of trademark with copyright. It's clearly a trademark case from the facts: the dispute hinges on ownership rights to Michael Jordan's name, which is a trademark issue governed by trademark laws. But notice the headline "...tough copyright case..." and back-and-forth mentions of trademark and copyright.]
"Basketball legend Michael Jordan now owns his Chinese name, after China’s highest court sided with him Thursday following a years-long legal battle over a trademark dispute.
The former NBA star has fought a Chinese sportswear maker since 2012 over the name “Qiaodan,” pronounced “CHEEOW-dan,” the transliteration of “Jordan” in Mandarin.
Qiaodan Sports, a company based in southern China, had registered the trademark under which it was selling its own shoes and sportswear...
The case reflects the difficulties foreign individuals and companies face in protecting their copyrights in China, where domestic firms have long taken a cavalier attitude toward intellectual property."

Congressional panel calls for independent Copyright Office; Washington Post, 12/9/16

Peggy McGlone, Washington Post; Congressional panel calls for independent Copyright Office:
"Federal lawmakers are calling for an independent Copyright Office that would be led by a Register nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday released the first in what is expected to be a series of reforms. They suggest keeping a newly independent office in the Legislative branch, and funding technology upgrades including a searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership.
Coming on the heels of the resignation of Copyright Register Maria Pallante, and previous suggestions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the proposals set up a show-down between Congress and new librarian Carla D. Hayden over the future of the agency."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

TV for the fake news generation: why Westworld is the defining show of 2016; Guardian, 12/7/16

Paul MacInnes, Guardian; TV for the fake news generation: why Westworld is the defining show of 2016:
"Westworld is a hit. Viewing figures released this week confirmed that the first season of HBO’s sci-fi western drama received a bigger audience than any other debut in the channel’s history...
The producers deliberately reached out to an audience that enjoys obsessing. They knew some fans would watch the show again and again on their laptops. They knew they would freeze-frame the screen and zoom in on details that would pass the casual viewer by. From there the fans would try to make connections, to unravel the mysteries, to find deeper meaning. Things were left uncertain enough that people could believe what they wanted. Whether a theory was “true” was less important than the fact that someone believed in it. Sound familiar?
I’m not calling HBO a purveyor of fake news, and neither am I suggesting that Westworld has been captured by the alt-right like Pepe the Frog. But the drama has certainly tapped into an audience of young people who love video games and cracking codes, and understands both technology and identity politics."

Still lovin’ it: Jim Delligatti’s Big Mac changed American culture; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/7/16

Editorial Board, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Still lovin’ it: Jim Delligatti’s Big Mac changed American culture:
"Not content with McDonald’s menu, he invented the Big Mac even though the chain initially rebuffed his efforts and he had to hunt down a sesame-seed bun with enough brawn to contain the two all-beef patties, special sauce and extras he packed into the 550-calorie sandwich. It first sold in 1967 in his Uniontown restaurant, one of nearly 50 he came to own. The Big Mac was a smash hit, establishing Mr. Delligatti as one of the most important ingredients in McDonald’s success.
Surprisingly, Mr. Delligatti told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1997 that he received no royalties from the sandwich that helped put the gold in McDonald’s arches. He received no big pay raise, either. “All I got was a plaque,” said Mr. Delligatti, who also developed the McDonald’s breakfast.
The Big Mac today is criticized for contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic and couch-potato culture. Yet the Big Mac was a product of its time, and Mr. Delligatti did what inventors and entrepreneurs naturally do. He filled a niche, brilliantly."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How the CRISPR Patent Dispute Became So Heated; The Atlantic, 12/6/16

Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic; How the CRISPR Patent Dispute Became So Heated:
"This week, the biggest science-patent dispute in decades is getting a hearing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters. The invention in dispute is the gene-editing technique CRISPR, and at stake are millions, maybe even billions, of dollars for the winning side. CRISPR is the hugely hyped technology that could launch life-saving therapies, novel genetically modified crops, new forms of mosquito control, and more. It could—without much exaggeration—change the world.
Any company that wants to use CRISPR will have to license it from the patent dispute’s winner. Both parties embroiled in this fight are universities: MIT and the University of California, Berkeley, whose lawyers represent rival groups of scientists with claims to have first invented CRISPR. The Berkeley group published their work and filed for a patent first, by a few months—but the patent office ended up awarding a patent to the MIT group, due to some complicated procedural rules. The legal and scientific details of the dispute get pretty arcane pretty fast, but you can read some excellent reporting here, here, and here."

