Tagged in: copyright

Something Lawful: Geeky Legal News 04-15-13

Not all legal news is geeky and not all geeky news has to do with the law, but some things fall in the sweet, sweet center of that Venn diagram. If it has to do with the intersection of copyrights, trademarks, privacy, licensing, internet regulation and games, movies, tech, comics, books or the world of entertainment, I am on it. Here is the rundown of news from the past week:

  1. Night Shade Books  Plans to Sell Their Authors’ Contracts; Uproar Ensues Night Shade, a publisher of science fiction, fantasy and horror novels from authors like Jeff VanderMeere, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Kameron Hurley is not doing so hot. The publisher is in dire financial straits, and the company looking to buy out their back catalogue raised some hackles by lowballing their initial offer. After many of the authors spoke out in places like Facebook and io9 spoke about being offered a raw deal, the buying publisher increased their proposed royalty rate. (via Twenty Palaces)
  2. Scott Turow Laments the Decline of the American AuthorAccording to the author of One L, fair use, libraries, and E-books have created a toxic cocktail of copyright poison that is slowly killing off the class of successful American writers and he has taken to the New York Times to complain about it.
  3. I Ain’t Sayin’ He’s a Copyright Infringer. Producer. Rapper. Designer. Lover of Fish Sticks. Kanye West can  now add “Defendant” to his long list of titles, as he now gets to defend his song “Gold Digger” against allegations of copyright infringement in federal court. The issue is West’s use of  “Get down girl, go ‘head, get down” which the plaintiffs claim infringes their copyright in a 1974 song “Bumpin’ Bus Stop” by a group called Thunder & Lightning. the complaint also includes a racketeering claim under RICO that West and Roc-a-Fella Records, Bad Boy Records, Stones Throw Records, Bomb Hip-Hop Records, Autumn Games, Activision, Caroline Distribution and The Island Def Jam Music Group have conspired in an “illegal copyright infringement scheme and criminal enterprise involving the unauthorized, willful sampling of plaintiffs original copyrighted music on a massive scale.”
  4. The Mystery of the Disappearing Rights.  The game No One Lives Forever felt like Austin Powers, James Bond, Metal Gear:Solid, and the original Half-life were shaken together in a sterling steel martini mixer. It was a great game, but it looks like any reboot or long-lost sequel is hamstrung by the fact that no one quite seems to know who owns the rights to the franchise after 13 years of mergers and acquisitions according to Activision’s Dan Amrich. Looks like some legal intern will be digging through the basement archives this summer to run down the paper trail.(via Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
  5. The Saga Apple Doesn’t Want you to See. Last week readers of brian K. Vaughan’s kick-ass space opera Saga  were unable to buy the digital version of Wednesday after it was pulled from Apple’s main comic store app Comixology. Cries of censorship and corporate squeamishness accompanied what at first appeared as Apple refusing to allow a comic with semi-explicit depictions of gay sex. It turns out that Comixology proactively pulled the title from its submissions because they decided to save Apple the trouble. In the end, the comic went out to Ipad users, but the fracas highlights one of the dangers in the move to digital media for comics: no one can fully depend on their preferred format and provider to keep the comics coming.

The Rundown for Wednesday, June 16th 2010

Mistress Internet reveals her hidden delights in response to my tender ministrations:

  • Clan MACGILLIVRAY
    In a Gaelic lament for the slain at Culloden the MacGillivrays are spoken of as:
    “The warlike race,
    The gentle, vigorous, flourishing,
    Active, of great fame, beloved,
    The race that will not wither, and has descended
    Long from every side,
    Excellent MacGillivrays of the Doune”.
    Filed Under:[macgillivray scottish history ]
  • Free Speech and Guns – Reason Magazine
    Professor Volokh on the state of the Bill of Rights.
    Filed Under:[volokh law constitution libertarian civilliberties freespeech guns billofrights ]
  • Ron Coleman’s LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® Blog
  • Filed Under:[intellectualproperty blogs trademark copyright ]

    Internet Goodies for Sunday, January 11th 2009

    Back in San Francisco and positively tingling with anticipation for classes to start, I still have a few links for my adoring public.

  • 9 Reasons Not to Attend Law School
    All true, and yet I remain undeterred.Filed Under [lawschool ]
  • People Who Deserve It
    Deserve what? A punch in the face, of course.”This blog is not written with malice or scorn, but with a sincere desire to witness the upward progression of the human race. And some people are ruining it for everybody.
    People who wear sunglasses inside.
    Savages who pee on the seat.
    This kind of conduct only perpetuates the acceptance of degenerate behavior.
    On this space log, you will find examples of socially responsible reasons to punch someone in the face. And remember, we do it for the kids.”

    Filed Under [humor blogs ]

  • Borges: Pathways of the (Postmodern) Mind
    Jorge Luis Borges and some problems of taxonomy.”At first glance, I was fascinated by the idea of so many academics being fooled by a supposed misquote. But then I saw: in these three paragraphs there are multiple levels of story going on. First of all, academic infighting: “they hoped to tear me apart.” Then the philosophical differences between Modernists and Postmodernists, which is interesting in itself, because really, their conflict is all about ways of thinking about reality. Which is, of course what Borges’ works all played with.”

