Tag Archives: blinkographies

listings of a lot of related weblinks all together.

sexism is not, actually, “open source”

There’s been a blog flurry about the use (dare I call it “appropriation”?) of the term “open source” for a project aimed at facilitating gropes of women’s breasts at SF cons. The project was called the “open source boob project” and proposed to pass out buttons so that people (“women”) could affirmatively opt-in to the project and say: “yes you may” or “no you may not” (ask if you can grope my breasts).

The original poster was unfortunately clueless about sexism, and writing from a position of utterly unexamined privilege. Many, many gajillions of postings have pointed out the numerous ways the proposal is bad:
* it makes people (“women”) feel unsafe
* it makes people (“women”) feel pressured to participate
* since cons are also meetings for people in the SF trades and professions, it may pressure people (“women”) to participate to advance their careers, in the fine old school tradition of sexual harassment

… I could go on, but instead I’ll just point to the feminist SF blog and FSFwiki and Feministing for summaries and links. Particularly noteworthy responses include:
* open source swift kick to the balls by misia
* open source african hair project from plastic sturgeon
* The Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project! by vito_excalibur
* Open Source Male Assholes by springheel jack, excellent for its libertarian fallacies analysis. My only complaint is I wish that the author had used the capital L Libertarian, since there is, in fact, a large thread of libertarian thinking that specifically recognizes social inequalities: anarchism, the original and still the best “libertarian” philosophy/analysis/action plan.

The thing that caused me to post about this over here, as well as interacting with the general blog furor, is the appropriation of the term “open source”. This also did not go over well. But isn’t it interesting the way “openness” and “open source” has become some sort of synonym for permissiveness? Despite the massive way this is a completely wack analogy? (see inhammer, below)

Links discussing the open source aspect include:

  • matthew garrett
  • inhammer: failure of metaphor
  • rivkat: “a category mistake of the ugliest kind”
  • In a comment on the Rivkat thread, Ithiliana picked up Rivkat’s phrase “Bodies are rivalrous” and made an awesome LJ icon: Later…: I keep coming back to this image and staring at it. Honestly, I just love this so much that I want it plastered all over my blog, my shirts, my bumper stickers, and maybe my household windows.
  • designated sidekick at girl-wonder.org extends the metaphor to “closed source misogyny” and suggests “Let’s put our male entitled view of women’s bodies as our property to use, modify, open source and otherwise interact with into a neatly closed source wrapper, bundle it in DRM, load it on an iPod and repeatedly strike our narrow minded selves in the face until the bleeding starts, and continue until the ability to stand upright stops.” Hear, hear.

creationist & religious violence against science & education

Just a list of links for the flurry of postings on this topic:
* Bug Girls’ Blog, Weekly WTF: More threats by Creationists, 2007/7/12; related Pharyngula, 2007/7/11; Bug Girl’s blog, 2007/7/20
* Bug Girl’s Blog, Creationist Death Threats, Part 2 (2007/8/24)
* Pharyngula, Another example of amoral religiosity, 2007/8/24
* Sunclipse, Creation, Power and Violence (2008/4/18)

network throttling detection?

linkblogging: A while back there was flurry of discussion about possible applications to help you tell if your ISP was throttling, shaping, filtering or in some other way being non-neutral about the Internet access you’re paying them for. See
* Mathew Honan series in Macworld, Feb 2008: parts 1, 2, 3)
* azureuswiki includes a list of ISPs that do various kinds of filtering, and what kinds they do.
* speakeasy has one speed test that just gives you flat rates. Could be useful in DIY comparison tests.

plagiarism is the new blowjob

Accusing someone of plagiarism is the latest version of pointless distraction from the real issues. Much like the brouhaha about the infamous Lewinsky/Clinton blowjob, it relies on an overwrought anxiety approaching paranoia about an issue that is of interest to politicians only insofar as it serves to distract people from substantive issues. Like Ann Coulter before them, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s much-publicized skirmishes with plagiarism are disappointing because they divert from real issues, and because they contribute to the general paranoia around “ownership” of information. Without, as it happens, doing much to educate or inform anybody about plagiarism, authorship, or creativity.

