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Milton Berle, Carlos Mencia, and Dane Cook walk into a bar

Given the expense and uncertainty of lawsuits, how does the comedy community enforce the proscription on joke theft? Part of an ongoing Slate series called The Humor Code.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 1, 2014 - 45 comments

 

I'd like a dumb grande wuppy duppy latte, extra hot, please

On Friday, a Starbucks opened in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. There is something a bit "weirdly off-kilter" about this location according to one customer. In particular, everything there, including the store name has the word "dumb" in front. The store is claiming parody-based fair use exemptions to intellectual property law, and so far, the (non-dumb) Starbucks appears not to have responded. In case you want to pick what you want before hand, their menu of dumb drinks is posted on Twitter.
posted by saeculorum on Feb 9, 2014 - 152 comments

TPP Negotiating Text IP Chapter Published by Wikileaks

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has come under fire for the sweeping effects it may have on intellectual property laws in signatory countries, and is expected to export and even extend some of the worst features of US copyright law, including the criminalisation of DRM circumvention. The level of secrecy surrounding the agreement has been controversial: the US Trade Representative has refused to make the text of the agreement public, and only three persons in each TPP nation have access to the full text. The New York Times editorial board has been criticised for its endorsement of the deal, when the public (and supposedly the NYT) were unable to read the agreement. In advance of the 19-24 November Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Wikileaks has obtained and published the secret negotiated draft text of the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, including negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states. [more inside]
posted by anemone of the state on Nov 13, 2013 - 54 comments

Patent Trolls Generating Negative Karma

Yoga International, publishers of a similarly-titled magazine, recently migrated to an all-online content. As part of their new technology platform, they have been providing online yoga instruction utilizing a visual recording of a standard yoga classroom set-up. YogaGlo, providers of on-line yoga classes, sent Yoga International a cease-and-desist letter claiming that their recently filed patent application covers the type of view being filmed for an on-line yoga class, and that Yoga International is in violation. [more inside]
posted by scblackman on Sep 26, 2013 - 21 comments

Property, and theft

With roots in the laws of seventeenth and eighteenth-century England, intellectual property protections go back to the beginnings of capitalism itself. The online magazine Jacobin recently featured a three-part series tracing the history of property law and its contemporary manifestations. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Sep 7, 2013 - 9 comments

So how DOES copyright work in space?

Chris Hadfield has captured the world's heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut's clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police?
posted by DiesIrae on May 23, 2013 - 58 comments

Architectural Piracy?

How good is Zaha Hadid's new building? So good it's already being copied. And the copy may be finished before the original. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 15, 2013 - 33 comments

"What books would be entering the public domain if we [the US] had the pre-1978 copyright laws?"

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2013?:'Under the law that existed until 1978 … Works from 1956.' Yesterday was Public Domain Day, with many works entering the public domain, depending on jurisdiction. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 2, 2013 - 54 comments

By securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets. (PDF) [more inside]
posted by dsfan on Nov 17, 2012 - 97 comments

Roundup all the farmers

"Farmer Bowman began purchasing Monsanto’s patented seeds in 1999 and, because of the licensing agreement, did not save any of the seed for future planting. But he also bought so-called “commodity” seed from a local grain elevator, which acts as a clearinghouse for farmers to buy and sell seed. But given that more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted in the area were Roundup Ready crops, the elevator’s seed was contaminated with Monsanto’s patented seed. Farmer Bowman planted that commodity seed, which was substantially cheaper to purchase, to produce a second, late-season crop, which is generally more risky and lower yielding. He then used seeds generated in one late-season harvest to help produce subsequent late-season crops. Monsanto sued him for patent infringement, and he lost." [more inside]
posted by sio42 on Oct 11, 2012 - 105 comments

The quality of ownership is not what it was in yesteryear.