Battle of the brands: six epic fights over trademark names; Guardian, 12/2/16

Anne Cassidy, Guardian; Battle of the brands: six epic fights over trademark names:
"Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is taking on Iceland, the purveyor of frozen chicken tikka lasagne, in a major trademark battle. The Icelandic government launched legal action against the British supermarket last week, arguing that the grocery chain, which owns the Europe-wide trademark registration for the word Iceland is preventing Icelandic companies from promoting themselves abroad.
The contest is one of many brand name legal battles offering more entertaining plot points than your average box set. We look back at six of the best..."

Is Coopting Graffiti Artist's Street Cred A Fair Use?; Mondaq, 12/5/16

Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Mondaq; Is Coopting Graffiti Artist's Street Cred A Fair Use? :
"The estate of Dashiell "Dash" Snow, better known as graffiti artist "Secret Snow"— has sued McDonald's over allegedly infringing use of Snow's street art in McDonald's dining rooms. The lawsuit in the Central District of California is the latest in a series of cases in which street artists are asserting their rights in copyright without any concession about whether the creation has other legal issues (i.e., trespassing or vandalism). Based on the survival of other recent similar cases, this latest case could be a headache for the giant restaurant chain, though it may have interesting fair use arguments based on the contrasting nature of the street vs. corporate uses...
The Dash Complaint also picks up on the theory that survived dismissal in the Tierney v. Moschino case involving street artist "Rime"—namely, that identifiers in the images themselves violate the "copyright management information" (CMI) provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1202. This is somewhat different than the Tierney case, however, because in that matter the plaintiff alleged that deleting his signature interfered with CMI, while here Dash's estate argues that the presence of his signature creates an unwarranted association between him and McDonald's.
The case is a reminder of how quickly what was once examined has now become routine—the idea that street art, whether or not painted on property with permission—can be protected under copyright."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Who Owns Key Gene Technology? Question Heads to Court; Wall Street Journal, 12/5/16

Joe Palazzolo and Amy Dockser Marcus, Wall Street Journal; Who Owns Key Gene Technology? Question Heads to Court:
"A dispute between two research institutions over which invented Crispr-Cas9, a technology scientists hope will reduce gene-editing to something akin to cutting and pasting text on a computer, enters a crucial phase Tuesday."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Australian students recreate Martin Shkreli price-hike drug in school lab; Guardian, 11/30/16

Melissa Davey, Guardian; Australian students recreate Martin Shkreli price-hike drug in school lab:
"He said the open nature of the project demystified science and revealed the number of roadblocks the students had faced in coming up with the final product, which involved three complicated chemical steps.
“With science results you can be presented with a polished finished product that hides the false steps along the way,” he said. “The students’ real-time diary highlights their whole process, and is a very transparent way of doing things.”...
He said unfortunately the students would not be able to sell their drug to the US market. While the drug can be bought in Australia for about A$13 for a packet of 50, there are a number of complicated legal roadblocks in the way of producing and selling it in the US.
“Turing has the exclusive rights to sell it, even though the drug is no longer under patent,” Todd said. “The ridiculousness of this legal loophole means if we wanted to launch it as drug in the US we’d have to go through a whole new clinical trial because we would have to compare the Sydney Grammar stuff with the officially sanctioned stuff, and Turing would have to give us the drug to allow those comparisons to be made."