Nevertheless, a few commentators muster up something worth reading:

  • Houston Chronicle, 2/24: “Rule No. 1: If it’s transformative, it’s not plagiarism.” (link from 43(B)log)
  • MSNBC Meet the Press (link from copyfight)
  • Jerome Doolittle, John F. Kennedy, plagiarist?, salon.com 2008/2/20 (“[Lincoln’s version] is equally free of meaning, but goes a considerable way toward explaining why Seward was the incoming secretary of state and Lincoln was the incoming president. It ain’t what you say but how you say it. And that is why the Clinton camp has found itself reduced to rolling out the pop gun of plagiarism at this difficult point in the campaign. They have no other artillery.”)
  • Rohn Robins, Vail Daily, 2/26

Octavia Butler

I was deeply saddened early this week to learn that Octavia Butler had died. She exemplified the spirit of inquiry that makes science fiction truly the literature of ideas. Below I collect a number of resources about Octavia Butler.

Action

Obituaries and Remembrances

Biographies

Octavia’s Words: Interviews & Essays

Octavia’s Words: Fiction

today is his birthday … happy birthday to him

pharyngula posts the funniest portrait of Chuck that I’ve seen. (I’ve been told that my sense of humor is obscure.) Compare with his earlier mutton-chop look over at Wikipedia. The iconic image is still available in ready-to-stick form @ Swarthmore’s Chaz Has a Posse.

Go forth and evolve. (Or, at my house in Boston, surrounded by two-foot snow drifts, stay in and surf.)

carnivalia

a variety of exciting carnivals to read:

for more … blog carnival index and the über carnival site

Katrina (9/1-9/15, ongoing)

9/1: Between work-stuff and watching Katrina, I’ve been too busy & too sad to post much the last few days.

To sum it all up:, a letter from Switzerland (9/3) [via daily kos 9/4]:

Watching the events in New Orleans unfold from here in Europe, mostly via BBC World, we have the impression that the storm blew up a corner of the carpet beneath which America had long been sweeping some of its fundamental problems.

Among the fundamental problems revealed are:

(1) the enormous divide between rich and poor (which has expanded rapidly in the past two or three decades);

(2) the racial divide leaving blacks in the poorest class (nearly all the stranded, angry, unassisted poor we see on the TV screen are black),

(3) the failure to invest in infrastructure (not only the failure to protect the dikes and levies, but the failure to storm-proof the electric and telephone systems by burying cables, etc.);

And, perhaps most striking of all,

(4) the bizarre law-and-order mentality which orders the National Guard to shoot-to-kill looters (that is, to give priority to protecting property more than human lives).

Perhaps it is going too far to state that we are watching a collapse similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union fifteen years ago. Much as the total-collectivization and total-centralization of society in the USSR collapsed, eventually, of its own internal contradictions, we wonder whether or not America, too, with its ultra-individualistic, ultra-material ideology and its absence of much concern about the collective needs of society (health care, education, infrastructure, etc.) will collapse of its own internal contradictions.

Here’s the rest of the best & most useful of what I’ve seen on Katrina, below the fold:

Continue reading

non-katrina

yet more depressing news:

  • iraq: where people keep dying. A friend recently met with her family who lives in Baghdad, who reported a) her elderly aunties regularly have laser sightings trained on them by US soldiers; b) her cousin’s cousin was recently shot & killed by US soldiers; c) they still don’t have power & clean water most of the time. The situation is worse than it was a year ago. They were impressed to hear that an American woman would camp outside Bush’s home, since they thought there was no dissent in the US. …

  • declining science literacy, increasing religious belief, and increasing poverty in the US. See creationism survey (NYT) and the widely reported new poverty statistics from the Census Bureau, available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p60-229.pdf; press briefing.

  • the FDA decided to hold off approving emergency contraception, AGAIN, despite promises by new commissioner to have decided by today (9/1). The FDA Director of the Office of Women’s Health resigned in response. See feministe; prnewswire.

