Monday, June 30, 2014

After Supreme Court Ruling, Aereo’s Rivals in TV Streaming Seize Opening; New York Times, 6/29/14

Emily Steel, New York Times; After Supreme Court Ruling, Aereo’s Rivals in TV Streaming Seize Opening:
"The day after the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo in a copyright case brought by the nation’s major broadcasters, Mr. Ely was trying to scoop up Aereo customers by promoting his start-up, Simple.TV, on social media. “Former Aereo customer? Join the Simple.TV Family,” the company wrote on Twitter on Thursday...
The television establishment still has much to worry about after its Supreme Court victory on Wednesday over Aereo, the digital start-up that had threatened to upend the economics of the media business.
“Television is a castle filled with money,” said Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer at Vivaki, the Publicis Groupe’s digital marketing unit. “People are trying to get into that castle and take some money.” But while the court’s decision broadens the moat, traditional broadcasters still must find ways to defend themselves against an array of companies like Mr. Ely’s that want to give viewers an alternative to the their model.
Eager for a piece of the $167 billion American television market, dozens of companies are offering options for the growing number of viewers known as cord cutters, who are canceling their traditional pay-television subscriptions."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Open access is not enough on its own – data must be free too: Academics have been encouraged to make their research freely available, but their data also needs to be open to scrutiny; Guardian, 6/26/14

Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Guardian; Open access is not enough on its own – data must be free too: Academics have been encouraged to make their research freely available, but their data also needs to be open to scrutiny:
"If your research has been funded by the taxpayer, there's a good chance you'll be encouraged to publish your results on an open access basis – free at point of publication and with reuse and redistribution rights.
This final article makes publicly available the hypotheses, interpretations and conclusions of your research. But what about the data that led you to those results and conclusions? Isn't the underlying data just as important to support the quality of the findings?
A huge amount of data is being produced by scientists every day, but too often key information is left to rot in an Excel document on someone's desktop, or handwritten in a notepad that is later thrown away.
Increasingly, policymakers and funders are introducing data-sharing and stewardship policies to solve this problem. Funders want to see this data being properly described, stored, shared and reused, to realise its full potential. Data producers are also somebody else's data users, and they have also come to the same realisation. Open data ensures that the scientific process is transparent, helps others to reproduce results and can even help speed up the process of scientific discovery."

Output Drops at World's Largest Open-Access Journal; Science, 6/4/14

Jocelyn Kaiser, Science; Output Drops at World's Largest Open-Access Journal:
"The number of papers published by the world’s largest open-access journal, PLOS ONE, has plummeted over the past few months after rising fairly steadily for years, notes a scholarly publishing blogger. Phil Davis suggests the closely watched PLOS ONE may have become a less attractive option for scientists as its impact factor has fallen and other open-access publishers have come on the scene.
Founded 14 years ago, the Public Library of Science (PLOS) has been a leader in open access—online journals that are free for anyone to read and cover costs by charging authors a fee. But PLOS has also drawn criticism, because the nonprofit broke even only after starting the multidisciplinary PLOS ONE, which accepts all papers that pass technical scrutiny regardless of their importance. The model has drawn the complaint that PLOS ONE bulk publishes low-quality papers to make its more selective journals sustainable. That high volume made PLOS ONE the largest scientific journal in the world in 2010, with more than 8600 research papers. Last year, the site featured 31,509 papers.
But this year, the trend has been downward, notes Davis, a publishing consultant."

WIPO Copyright Committee: More Rights Or Limitations/Exceptions? ; Intellectual Property Watch, 6/29/14

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; WIPO Copyright Committee: More Rights Or Limitations/Exceptions? :
"The World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee meets next week with some uncertainty. Unable to agree on the future work of the committee at the end of the last session, delegates will have to decide how they want to advance work on a proposed treaty protecting broadcasting organisations, and on limitations and exceptions to copyright for the benefit of libraries and education.
The 28th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is taking place from 30 June to 4 July."