Michael James Delligatti, Creator of the Big Mac, Dies at 98; New York Times, 11/30/16

Kevin Rawlinson, New York Times; Michael James Delligatti, Creator of the Big Mac, Dies at 98:
"Most memorable was the ad campaign, begun in 1974, in which actual customers tried to recite the ingredients in a Big Mac, with comic results, before a chorus jumped in and smoothly sang the now-famous jingle.
“It wasn’t like discovering the light bulb,” Mr. Delligatti told John F. Love, the author of “McDonald’s: Behind the Arches” (1986). “The bulb was already there. All I did was screw it in the socket.”...
...[T]he sales remain huge, leading many to believe that Mr. Delligatti, as its inventor, must have reaped a windfall worth billions.
Not so. “All I got was a plaque,” he told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2007."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Summer Project Turns Into Leukemia Testing Breakthrough; New York Times, 11/28/16

Donald G. McNeil Jr., New York Times; Summer Project Turns Into Leukemia Testing Breakthrough:
'Gleevec, which made almost $5 billion for Novartis last year, has been at the center of a long battle between pharmaceutical companies and activists fighting price increases. The drug cost about $26,000 per year in 2001, and Novartis repeatedly raised the price even as competitors emerged; early this year, it was more than $120,000.
Those who support broader access to medicines argue that poor countries should reject patents and make generic versions of leukemia drugs. In 2013, India’s highest court struck down Novartis’s patent application for Gleevec, opening the way for generics. They now cost about $400 a year in India and about $9,000 in Canada."

Jury Finds 'Jersey Boys' Creators Liable for Copyright Infringment; Hollywood Reporter, 11/29/16

Ashley Cullins, Hollywood Reporter; Jury Finds 'Jersey Boys' Creators Liable for Copyright Infringment:
"The jury on Monday found that DeVito did not grant an implied license for the creators of the stage play to use his book as source material — and attributed 10 percent of Jersey Boys' success to infringement of the book."

Effective online copyright law a thorny issue; China Daily, 11/30/16

Zhang Huibin, China Daily; Effective online copyright law a thorny issue:
"Data from Tencent indicate the value of internet works, including IPR deals, was 420 billion yuan ($60.72 billion) in 2015-and it is expected to cross 560 billion yuan this year.
Along with many benefits, the internet has also created difficulties for copyright protection. The reuse of traditional works on the internet in new forms, such as through digitalized disposal, show the efforts to protect copyright have not been fully successful. China started amending its copyright law for the third time in July 2011. A series of copyright dilemmas, such as combating cyber literature piracy, illegal online video aggregation, non-payment for music and live broadcasts of sports events, pose a major problem for the healthy development of the internet sector...
How to effectively protect copyrights as well as ensure the public continues to share authorized content are pressing issues for country's copyright law. Lenient laws will compromise the rights of copyright owners, but very strict measures for copyright protection could restrict the sharing of even many authorized works by the public. Legislative, judicial and law enforcement departments should, therefore, weigh the pros and cons and try to strike the right balance in copyright legislation and protection."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The TPP wasn't killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked; Guardian, 11/28/16

Evan Greer, Tom Morello, and Evangeline Lilly, Guardian; The TPP wasn't killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked:
"As more and more people learned about what the TPP really meant for them and their families, it became politically toxic, to the point that no major party candidate for president could openly support it.
This was a sign that the TPP was on its deathbed, but with the threat of a last-minute push during the “lame duck” session after the election, we needed to be sure. So we targeted undecided lawmakers with protests and flew inflatable blimps outside their offices. We harnessed the power of music to draw huge crowds across the country to “Rock Against the TPP” concerts and teach-ins, taking our opposition to the TPP into the cultural mainstream. We tuned out the chorus of voices that told us that corporate power would always prevail in the end. And finally, we claimed our victory.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial that Americans understand how the TPP was really defeated. An organized and educated public can take on concentrated wealth and power and win. With four years of new battles ahead of us, this is a story we must commit to memory, and a lesson we must take to heart."

On Eve Of WIPO Traditional Knowledge Negotiations, Nations Swap Experiences; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/28/16

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; On Eve Of WIPO Traditional Knowledge Negotiations, Nations Swap Experiences:
"A seminar was organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization to provide a discussion platform on the eve of this week’s meeting on the protection of traditional knowledge, and as a way for countries to share systems of protection. Panellists presented views on possible graduated protection for different sorts of traditional knowledge.
The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is meeting from 28 November to 2 December.
This week, delegates are expected to discuss a list [pdf] of outstanding and pending issues. This includes the use and meanings of certain terms and concepts, such as terms describing the diffusion of traditional knowledge (TK). Criteria for eligibility of the protection, and whether beneficiaries should include nations and states, are also on the list."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Patents – A Novel and Inventive Approach to Brexit?; National Law Review, 11/28/16