On October 29, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a conflict about “first-sale doctrine”. The doctrine, which has been law in the U.S. since 1908, allows people to buy and then subsequently sell items (books, furniture, electronics, dvds, etc.) without needing additional permission from the copyright holder. Supap Kirtsaeng came to the United States from Thailand to study mathematics and attempted to save money by having his family purchase textbooks in Thailand and ship them to him. After reading up on the first-sale doctrine, Kirtsaeng began to sell these textbooks to others on eBay. He made $37,000, before he was sued by John Wiley, a textbook publisher. A jury found his copyright infringement to be willful. He was ordered to pay $75,000 per work for a total penalty of $600,000. He appealed, and lost at the 2nd Circuit.

The Library Journal notes that if the Supreme Court rules against Kirtsaeng, it could mean the end of public libraries. Marketwatch warns that it means the end of resale as we know it. Hollywood Esq. does the most cogent job of putting this IP fight in perspective of other IP fights before the Court.
posted by dejah420 on Oct 9, 2012 - 213 comments

The memo platform is burning

iPhone Caused “Crisis of Design” at Samsung (Memo) “Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off.’ All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide,” Shin wrote. “Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.” Complete text of the internal memo submitted in the Apple vs Samsung case. Those are the more ugly points of the memo, which seems to bolster Apple’s lawsuit stating that Samsung infringed upon a number of Apple’s patents. Apple asserts that Samsung has “slavishly copied” Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, and is seeking $2.5 billion in damages. So any more ammunition that Apple can get to make it look like Samsung attempted to actively rip off Apple’s products is only a good thing for Apple’s case. And the memo is rife with ammunition.
posted by infini on Aug 7, 2012 - 403 comments

HTTP 112 – Emergency. Censorship in action.

Does HTTP need a status code for censorship? Perhaps [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 10, 2012 - 99 comments

On The Avengers and Creator's Rights

So The Avengers is a very successful movie. This has lead many comics fans to express their concern over the treatment of original creators in the industry, specifically of Jack Kirby. Creators' Rights controversy is nothing new, and there remains to this day ample reason to question the business dealings of The Big Two when it comes to how they compensate the men and women who work for/with them. Alan Moore has been and continues to be the victim of numerous shady deals at the hands of DC comics. But no one, with the possible exception of Seigel and Shuster, has suffered more than Jack "King" Kirby. [more inside]
posted by shmegegge on May 23, 2012 - 106 comments

A shield, not a weapon

Twitter will not weaponize your work (without your permission). According to an agreement it now makes with its engineers and inventors, Twitter does not have the right to use the patents of its employees offensively without their consent, and this limitation will apply to future purchasers of the Twitter patent portfolio. The patent wars previously and previouslier on the blue.
posted by gauche on Apr 18, 2012 - 41 comments

"If robots had a religion, I think this would be it,"

Vote Pirate! Notes from a Pirate Party conference. "I grew up on the Internet. … I sort of consider myself a citizen of the Internet. I'm very attached to it. I'm almost more from the Internet than I am from Massachusetts." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 14, 2012 - 16 comments

This FPP © zarq. Do Not Bend, Fold, Spindle or Mutilate. Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Kirby Ferguson's fourth and final installment of Everything is a Remix: System Failure has been released. (Also on YouTube.) It covers intellectual property rights, the derivative nature of creativity, patents and copyright. Transcript. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 17, 2012 - 5 comments

Internalise This Deep Wisdom

You will never kill piracy and piracy will never kill you.
posted by Sebmojo on Feb 4, 2012 - 216 comments

Scientists boycott Elsevier

The Cost of Knowledge lets scientists register their support for a boycott of all Elsevier journals for their support of SOPA, PIPA (tag) and the Research Works Act (previously, WP, MLA, UK, Oz, etc.). It appears the boycott was inspired by Field's medalist Tim Gowers' recent comments describing his personal boycott of Elsevier journals. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 29, 2012 - 60 comments

Nomen est Omen

The U.S. House of Representatives has drafted their version of Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act, renaming the bill the E-Parasites Act. Among other changes discussed previously, the bill now makes internet service providers and websites liable for activities of their users that infringe upon copyrights, effectively overturning parts of the 13-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 27, 2011 - 120 comments