Friday, June 27, 2014

Symposium: Aereo decision injects uncertainty into copyright; SCOTUS Blog, 6/27/14

Mitch Stoltz, SCOTUS Blog; Symposium: Aereo decision injects uncertainty into copyright:
"Wednesday’s decision in American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo raises a big question about the right sources of interpretive authority in copyright cases. Justice Breyer’s majority opinion, finding that Aereo performed television programs publicly, was driven by legislative history and first principles, with analysis of the statutory text an afterthought. That approach turned a pure question of statutory interpretation into something more like common law adjudication. This is a departure from Justice Breyer’s past decisions on copyright, which have generally put the text first. If the new approach becomes the norm in Aereo’s wake, it could transform copyright into a more flexible but also far more unpredictable legal regime."

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Blocked in China; New York Times, 6/27/14

Jane Perlez, New York Times; Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Blocked in China:
"The new memoir of Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Hard Choices,” which gives blow-by-blow accounts of tough discussions with Chinese officials, particularly on human rights, has been blocked in China, according to the American publisher.
No Chinese publisher made an offer to buy the rights for the book to be translated into Chinese for sale on the mainland, said Jonathan Karp, president of Simon & Schuster, which published the American edition.
The English version of the book was delisted from Amazon China on June 10, the day of publication in the United States, a move that effectively barred wide distribution in China, Mr. Karp said.
In Beijing, Gu Aibin, the head of Yilin Press, the state-owned publishing house that published Mrs. Clinton’s earlier book, “Living History,” said “Hard Choices” was different. “Some of the content was not suitable,” Mr. Gu said. “The company decided not to buy the copyright.”"

Aereo Loses at Supreme Court, in Victory for TV Broadcasters; New York Times, 6/25/14

Adam Liptak and Emily Steel, New York Times; Aereo Loses at Supreme Court, in Victory for TV Broadcasters:
"In a case with far-reaching implications for the entertainment and technology business, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Aereo, a television streaming service, had violated copyright laws by capturing broadcast signals on miniature antennas and delivering them to subscribers for a fee.
The 6 to 3 decision handed a major victory to the broadcast networks, which argued that Aereo’s business model was no more than a high-tech approach for stealing their content.
The justices’ ruling leaves the current broadcast model intact while imperiling Aereo’s viability as a business, just two years after a team of engineers, lawyers, marketers and even an Olympic medalist came together with a vision to provide a new viewing service that “enables choice and freedom.”"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marilyn Monroe’s Photo Caper in Poland; New York Times, 6/23/14

Rena Silverman, New York Times; Marilyn Monroe’s Photo Caper in Poland:
"Greene left behind vintage prints, negatives, color transparencies — and a great deal of debt. To save the estate from bankruptcy, Ms. Thorman hired an acquaintance named Dino Matingas, a Chicago real estate investor and steel-company owner who later admitted to American Photo magazine that he knew nothing about photography. He agreed to acquire the Greene estate, ”to get Joanna to stop bugging me about buying it,” he told the magazine in 1993.
Mr. Matingas purchased it for $350,000 without looking at it. The problem is he bought the copyright to the images, too...
Joshua Greene who runs Archives LLC in Oregon, where he sells digitally restored prints of his father’s historical collections, said he was unaware of this week’s Warsaw auction. “If that is something you know about, I would love to know about it, too,” he said.
He had already been hit hard last year, when 75,000 of his father’s celebrity negatives and slides, including 3,700 unpublished black-and-white and color negatives and transparencies of his Monroe archive were sold at auction — along with copyright — through a website called Profiles in History, in Los Angeles."