Carl a. Rohsler and Florian Traub, National Law Review; Patents – A Novel and Inventive Approach to Brexit? :
"The announcement on Monday afternoon by the UK Government that it intended to proceed with the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) took almost all commentators by complete surprise. It was commonly believed that Brexit would either completely destroy, or at least significantly delay, the introduction of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. After all, the UK was going to leave the EU and it seemed nonsensical that it would continue to play an active role in supporting treaties that would have a profound effect on the EU just at the time that it was planning to leave the party."

YouTube protects copyright with artificial intelligence; The Australian, 11/29/16

Chris Griffith, The Australian; YouTube protects copyright with artificial intelligence:
"YouTube is using artificial intelligence to thwart a game of cat and mouse by users circumventing copyright.
The Google-owned service already has algorithms for detecting copyright movie, video and music content that users post on YouTube.
Over the years, some users have developed tricks for getting around detection.
Some have posted video with colours reversed, or images of each frame reversed vertically or horizontally. Other techniques include altering colours, changing the aspect ratio, cropping frames and using a halo effect. The idea is to make video unrecognisable as copyright content...
YouTube however is fighting back. It has been delving into the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning to dissemble video and music, and outfox these cunning operators.
“That’s what we’re using machine learning for, to take out these things, and to work out they are the same image,” said Harris Cohen, senior product manager of Content ID at YouTube."

Turning Promises Of Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired Into Reality; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/21/16

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; Turning Promises Of Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired Into Reality:
"With the recent entry into force of the Marrakesh Treaty providing copyright exceptions for persons with visual impairments, a panel convened alongside last week’s World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee meeting explored ways to transform the treaty’s promises into reality.
The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) met from 14-18 November. The 15 November side event was organised by the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which is hosted by WIPO.
Recently appointed WIPO Deputy Director General for the Copyright and Creative Industries Sector Sylvie Forbin said at the event that 25 countries have now ratified the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, which entered into force on 30 September..."
Chris Friend, representing the World Blind Union, in the audience, presented the World Blind Union Guide to the Marrakesh Treaty: Facilitating Access to Books for Print Disabled Individuals, to be published by Oxford University Press in February.
The guide is intended to provide an analysis of the treaty to multiple audiences including parliamentarians and policymakers who adopt domestic legislation and regulations to give effect to the treaty, judges and administrators who interpret and apply those laws, and to disability rights organisations and other civil society groups who advocate for the treaty’s implementation and effective enforcement, according to the guide executive summary."

Librarians, Archivists, Call On WIPO Members To Create Safe Harbour Against Copyright Liability; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/18/16

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; Librarians, Archivists, Call On WIPO Members To Create Safe Harbour Against Copyright Liability:
"The age of digitisation has opened new doors to distribution of information including for libraries and archives. However, librarians and archivists are often confronted with risk of liability for copyright infringement, nationally and in cross-border activities. This week, they asked the World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee to provide them not only with some exceptions to copyright, but with protection against liability.
The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is taking place from 14-18 November. On the SCCR agenda is copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. On 17 November, librarians and archivists took the floor to explain why an international standard protecting them against liability is indispensable."

Local attorney presents class on copyright law for artists and authors; Missoulian, 11/27/16

Ira Sather-Olson, Missoulian; Local attorney presents class on copyright law for artists and authors:
"Artists and authors who want to learn more about copyright are invited to join Sarah J. Rhoades, an intellectual property attorney with Missoula’s Sherwood Law Offices, for a presentation about copyright and copyright registration that occurs at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the Large Meeting Room. After her presentation, Rhoades will be available to help artists and authors complete a copyright application form, and to answer questions. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops to fill out copyright applications during this class."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

It’s Iceland vs Iceland as trademark row erupts between country and frozen supermarket chain; The Conversation, 11/25/16