"Big Bang" in Belarus

Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more? There's always Belarus's unauthorized copy of the show, titled "The Theorists".
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2011 - 94 comments

COICA Round Two

Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act would require that U.S. ISPs impose an 'internet death penalty' upon domain after merely a preliminary injunction from a U.S. court that suspects the site of being 'dedicated to infringing activities', even if the domain's owner had never been notified and was not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. There is concern that the legislation would fragment the DNS system and facilitate DNS spoofing by obstructing DNSSEC (pdf). There is also an open letter opposing the bill signed by 108 Law Professors who study intellectual property law. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jul 24, 2011 - 29 comments

or would people start to ask why the wealth of knowledge and culture was being enclosed within restrictive laws, when “another world is possible” beyond the regime of artificial scarcity?

Given the material abundance made possible by the replicator, how would it be possible to maintain a system based on money, profit, and class power? Towards an Anti-Star Trek. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Jul 15, 2011 - 147 comments

"As knowledge policy, for the creators of this knowledge, this is crazy"

"The Architecture of Access to Scientific Information: Just How Badly We Have Messed This Up" Lawrence Lessig speaking at CERN on April 18, 2011. Long (~50 min), but wonderful and totally worth it (and the second half is about Youtube and remix culture).
posted by unknowncommand on Apr 20, 2011 - 53 comments

Your teacup is infringing on mine. Nu-uh, I remixed it.

Cheap 3D printing has the potential to change the way we produce and consume objects in the same way the cheap PCs and the internet changed the way we produce and consume information. Once again it is hobbyists and university labs who are democratizing the technology. They are looking forward to the day when anyone can make designer bath fixtures, functional appliances, custom surgical implants, or even business opportunities at the click of a button.

However some are warning that overly broad patents could derail the whole revolution. Even more worrisome is the prospect that existing IP law is completely unprepared for a future where the cost boundary between ideas and physical objects has crumbled. Will commercial interests demand a crack down on "pirated" printouts? Will Open Source manufacturing bring about a Star Trekian utopia? It's hard to predict what will happen when everything is commodified.
posted by Popular Ethics on Apr 16, 2011 - 98 comments

The guy who says he owns 50% of Facebook produces E-Mails

Paul Ceglia has refiled his lawsuit against Zuckerburg and Facebook. With a much larger law firm. And a lot more evidence. Ceglia has produced more than a dozen of what he says are emails between him and Mark Zuckerberg from July 2003 to July 2004, the year in which Facebook was created. [more inside]
posted by jeanmari on Apr 12, 2011 - 89 comments

Don’t make me steal

Don't Make Me Steal - a Digital Media Consumption Manifesto.
posted by Artw on Feb 4, 2011 - 107 comments

Inside Forever 21

I notice a pair of faux-leather lace-up ankle boots that look a lot like the Jeffrey Campbell ones I'm wearing: The style is the same, so are the combination of hooks and holes for the laces and the distinctively shaped heel. Forever 21 sells the boots for $35.80, less than one-quarter the price I paid. I mention them, and Linda says brightly: "You should buy another pair here." An in-depth look at Forever 21 and the family that built the fast-fashion empire. [more inside]
posted by Thin Lizzy on Jan 24, 2011 - 60 comments

The afterlife of your digital self.

Cyberspace when you're dead.
posted by xowie on Jan 5, 2011 - 55 comments

Steal this Gründerzeit!