“Sherlock Holmes” Is Now Officially Off Copyright and Open for Business: What amazing Holmes fan fiction will you create?; Smithsonian, 6/19/14

Colin Schultz, Smithsonian; “Sherlock Holmes” Is Now Officially Off Copyright and Open for Business: What amazing Holmes fan fiction will you create? :
"Part of the motivation for the Judge's decision, says Molly Van Houweling for the Authors Alliance, was a consideration of what the larger ramifications of extending the copyright on Holmes would have on art in general. Holmes' lasting popularity is a rarity among fictional characters—most fall out of favor within years, not decades. Creating a longer term on copyright for characters would reduce the number of works flowing into the public domain. This, in turn, would make it more difficult or more expensive for future artists to work, since a great deal of art draws on earlier works...
Posner's opinion has much to commend, but one area it does not delve into is how the character of Sherlock Holmes—as we know him—is the construct of many authors, artists, and even film-makers. As Authors Alliance co-founder Molly Van Houweling points out, the phrase "elementary, my dear Watson," never appears in any of Doyle's works."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Walking Dead producer criticises Game of Thrones executive over piracy; Guardian, 6/19/14

Mark Sweney, Guardian; The Walking Dead producer criticises Game of Thrones executive over piracy:
"Gale Anne Hurd said that if consumers want to continue to see shows such as Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones – which have broken viewing records while also topping the global chart of most-pirated TV shows – then more needs to be done to crack down on piracy.
“The truth is you wouldn’t imagine stealing someone’s car [or] a piece of art they have created,” she said, speaking to the Guardian at the Cannes Lions festival. “We are poised on the precipice in filmed entertainment – TV and movies – because of the prevalence of piracy the content creators will not get a revenue stream to the point that they won’t be able to create. That is the danger of piracy.”
Jeff Bewkes, the chief executive of HBO’s parent, Time Warner, has said that Game of Thrones piracy has been “better than an Emmy” as a publicity machine to help drive TV subscriptions."

Mail Online chief in clash with Australian reporter over copyright; Guardian, 6/19/14

Amanda Meade, Guardian; Mail Online chief in clash with Australian reporter over copyright:
"The spat between News Corp and Mail Online over copyright in Australia has spilled over to the Cannes Lions advertising festival, with a late night altercation between website publisher Martin Clarke and a reporter from a Murdoch title...
The background to this French farce is legal action by News Corp against the newly launched rival website Daily Mail Australia, which Rupert Murdoch’s Australian has accused of theft, breach of copyright, plagiarism and “parasitical practices”.
Mail Online responded on Monday by accusing News Corp of lifting its stories on at least 10 occasions."

Jack Kirby's Heirs Get Huge Support in Quest to Bring Marvel Fight to Supreme Court (Exclusive); Hollywood Reporter, 6/19/14

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Jack Kirby's Heirs Get Huge Support in Quest to Bring Marvel Fight to Supreme Court (Exclusive) :
"The case is Lisa Kirby v. Marvel Characters, concerning whether the estate of comic book legend Jack Kirby can terminate a copyright grant on such creations as Spider-Man, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and The Mighty Thor. In August 2013, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling that determined Kirby's heirs couldn't wrest back his share of rights to these characters because the former Marvel freelancer had contributed his materials as a "work made for hire." As such, Marvel was considered the statutory author, and Kirby (and his heirs) never had any termination rights under the 1976 Copyright Act to begin with.
In the past couple of months, there have been growing signs that the case might indeed be picked up at the Supreme Court for review."

Athletes' Tattoo Artists File Copyright Suits, Leaving Indelible Mark; Wall Street Journal, 6/16/14

Jacob Gersheman, Wall Street Journal; Athletes' Tattoo Artists File Copyright Suits, Leaving Indelible Mark:
"The question of who owns the copyright to a tattoo has never been settled in court, but lawyers and scholars say there is no obvious reason why tattoo artists shouldn't be covered by the same rights granted to photographers or other visual artists. To be copyrightable, artwork needs to have some originality. It also has to be "fixed in a tangible medium of expression." That can be a canvas, film or audio. Skin counts, too, in the case of a custom tattoo designed by an artist, said Case Western Reserve University law professor Aaron Perzanowski, who teaches intellectual property law."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sherlock lives in public domain, US court rules in case of the heckled brand; Guardian, 6/16/14