The Conversation; It’s Iceland vs Iceland as trademark row erupts between country and frozen supermarket chain:
"One significant factor that could count against the Icelandic government’s legal challenge is that the application for the Iceland trademark – granted in 2014 – was actually filed by the supermarket chain back in 2002. The reason it took 12 years before the mark was granted was that the application passed through a lengthy and rigorous “opposition” process, which involved the weighing up of the various pros and cons of allowing the mark from various perspectives, most notably the possibility of consumer confusion arising between the “Iceland” mark and any prior existing marks.
Given that Iceland (the country) does not itself seem to own any conflicting trademarks in the name Iceland, it’s hard to see how the Icelandic government can raise any grounds that have not already been dealt with during the application and opposition period from 2002 to 2014.
Nonetheless, the dispute brings up a pertinent question: should it ever be possible to register the name of a country, regardless of what the business is involved in and whether or not there is any likelihood of confusion?"

Christmas Tree Candles and Candle Holders - Web’s Largest Gallery of Historic Patents Shows How We Used To Decorate Our Trees; Huffington Post, 11/25/16

Tom Conrad, Huffington Post; Christmas Tree Candles and Candle Holders - Web’s Largest Gallery of Historic Patents Shows How We Used To Decorate Our Trees:
'Decorating with Christmas tree candles was in its commercial prime for about 50 years — from roughly 1870, gradually tapering off through the 1920s and 30s, although the U.S. Patent Office was still awarding patents for Christmas tree candle holders as late as 1945.
Studying patent drawings and reading the filings from the U.S. Patent Office is a good way to trace the design developments and get a feel for how the Christmas tree candle holders evolved through the years before they were overtaken by electric Christmas tree lights. The following selection is excerpted from our online Gallery of Christmas Tree Candle Holder Patents, which is the largest collection available on the web. Check out the gallery and see varieties of Christmas tree candle holders, clips and pendulums that are available to buy online."

FAQ: What you need to know, but were afraid to ask, about the EU Open Science Cloud; Science Business, 11/24/16

Science Business Staff, Science Business; FAQ: What you need to know, but were afraid to ask, about the EU Open Science Cloud:
"Will the data in the EU science cloud be available for free?
Some of it, yes; some of it, no. The EU says that not all data ‘will necessarily be free’, due to the legitimate rights of IP holders, so there will be an opportunity for some organisations to sell access to some of their data through the cloud. Private publishers, such as Elsevier and Springer, are also keen to be able to maintain charges for access to some of their services – but have also been unexpectedly enthusiastic about exploring the possible new business models that a very large, very active cloud could permit. On the other hand, some universities and research councils – among the most active proponents of free open access for research reports and text and data mining – are pushing to make the new cloud a tariff-free zone. It’s difficult to predict yet how this issue will be resolved...
What about privacy or ethical concerns?
Differing privacy and ethical policies and regulations in Europe, the US, and elsewhere could become sticking points which would prevent the cloud becoming fully global. There are legal restraints on where research data can be stored – essentially it has to be located in countries, and under the control of organisations, that are subject to EU data protection legislation, and that should make US-based commercial providers a little wary. Rules will need to be established to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the funding agencies, the data custodians, the cloud service providers and the researchers who use cloud-based data. The Commission has said these legal issues will be resolved as part of its broader rule-making efforts under its Digital Single Market – for privacy, copyright, and security of data. But it may not be so simple. The last time science and data rules collided was in 2014/15, when the EU was rewriting its data-privacy regulation; the original, EU-wide proposal would have had an unintended impact on medical research – leading medical universities across the EU to scream loudly that the EU was about to kill drug research. A muddled compromise resulted. Expect similar surprises in cloud regulation."

Friday, November 25, 2016

United States: Lee v. Tam: Disparaging Trademarks At The Supreme Court; Mondaq, 11/24/16

Mark Hannemann, Thomas R. Makin, Matthew G. Berkowitz, Patrick Colsher, Joseph Purcell and Eric Lucas, Mondaq; United States: Lee v. Tam: Disparaging Trademarks At The Supreme Court:
"On April 20, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the "PTO") petitioned for a writ of certiorari on the following question:
Whether the disparagement provision in 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), which provides that no trademark shall be refused registration on account of its nature unless, inter alia, it "[c]onsists of... matter which may disparage... persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute," is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment."