  • and i just heard that the 8th Circuit affirmed the lower court ruling in Bnetd. [opinion @ 8th Cir] A big loss for consumers and tinkerers.

but still there is light shed:

  • the NYT recently published a supremely arrogant, sexist, and stupid editorial / piece by Keith Ablow. Ablow suggested that women should think twice before letting their husbands watch childbirth, since it might destroy the man’s sexual attraction to his female partner. a number of commentators have given that article the trashing it deserved. see belle waring 8/31, for example; see also belle waring 8/23; pandagon; slate; crooked timber on women’s culture (and by negative implication what men’s culture is failing to do).

    me, i couldn’t help remembering how sensible, non-sexist people handle the issue in a way that recognizes human realities, sexuality, and needs of all parties: In The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth, the authors straightforwardly noted that after pregnancy & birth, some non-birth-parents might have difficulty feeling sexual toward the birth-parent. The authors didn’t try some reductive pop-psych “oh my god I’ve seen her insides” explanation, but pointed out that it could happen for a variety of reasons: birthing-related, parenting-related, the efforts of adjusting to a new lifestyle, new roles, and new family configurations. the answer? give it time, and work on having adult time together.

  • orcinus posted on right-wing bloggers decrying the motes in left-wing eyes (“all our extremists is belong to you”) [link from sideshow]

  • Reading A1 posted on the suggestion from right-wingers (apparently frustrated that their ideas suck) that left-wingers can’t criticize unless they come up with fully-formed strategic responses themselves. i feel like excerpting:

    [W]ho exactly is the audience for this sort of policy wanking supposed to be? Other than a tiny community of Beltway or Beltway-oriented intellectuals, or wannabes. The anti-war left is nowhere near the seat of power. Power is held, in fact, by a gang that regards opposition in general, and opposition to the war in particular, as tantamount to treason. … Even if we had detailed, rational and realistic policy advice to give, they wouldn’t listen to it. … It’s not “unserious” or “immature” or whatever other bullshit terms are favored by the Beltway types to advocate the simple message Out Now. On the contrary—advocating such messages is the only real political space within which we have to operate. Our job is not to pretend we’re living under a different regime than we are, one that takes policy proposals seriously. Our job is to do the only thing we really can do, namely cause as much domestic pain as possible for Bush over the war. … You want to have a real effect on Iraq policy? Drive Bush’s numbers down, drive the GOP’s numbers down, take their Congressional majority away from them, take the White House back. That’s not done with policy prescriptions—which (again, has Cooper been paying attention these last few years?) the vast majority of the American public will never hear, or hear an honest version of, anyway.

    I’ve got a rant, somewhere inside, about labels, actions, and correctly identifying your own politics & where they fit on the historical spectrum. Something in response to the right-wingers who try to claim the higher ground created by the left-wing civil rights movement, the left-wing anti-fascist movements, and so on. But it’ll have to wait.

ip/cyber/1a stuff

  • Radikal Russ on Daily Kos posted about severe cognitive dissonance fostered by Grokster in the secondary liability rules:

    If a company makes a product that is inappropriately used to illegally copy a movie, that company is liable. If a company makes a product that is inappropriately used to illegally kill a human, that company is not liable. What’s the common logic holding these disparate concepts together? Massive corporate special interest money. Welcome to your government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations, where a pirated copy of “Hollywood Homicide”* is bigger threat than an actual Hollywood homicide.

  • EFF is running a 15 anniversary blog-a-thon, in which people post about how they became information radicals (my phrase). Aggregators: Technorati and PubSub. [me too]
  • Nitke v. Ashcroft: First Amendment / CDA decision. Good commentary by Wirenius (plaintiff-side attorney). Other links: copyfight, rounding up various links; Wendy Seltzer, posting the decision.
  • NYT coverage of NY payola settlement with Sony. Check out some of the details at the Village Voice (7/26). So, what we have is a consolidated radio industry that generates its playlists in national headquarters takes payola for playing hits that nobody would otherwise want to hear. If I tried to devise the crappiest possible way of using scarce airwaves, seeking out talent, and maximalizing human fulfillment, it might look something like the current recording / radio industry.
  • more stuff on the PTO denial of the “Dykes on Bikes” TM: Cathy Resmer on the DTWOF blog. As a dyke, I can attest that I don’t find “dykes on bikes” at all offensive … PTO, please don’t protect me.
  • the pensacola news journal editorial about wal-mart’s refusal to carry their paper because of an anti-wal-mart column is a must-read. [link from copyfight] (PS: Wal-Mart lifted the ban & apologized [link from librarian.net])

grokster

well — grokster is out. from the beginning:

We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.

and from the end:

There is substantial evidence in MGM’s favor on all elements of inducement, and summary judgment in favor of Grokster and StreamCast was error. On remand, re-consideration of MGMís motion for summary judgment will be in order.