Jessica Glenza, Guardian; Sherlock lives in public domain, US court rules in case of the heckled brand:
"A US court has ruled that Sherlock Holmes – along with 46 stories and four novels he’s appeared in – is in the public domain, reaffirming the expiration of the copyright once owned by the estate of Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle.
The ruling by the seventh US circuit court of appeals in Chicago comes after the Doyle estate threatened to sue the editor of a book of original Holmes fiction if the author didn’t pay licensing fees.
Doyle’s estate contacted Leslie Klinger in 2011, when he was about to publish an anthology of original fiction starring Holmes, A Study in Sherlock: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon. The estate demanded publisher Random House pay $5,000 in licensing fees for the use of the Holmes character.
Random House paid the fees, even though Klinger thought that the Holmes stories were in the public domain."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Music Industry Officials Agree on Need for Licensing Rule Changes, but Little Else; New York Times, 6/10/14

Ben Sisario, New York Times; Music Industry Officials Agree on Need for Licensing Rule Changes, but Little Else:
"The complex system of music licensing came under attack in a congressional hearing on Tuesday, as entertainment and media executives pleaded for changes to how music rights were acquired and paid for online and by radio and television stations.
Yet the executives offered little common ground about how to solve the problems they highlighted, and repeatedly clashed with one another during two and a half hours of testimony — giving lawmakers a preview of how difficult it may be to satisfy all parties in the rapidly evolving but fractious music market.
The hearing, before a House Judiciary subcommittee, was part of a broad review of copyright led by Robert W. Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia who heads the Judiciary committee.
The seven witnesses on Tuesday, representing the Grammy Awards, the music-licensing agency BMI, television stations and Silicon Valley technology companies, spoke about decades-old government regulation and the patchwork of federal laws that govern music licensing."

Court OKs Universities' Quest To Turn To More Digital Copies Of Books; NPR, 6/10/14

Lynn Neary, NPR; Court OKs Universities' Quest To Turn To More Digital Copies Of Books:
"A U.S. appeals court has ruled against a group of authors, deciding in favor of a consortium of universities in a case that hinged on copyright law and provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The universities had allowed Google to make digital copies of more than 10 million books so that they could be searchable by specific terms."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why It's So Hard to Get the Law to Protect a Good Joke (Guest Column); Hollywood Reporter, 6/8/14

James J.S. Holmes and Kanika D. Corley, Hollywood Reporter; Why It's So Hard to Get the Law to Protect a Good Joke (Guest Column) :
"Comedians work hard to refine their craft, which often results in the creation of an intangible asset — a signature style of comedy. Such assets are deserving of intellectual property rights protection — but which one(s)?
Under the Copyright Act, protection extends to original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed. It follows that artistic content in tangible form, such as a comic's written jokes performed to an audience (or recorded), is entitled to protection. Taken to its logical conclusion, if comedic works are copyrightable, then those who engage in "joke thievery" should find themselves subject to suit for copyright infringement, thereby entitling the complainant to the Copyright Act's statutory damages and attorneys' fees.
Not so fast! A thorough review of the tenets of the Copyright Act when viewed in the context of professional comedians raises a problem."