China breaks patent application record; BBC News, 11/24/16

Leo Kelion, BBC News; China breaks patent application record:
"One patent expert - who asked not to be named - suggested the disparity between Chinese inventors' local and international filings reflected the fact that not all the claims would stand up to scrutiny elsewhere.
"The detail of what they are applying for means they would be unlikely to have the necessary degree of novelty to be granted a patent worldwide," he said.
But Wipo's chief economist said things were not so clear cut.
"There is clearly a discussion out there as to what is the quality of Chinese patents," said Carsten Fink.
"But questions have also been asked about US and other [countries'] patents.
"And one should keep in mind that China is a huge economy.
"If you look at its patent filings per head of population, there are still fewer patents being filed there than in the United States.""

New US Copyright Rule Sets Trap For Online Firms; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/25/16

Steven Seidenberg, Intellectual Property Watch; New US Copyright Rule Sets Trap For Online Firms:
"The US Copyright Office is supposed to balance the interests of copyright owners with the interests of everyone else. However, the Office’s latest regulation, which takes effect 1 December, may be anything but fair and balanced. It could, according to critics, strip Facebook, YouTube, and other online companies of a vital statutory safe harbor, thus making these companies liable when their users post infringing material online. Online companies could face billions in infringement damages, driving them out of business."

Have I Got a Play for You; Slate, 11/25/16

Jordana Williams, Slate; Have I Got a Play for You:
"Flipping now through our patchwork golem of a script, aghast, I estimate that 80 percent of what we performed actually appears in the original Company. We left lengthy passages essentially unaltered, but fully rewrote others. Even when the lines and lyrics were unchanged, we took subtler liberties, like converting “Being Alive,” Bobby’s solo meditation on loneliness and longing, into a full company number featuring three-part harmony...
So, where were the grown-ups when all of this was happening? Why didn’t they stop us, or at least advise us that our violations of copyright ranged from artistically disastrous to legally actionable? Now that I have kids of my own, I can guess why they stepped back and let us go hog wild. They knew we’d have the rest of our lives to question and edit ourselves (and acquire permission before monkeying with someone else’s art). The heedlessness we displayed would be repellent in an adult, but is arguably kind of awesome in a bunch of kids.
My son is working on his first musical, the soon-to-be smash hit Army Chickens. He’s a very practical boy, so early on, he came to my husband and me with a bunch of questions about budgets and ticket prices and actor pay and set construction needs. “No!” I shouted, probably too vehemently. “Just write the thing however you like.” And why not? He’ll never know what his wildest dreams are if he doesn’t start out as if nothing is impossible."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

‘Fraud is not a trade secret’: How a 27-year-old blew the whistle on Theranos; MarketWatch, 11/17/16

Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch; ‘Fraud is not a trade secret’: How a 27-year-old blew the whistle on Theranos’ :
[Kip Currier: Ethics instructors of all stripes were served up a whopping good case study with the story of Tyler Schultz (grandson of former Secretary of State George Schultz) exposing the dazzlingly fraudulent actions of health tech powerhouse, Theranos, Inc. and its now-disgraced CEO Elizabeth Holmes. This is one that should and will be studied in MBA programs and ethics courses for years.]
"‘Fraud is not a trade secret. I refuse to allow bullying, intimidation and threat of legal action to take away my First Amendment right to speak out against wrongdoing.’"

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

‘We Shall Overcome’ Copyright Case Moves Closer to Trial; New York Times, 11/21/16

Ben Sisario, New York Times; ‘We Shall Overcome’ Copyright Case Moves Closer to Trial:
"Along with the recent suits involving “Happy Birthday to You” and Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” the case has focused attention on one of the central questions in copyright: finding a balance between protecting intellectual property on behalf of private owners, and giving the public access to famous songs whose origins may be murky.
For “We Shall Overcome” and “This Land,” the issue is also freighted with politics at a time when the songs are being embraced by protesters and activists on multiple sides of major issues.
The suit over “We Shall Overcome” was filed in April on behalf of a nonprofit group called the We Shall Overcome Foundation, and later joined by the producers of the 2013 film “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” It argues that the song — which was adapted from a 19th-century black spiritual, although its origins may date back even further — should be declared part of the public domain."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Consumers caught out as UK firms furnished with crippling copyright laws; Guardian, 11/21/16