    Filed Under [literature philosophy postmodernism ]

  • Zoom Baby, Zoom
    A panoramic photo with awesome details.Filed Under [photography ]
  • Is it Art?
    Re: the cultural significance of video games.”There is no other medium that produces so pure a cultural segregation as video games, so clean-cut a division between the audience and the non-audience. Books, films, TV, dance, theatre, music, painting, photography, sculpture, all have publics which either are or aren’t interested in them, but at least know that these forms exist, that things happen in them in which people who are interested in them are interested. They are all part of our current cultural discourse. Video games aren’t. Video games have people who play them, and a wider public for whom they simply don’t exist.”

    Filed Under [media videogames ]

  • NIN best selling cc-licensed music
    Lawrence Lessig considers the implications of Nine Inch Nail’s CC licensed album’s success.”Even more exciting, however, is that Ghosts I-IV is ranked the best selling MP3 album of 2008 on Amazon’s MP3 store.”

    Filed Under [music copyright creativecommons ]

  • What WWE champion Mick Foley thought of The Wrestler Mankind talks about a movie I am dying to see, but haven’t yet:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “I even heard that I was one of his influences in preparing for the role. But what did Hollywood know about my business, anyway? Who had they ever beaten? (As we say in the biz.)”Filed Under [criticism film sports wrestling ]
  • On Language – Bleeping Expletives
    William Safire examines the media’s censorship techniques:
    “The need for today’s review is the coverage given to the participial modifier employed with great frequency and immortalized on recordings of telephone conversations made by the F.B.I. as its shocked — shocked! — agents eavesdropped on Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor. His favorite intensifier was reproduced in many newspapers and Internet sites with dashes as “—-ing” or with asterisks as “****ing” and was substituted in broadcasts, telecasts and Netcasts as a word descriptive of the sound called bleep.”

    Filed Under [media language profanity nytimes ]

  • Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere: writing The Other
    “I think he does an overall good job with female characters. But the imperfections of a writer like Gaiman, however small, are infinitely more revealing to discuss than are the the glaring mistakes of writers who don’t even seem to like women.”Filed Under [criticism Comics feminist ]
  • Some Modest Advice for Young Law Scholars
    “If you want to have an easy tenure case, here are some modest suggestions”Filed Under [law lawschool academia ]
  • 2L Dispatch: Nose, Meet Grindstone. Grindstone, Nose.

    I’m not getting too much touristy stuff done lately because I’m hard at work on slamming some papers out. With any luck I can meet my scholarly obligations over the next week so that I’ll have a free hand to get out of Sydney and see some of greater New South Wales area. Most of my classes have intensive units of instruction at the beginning and several papers due along the way to the end of the semester, but not a whole lot in between. I managed to choose classes without exams, so rather than the high-pressure cram and worry final sprint I find myself doing more writing, and doing it (more) consistently. It feels kind of good, and simultaneously more and less scary than the horrors of my 1L year. Less, because in writing several papers I have more than one At-Bat, and more time in which to work so the soul-crushing weight is a little lighter. More because my legal writing and research class and finals aside, I haven’t done much law school writing. Finals were more a mad dash to info-dump and push my analysis out as quickly as I could without worrying about citations or the like. LWR was more about briefs and memos than the scholarly work they seem to expect of me here at UNSW.

    I’m approaching the first deadlines right now, and so I am in a bit of a scramble to get the first round of papers done. I’ve been known to have something of a problem with procrastination, putting things off until the buzzing of the all-pervasive deadline of doom becomes unbearable. I’ve done a little better, but the lion’s share of the writing still lies ahead.

    In choosing my classes at UNSW, I made it a point to opt for the more internationally-focused offerings. I did this both because I can foresee no future circumstance where having an in-depth knowledge of Australian sports law would be a benefit. I’m interested in getting the Australian perspective and everything, I just felt like studying more global issues would be better. Also, I’m still kind of sitting on the fence as to whether to focus on International law or intellectual property law so I think I’ll complement this semester with more IP classes in the spring.

    The paper I’m avoiding working on by grinding out this blog post shares my position on the straddle of said theoretical fence. I’m exploring the degree to which the international harmonization of IP laws is good for economic development and social welfare. It’s exactly as exciting as it sounds. To be sure, these are big questions and I’m the type of person who tends to work out the Answers to Big Questions in the course of writing them. I lost count of the number of times I’ve created an outline for an argument and then found myself completely switching position once I waded in and the words started flowing.

    Initially I wanted to go the route of arguing that the harmonization of these IP laws, as embodied by the TRIPS Agreement of the WTO and the TRIPS Plus standards that use it as a baseline, was bad for developing countries because it forced them to adopt the system of IP rights that heavily favor the bigger boys at the table. Does Indonesia really benefit from adopting the same copyright standard as the U.S.? Surely, one size does not fit all.

    On the development side, it may well be true that the vast majority of patent holders in developing countries are multinational corporations and the jury is still out on the degree to which staunch IP laws actually spur innovation but I think at the very least it has to open the door for foreign investment. That can only be good for the developing countries.

    Now, I think I am more or less convinced that robust IP protection can be good for the economic development of poorer countries, while at the same time having a negative effect on the social welfare. I think I have to conclude that economic good and social good are not always the same thing, and are not inextricably linked.

    Oh, well. Back to work…