Kennedy letters fiercely protected for decades; Boston Globe, 6/10/14

Matt Viser, Boston Globe; Kennedy letters fiercely protected for decades:
"In 1966, in a letter to a friend in Ireland, Jacqueline Kennedy seemed to see her future. She described her “strange” world, one in which “privacy barely exists, and where I spend all winter in New York holding my breath and wondering which old letter of mine will come up for auction next!”
All these years later, her family is still carefully guarding her legacy — and launching a new attempt to prevent the auction of letters she wrote to an Irish priest.
Caroline Kennedy has gotten involved in trying to establish ownership over the batch of more than 30 deeply personal letters that her mother had written to the Rev. Joseph Leonard over nearly 15 years. Those letters — in which Kennedy revealed some of her most private thoughts on marriage, motherhood, and death — had been set to be auctioned.
But under questions of ownership, copyright, and morality, the letters were pulled. The same day that attorneys for Caroline Kennedy contacted the Irish auction house planning to sell the letters, the auction was canceled. And the financially strapped college that discovered the letters and was hoping for a windfall — All Hallows College in Dublin — is now planning to close some 172 years after it opened."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy; U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force, July 2013

U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force; Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy: "“In April 2010, then Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke launched the Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF), which brings together the technical, policy, trade, economic, and legal expertise of many Commerce bureaus, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the International Trade Administration (ITA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Economic and Statistics Administration (ESA). Together, these bureaus have worked in the IPTF to identify leading public policy and operational challenges in the digital economy. In turn, the IPTF has developed approaches to strengthen protections for consumer data privacy, enhance cybersecurity practices, safeguard the global free flow of information, and ensure balanced and meaningful protection for intellectual property while preserving the dynamic innovation and growth that have made the Internet and digital technology so important to our economy and society. The paper that follows is the latest result of these cross-agency and multistakeholder discussions.”"

U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force to Host Series of Roundtables on Copyright Internet Policy Topics; Press Release, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 4/16/14

Press Release, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force to Host Series of Roundtables on Copyright Internet Policy Topics:
"Public meetings were called for in U.S. Commerce Department’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy
Washington– The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force will host roundtable discussions in cities around the country on several copyright Internet policy topics, as part of the work envisioned in the Green Paper. The purpose of the roundtables is to engage further with members of the public on the following issues: (1) the legal framework for the creation of remixes; (2) the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; and (3) the appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the contexts of individual file sharers and of secondary liability for large-scale infringement. The roundtables, which will be led by USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will be held in Nashville, TN on May 21, 2014, Cambridge, MA on June 25, 2014, Los Angeles, CA on July 29, 2014, and Berkeley, CA on July 30, 2014. The meetings were called for in the Task Force’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy released last year.
In the Green Paper and subsequent requests for public comments on October 3, 2013, the Task Force stated its intention to hold roundtable discussions on these issues. On December 12, 2013, the Task Force held a day-long public meeting to discuss the issues identified for its further work in the Green Paper, which included panel discussions on remixes, the first sale doctrine, and statutory damages, as well as other topics. The purpose of the planned roundtables is to seek additional input from the public in different parts of the country in order for the Task Force to have a complete and thorough record upon which to make recommendations.
Requests to participate and observe are due three weeks in advance of each of the respective roundtables. While the Task Force may not be able to grant all requests, it will seek to maximize participation to the extent possible. The agendas and webcast instructions will be available approximately one week prior to each meeting on the Task Force website at and the USPTO website at Additional information including RSVP instructions and directions can be found at and in the Federal Register Notice:
For further information regarding the meeting, please contact Ben Golant, Office of Policy and International Affairs, at (571) 272-7070, or or Hollis Robinson, Office of Policy and International Affairs, at (571) 272-1500, or"

Don Henley Claims 'Arrogant' Frank Ocean, Okkervil River Stole Songs; Rolling Stone, 6/4/14