"German authors during this period wrote ceaselessly. Around 14,000 new publications appeared in a single year in 1843. Measured against population numbers at the time, this reaches nearly today's level ... the majority of the works were academic papers. The situation in England was very different ... we see deplorable progress in Great Britain. Even more startling is the factor Höffner believes caused this development -- in his view, it was none other than copyright law, which was established early in Great Britain, in 1710, that crippled the world of knowledge in the United Kingdom." (Related, Hoffner's presentation)
posted by geoff. on Aug 20, 2010 - 5 comments

Piracy Funds Fashionistas

Stop Fashion Piracy! Senator Chuck Schumer and ten co-sponsers have introduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (Govtrack). Similar to legislation from previous Congressional sessions, this would extend copyright protection to fashion designs. Currently, the fashion industry does have trademark protection, which allows legal recourse for designers and brands to go after counterfeiting, but designs and concepts are free to be imitated. The bill has the support of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the American Apparel and Footwear Association. This is the cumulation of a multi-year effort to extend copyright protections to fashion designers (that included sidestops where they tried to co-opt Michelle Obama into their efforts and where one of the top fashion copyright proponents gets caught copying other people's designs), and would change an industry that historically has worked within a dramatically different culture from other creative industries. [more inside]
posted by Weebot on Aug 10, 2010 - 53 comments

"F**k Michael Powell. Let him sue us."

Home Depot was having an issue with employees cutting their fingers off while sawing wood for customers. Michael Powell invented a safety device that Home Depot then copied without Powell's permission. Today, Powell won a $25 million judgment in federal court. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 12, 2010 - 141 comments

The cause of, and solution to, all life's problems

Copyright turns 300: An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, also known as the Statute of Anne, became law on April 10, 1710.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 10, 2010 - 19 comments

RIAA and MPAA say: Open Source = Piracy

The International Intellectual Property Alliance, an umbrella group for organisations including the MPAA and RIAA, has requested with the US Trade Representative to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its “Special 301 watchlist” because they use open source software. (also here) [more inside]
posted by knz on Feb 25, 2010 - 61 comments

19th Century Patents -- 200 Years Later

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the appeal of two "math geeks" who were denied a patent for a business method they developed for utility companies. This is one of the most watched cases of the Supreme Court term, drawing some 67 briefs. Although the patent office has recognized that business methods can be patented, it is not clear whether patents, developed to protect innovations like machines and transformative processes, are available for 21st century inventions such as software.
posted by bearwife on Nov 9, 2009 - 98 comments

Who owns The Man?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a criticism of Burning Man, LLC's Terms and Conditions, saying that the automatic rights assignment to BMOrg for photos & video taken during the event is "creative lawyering intended to allow the BMO to use the streamlined “notice and takedown” process enshrined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to quickly remove photos from the Internet" and that this is corrosive to our freedom of speech. Burning Man responds.
posted by scalefree on Aug 14, 2009 - 123 comments

intellectual property asshole competition

who's the biggest asshole? [more inside]
posted by philip-random on May 25, 2009 - 51 comments

If you're going to panic, panic constructively.

Bruce Sterling, fresh from his online State of the World 2008 discussion (previously), delivers his succinct prognosis for the new year: 2009 Will Be a Year of Panic. At least it's an opportunity to say good-bye to the 20th century at last. (via)
posted by Doktor Zed on Jan 30, 2009 - 37 comments

Can't pirate, the IP Czar will eat me

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act has added a whole other dimension to the term "copyright infringement." Sponsored by the US entertainment industry, it allows seizure of assets before the accused is found guilty and the creation of a new executive branch led by an "Intellectual Property Czar" who would report directly to the President on IP crimes--similar to the Drug Czar of the War on Drugs. Financial penalties for copyright crimes have increased dramatically. More information here, and a summary of critiques here. Is this a useful addition to the War On Copyright Infringement or just more bureaucratic red tape?
posted by schroedinger on Oct 14, 2008 - 45 comments

Girl fight

Barbie vs Bratz: Mattel sues MGA, claiming the Bratz designs were created by a Mattel employee and smuggled to its rival.
posted by Artw on May 5, 2008 - 40 comments

Se necesita una poca de gracia

"I mean he quite literally -- and in no way do I exaggerate when I say -- [Paul Simon] stole the songs from us." [more inside]
posted by Sys Rq on Apr 19, 2008 - 75 comments