Anna Tims, Guardian; Consumers caught out as UK firms furnished with crippling copyright laws:
"Voga, it transpires, reinvented itself as an Irish company in May to escape new UK copyright laws that would have rendered much of its merchandise illegal. There’s no mention of the relocation on its website, which also does not give an address, and the FAQs on delivery and extra charges are silent on the issue. Only deep down in the terms and conditions is it mentioned that customers must arrange their own delivery from Ireland.
McGrath is an early casualty of a change in British legislation which has made it a criminal offence to sell replicas of design icons without a pricey licence. The amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which came in to force in July, retrospectively extends the design rights to unregistered classic works created after 1957 from 25 years after their launch to 70 years after the designer’s death. This sounds the death knell for affordable replicas of 20th-century bestsellers such as the Arco floor lamp and Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair and threatens to put scores of companies that supply them out of business.
A further proposed rule change will slap copyright on iconic pre-1957 designs which never qualified for copyright protection in the first place, making it a criminal offence to incorporate any element of them into a new work. This means that anyone without a licence from the copyright holder who is selling , for example, the Finn Juhl-inspired chair bought by McGrath could face a £50,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. Householders who want to get the look will now have to fork out thousands rather than hundreds for a piece of furniture, and magazines will be penalised if they show photos of items protected by the copyright without buying a licence."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tim Berners-Lee warns of danger of chaos in unprotected public data; Guardian, 11/1/16

Alice Ross, Guardian; Tim Berners-Lee warns of danger of chaos in unprotected public data:
"Asked about whether open data could have security vulnerabilities, Berners-Lee said criminals could manipulate open data for profit, for example by placing bets on the bank rate or consumer price index and then hacking into the sites where the data is published and switching the figures.
“If you falsify government data then there are all kinds of ways that you could get financial gain, so yes,” he said, “it’s important that even though people think about open data as not a big security problem, it is from the point of view of being accurate.”...
Berners-Lee said during a presentation that a key challenge, particularly in the era of Brexit and Donald Trump, was making reliable data available to people who felt disenfranchised: “How can we help everyone in the country feel that they have access to good quality information … whether they get it on the web or not – maybe they get it through TV and radio? How can we restore a culture and civilisation based on knowledge … and a democratic system based on knowledge, based on facts and truth?”"

Berners-Lee raises spectre of weaponized open data; Naked Security, 11/4/16

Bill Camarda, Naked Security; Berners-Lee raises spectre of weaponized open data:
"Whether data is coming from governments or corporations – and whether it’s formally “open” or simply “widely available” like AP’s Twitter feed – it’s increasingly vulnerable to deliberate falsification.
But, for governments and others who believe in the open data movement, it’s no longer enough to protect privacy when they release data, or even to ensure its quality and consistency – already significant challenges.
From now on, they’ll need to protect it against deliberate sabotage, too."

Pittsburgh's smart city efforts include autonomous driving, open data, and renewable energy; TechRepublic, 11/18/16

Teena Maddox, TechRepublic; Pittsburgh's smart city efforts include autonomous driving, open data, and renewable energy:
"Pittsburgh is the home for CMU and it has helped with the push to add new technology. Pittsburgh is partnering with the university to serve as an urban lab for CMU's research and development. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CMU and the city serves as a formal partnership to allow CMU to try new tech around Pittsburgh without undergoing a lengthy approval process, similar to how the city is able to send maintenance crews out to do small projects without first seeking funding, Peduto explained...
The city has formed partnerships with county and universities to create an open data platform. Pittsburgh is providing the public with real-time data about crime, emergency calls, building permits, or anything else being measured."

Disney's flying coaster patent resurfaces; Orlando Business Journal, 11/17/16

Richard Bilbao, Orlando Business Journal; Disney's flying coaster patent resurfaces:
"The Walt Disney Co. is quick to patent many of the ideas its Imagineers create, as each has the potential to end up being the next bleeding-edge ride...
Theme park fans said Disney's patent is alluding to a new attraction in the works for the Orlando parks. Some believe it could be a new ride for Epcot that may adapt the company's popular intellectual property, like Guardians of the Galaxy."