Kory Grow, Rolling Stone; Don Henley Claims 'Arrogant' Frank Ocean, Okkervil River Stole Songs:
"In addition to condemning Ocean, Henley explained why he prevented Okkervil River from recording his solo song "The End of Innocence" and releasing it online for free. Although that group's frontman, Will Sheff, had previously claimed Henley had objected over money issues, the Eagle told the Telegraph it was because the group had changed his lyrics.
"They don't understand the law either," Henley said. "You can't rewrite the lyrics to somebody else's songs and record it and put it on the Internet. I'm sorry, but it wasn't an improvement. We were not impressed. So we simply had our legal team tell them to take it down and they got all huffy about it." Furthermore, Henley wondered how they would feel if he turned the tables on them and recorded an Okkervil River song with his own lyrics. "Maybe they wouldn't care, but I care," he said. "We work really, really hard on our material. We spend months writing it and years recording it. You don't go into a museum and paint a moustache on somebody else's painting. Nobody would think of doing that." He summed things up by saying, "If you respect somebody, you ask their permission to diddle around with their work – you don't just go and do it."
United States copyright law allows anyone to record a cover of any song without asking permission, so long as the musician does not alter the original. Henley told the Telegraph he was perfectly fine with that aspect of the law, but "that's not what Mr. Ocean nor Okkervil River did.""

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Beastie Boys win $1.7 million in copyright case vs. Monster Beverage; Reuters, 6/5/14

Nate Raymond, Reuters; Beastie Boys win $1.7 million in copyright case vs. Monster Beverage:
"Beastie Boys' fight for their right to not let Monster Beverage Corp use the hip-hop group's music without their permission resulted in a verdict of $1.7 million on Thursday.
A federal jury in Manhattan issued the verdict on the eighth day of trial in a copyright dispute between members of the Brooklyn-born band and the energy drink maker over songs the band says Monster used without a license in a 2012 promotional video.
The Beastie Boys had sought up to $2.5 million for copyright infringement and false endorsement."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Okkervil River Responds to Don Henley: Copyright Laws Kill Art: Will Sheff writes artists "communicate back and forth with each other over the generations, take old ideas and make them new"; Rolling Stone, 6/4/14

Will Sheff, Rolling Stone; Okkervil River Responds to Don Henley: Copyright Laws Kill Art: Will Sheff writes artists "communicate back and forth with each other over the generations, take old ideas and make them new":
"All of these artists, on some level, drew from a folk tradition, and, as I got deeper into their work, they led me to old-time American folk and blues – to artists like Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Dock Boggs, Skip James and the Carter Family. As I fell deeper and deeper in love with these artists I started noticing something that they all had in common – they all copied each other. Woody Guthrie took the melody from the Carters' "Little Darling Pal of Mine" and he wrote "This Land Is Your Land." Robert Johnson took the already-existing blues tales about selling your soul to the devil and they ended up incorporated into his whole image. Bob Dylan took the Scottish ballad "Come All Ye Bold Highway Men" and used it for "The Times They Are A–Changin'." Nina Simone transformed the ridiculous Morris Albert MOR ballad "Feelings" and improvised re-written lyrics, stretching the song over the 10-minute mark and creating something harrowing from it.
I realized that this is what artists are supposed to do – communicate back and forth with each other over the generations, take old ideas and make them new (since it's impossible to really "imitate" somebody without adding anything of your own), create a rich, shared cultural language that was available to everybody. Once I saw it in folk art, I saw it everywhere – in hip-hop, in street art, in dada. I became convinced that the soul of culture lay in this kind of weird, irreverent-but-reverant back-and-forth. And I concluded that copyright law was completely opposed to this natural artistic process in a way that was strangling and depleting our culture, taking away something rich and beautiful that belonged to everyone in order to put more money into the hands of the hands of a small, lawyered few."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Copyright infringement suit filed against Led Zeppelin for 'Stairway to Heaven'; CNN, 6/3/14

Lisa Respers France, CNN; Copyright infringement suit filed against Led Zeppelin for 'Stairway to Heaven' :
"A lawsuit has been filed claiming that the iconic Led Zeppelin song "Stairway to Heaven" was far from original.
The suit, filed on May 31 in the United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania, was brought by the estate of the late musician Randy California against the surviving members of Led Zeppelin and their record label. The copyright infringement case alleges that the Zeppelin song was taken from the single "Taurus" by the 1960s band Spirit, for whom California served as lead guitarist...
The estate is seeking court ordered damages and writing credit for California, born Randy Craig Wolfe. Part of the defense includes a printed interview conducted with California prior to his death from drowning in 1997. In the 1997 interview with Listener Magazine, the guitarist claims that some of the music from "Stairway to Heaven" was taken from his group's song.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bluebeard as a Geek: Plundering in High-Tech: On ‘Halt and Catch Fire,’ It’s Imitation vs. Invention; New York Times, 5/30/14