Scrabble vs. Scrabulous

Toymakers Hasbro and Mattel claim that the popular online game Scrabulous (available on Facebook) infringes on the trademark for the board game Scrabble. They have not yet filed suit, but have asked Facebook to desist in its alleged infringement. Scrabulous is one of the top ten plug-ins on the site, developed by brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla in Calcutta, India. "There has been speculation that the challenge to Scrabulous had been launched as Hasbro and Mattel prepare their own online version of Scrabble." Electronic Arts holds the license to the electronic rights to Scrabble. Facebook users are rallying to save the game. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Jan 17, 2008 - 94 comments

War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on Leaks

Steal this album. "In the dying days of the music business as we once knew it, record labels are waging war on leaks—only to discover that many of the saboteurs come from within the industry itself." It's easy to arrest a geek or lay draconian fines on a single mom; what happens when their witchhunt leads to their own offices? Animal Collective won't always be around to get the culprits off the hook.
posted by Coherence Panda on Jan 2, 2008 - 62 comments

Boy Howdy, what a mess

You'd think news of a Creem Magazine retrospective book would be greeted with cries of glee. You'd be wrong. Occasional staff shutterbug Bob Matheu licensed rights to use the name of the beloved, iconoclastic Detroit rock zine years after it ceased to be relevant, but despite occasional "Creem is back" announcements, only produced a website. [more inside]
posted by Scram on Dec 2, 2007 - 12 comments

Putting their bandwidth where their mouth is

Good Copy Bad Copy is "a documentary about the current state of copyright and culture," featuring Danger Mouse, Lawrence Lessig, Dan Glickman of the MPAA and others. The film's creators are releasing it free of charge, via Bittorrent.
posted by jbickers on Aug 3, 2007 - 30 comments

Lessig moves on.

Lawrence Lessig moves on Lessig has spent the last 10 years fighting for IP reform and open culture, He's decided to focus on fighting what he calls "corruption" (with quotes)... the pernicious effect that moneyed interests have in crafting and controlling public policy.
Finally, I am not (as one friend wrote) "leaving the movement." "The movement" has my loyalty as much today as ever. But I have come to believe that until a more fundamental problem is fixed, "the movement" can't succeed either. Compare: Imagine someone devoted to free culture coming to believe that until free software supports free culture, free culture can't succeed. So he devotes himself to building software. I am someone who believes that a free society -- free of the "corruption" that defines our current society -- is necessary for free culture, and much more. For that reason, I turn my energy elsewhere for now.

posted by delmoi on Jun 22, 2007 - 61 comments

The problem with music, redux.

While Courtney pulled an Albini, Jeff handed out the bread. Are the peasants acting like emperors, or do they still want something shiny, aluminum, plastic, and digital? Debacle or cage, something's got to give (pdf). Alternatively, you can just roll your own.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 4, 2007 - 32 comments

At home he still plays with his organ from time to time

Procol Harum organist wins battle over joint authorship of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Gary Brooker is not amused, but then again it was a Bach ripoff anyway.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 20, 2006 - 31 comments

All Your Kernals Are Belong to Us

Ballmer: Linux Users Owe Microsoft. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) conference in Seattle yesterday, that Linux infringes upon his company's intellectual property. Does this signal preparations for all out war against the open source community? Microsoft's recent acquisition of Novell was seen as an ominous sign. Or perhaps it's a sign that user friendly versions of linux such as Ubuntu threaten sales of Microsoft's problematic new VISTA OS, scheduled for release Nov. 30th for businesses and Jan. 30, 2007 for consumers?
posted by Skygazer on Nov 17, 2006 - 79 comments

When art is outlawed, only criminals will have brushes

Illegal Art: Should artists be allowed to use copyrighted materials? Where do the First Amendment and "intellectual property" law collide? What is art's future if the current laws are allowed to stand? Questions asked by Stay Free! in their ongoing multimedia exhibit.
posted by dejah420 on Oct 25, 2006 - 25 comments

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