Alessandra Stanley, New York Times; Bluebeard as a Geek: Plundering in High-Tech: On ‘Halt and Catch Fire,’ It’s Imitation vs. Invention:
"There are absolutists who still believe that everything on the Internet should be free and see themselves as partisans, not parasites. Their motto might as well be “intellectual property is theft.”
Some of those true believers may enjoy a new AMC drama, “Halt and Catch Fire,” which begins on Sunday and is set in Texas in the early 1980s, when PCs were still in their infancy, and IBM dominated the industry.
But it’s an odd show for most viewers to accept at face value. And not just because it’s hard to construct thrilling action sequences out of microchips, floppy disks and coffee breaks. In today’s era of high-tech billionaires and the cult of the start-up, this series goes back in time to glorify imitation, not innovation...
Even the title is so abstruse that an explanation is spelled out in block print at the beginning:
“HALT AND CATCH FIRE (HCF): An early computer command that sent the machine into a race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained.”...
Buccaneering on the high seas, the kind that involves daggers, planks and rum, is romantic partly because it remains safely in the past. Copyright piracy, on the other hand, may be too close for comfort."

New Authors Alliance wants to ease some copyright rules; SFGate, 5/31/14

Meredith May, SFGate; New Authors Alliance wants to ease some copyright rules:
"Academic authors aren't generally known for making a lot of noise, but these days, 250 of them are speaking up to call for a change in U.S. copyright laws, which they say make it hard to access and share their work online. They want the law changed to reflect the reality of publishing in the digital age.
The Bay Area-based Authors Alliance was formed recently at the Internet Archive in San Francisco to push for a new Copyright Act that loosens the restrictions on citing, digitizing and sharing published work...
The new alliance's goals include making it easier for scholars, libraries and private citizens to enter pre-Internet, out-of-print and "orphaned" works whose copyright holders are unknown, into the public domain. They want copyright law clarified and amended to allow libraries, archives and heritage groups the right to digitally reproduce and store books.
"Copyright law is so strict, stretching up to 95 years from publication in some cases, that without the right to digitize it we are in jeopardy of losing our long-term cultural and intellectual history," said alliance founding member Pamela Samuelson, a UC Berkeley law professor who filed briefs on Google's behalf during the eight-year book scanning controversy. The Authors Guild lawsuit against the tech giant was dismissed in November by a federal court in Manhattan."...
Others worried
But the push to allow more digital access to academic work is creating a schism among writers, pitting scholars against commercial writers backed by the Authors Guild, who fear their books could be too easily digitally copied and shared by universities, libraries and corporations, much the same way illegal song sharing has undermined the music industry.
The fears of commercial authors are unfounded, Samuelson maintains."

Pirate Bay founder arrested after two years on the run; Reuters via Guardian, 5/31/14

Reuters via Guardian; Pirate Bay founder arrested after two years on the run:
"One of the founders of file-sharing website Pirate Bay has been arrested in southern Sweden to serve an outstanding sentence for copyright violations after being on the run for nearly two years, Swedish police have said.
Peter Sunde had been wanted by Interpol since 2012 after being sentenced in Sweden to prison and fined for breaching copyright laws.
"We have been looking for him since 2012," said Carolina Ekeus, spokeswoman at the Swedish national police board. "He was given eight months in jail so he has to serve his sentence."...
Four men linked to Pirate Bay were originally sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of £2.85m. An appeals court later reduced the prison sentences by varying amounts, but raised the fine to £4.1m."