J. Souter wrote the majority opinion which apparently and not surprisingly developed an “inducement” theory. Breyer concurrence (with Souter & O’Connor) and Ginsburg concurrence (with Rehnquist and Kennedy).

I saw it here [on Joe Hall’s NQB2] first.

lots of discussions (confession: i haven’t had time to read them yet; just the opinion; my thoughts on metablog commentaries may come later tonight):

my own quick thoughts:

  • This outcome is no surprise. It seemed obvious that the Court was going to take a middle position that would take some kind of bite out of Sony; the real question was how big a bite.
  • So how big is this bite? The Court established an inducement standard, setting out the facts implicating Grokster et al’s knowledge and intent to have copyrighted files copied. The battle for the next few years or decades will be to expand or constrict this standard to the facts of Grokster.
    • The inducement standard is treated as part of the contributory infringement standard in one place, (p.12), but elsewhere as a third test parallel to contributory and vicarious.
    • The new inducement standard on the one hand might not be horrible, if it is limited to the facts at hand: It was certainly clear that Grokster et al intended to follow in the footsteps of Napster. Modeling your entity after another entity that was successfully characterized as a “bad actor” now looks like not so good an idea.
    • But on the other hand, the evidence cited in some instances is pretty patchy/sparse:
      • The majority opinion cites, for instance, that “Grokster’s name is an apparent derivative of Napster.” p.7, and again at p.21 (“Grokster’s name is apparently derived from Napster…”) If that kind of naming can constitute evidence then every e-business and i-product may someday be in trouble.
      • The majority also cites attempts to capture / buy relevant search engine keywords. (p.7 & p.22)
      • The Court also felt that “the defendants’ failure to develop … filtering tools or other mechanisms to diminish the infringing activity … underscores Grokster’s and StreamCast’s intentional facilitation of their users’ infringement.” I really dislike this and any other pro-network-policing implications.
    • More generally, though, I am still concerned with the dotted line this opinion implicitly draws around design decisions. It should be permissible to design your product around precedents, to avoid clearly unlawful behavior. It can and should be permissible to push that boundary in new directions — new innovation proceeds by pushing old boundaries. In the case of copyright infringement, pushing a boundary too far carries its own risk: that you might fall afoul of that boundary and be found liable for copyright infringement. But here, acknowledging the design decisions is evidence in and of itself of “inducement”. That’s troubling, because it requires that designers adopt a willful blindness attitude very similar to that which Judge Posner decried in Aimster. And it could make it difficult to defend and describe innovations in court.
    • I’m also concerned with the very notion of including an intent-based standard in copyright. Copyright is a strict liability regime. Liability is thus quite broad: any actual infringement creates liability, regardless of intent. Adding an intent-based liability to the further-afield secondary liability broadens copyright even further. The Court did attempt to address this, at p.19:

      We are, of course, mindful of the need to keep from trenching on regular commerce or discouraging the development of technology with lawful and unlawful potential. Accordingly, just as Sony did not find intentional inducement despite the knowledge of the VCR manufacturer that its device could be used to infringe, 464 U. S., at 439, n. 19, mere knowledge of infringing potential or of actual infringing uses would not be enough here to subject a distributor to liability. Nor would ordinary acts incident to product distribution, such as offering customers technical support or product updates, support liability in themselves. The inducement rule, instead, premises liability on purposeful, culpable expression and conduct, and thus does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discourage innovation having a lawful promise.

      Yeah, we’ll see. Here’s hoping the Court is right in its optimistic assertion that its new inducement “does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discourage innovtaion having a lawful promise”.

    • The Court also played dangerously with the numbers game, citing “the number of infringing downloads that occur every day using StreamCast’s and Grokster’s software” as a “powerful… argument for imposing liability”. At 12. And again at 23: “As the account of the facts indicates, there is evidence of infringement on a gigantic scale, and there is no serious issue of the adequacy of MGM’s showing on this point…. ”

      These lines will certainly appear in content-owners’ briefs and attempts to get courts to consider the quantity and volume of infringement — the very standard rejected in Sony.

    • The Court states that neither of the Sony uses (recording TV off-air, and librarying programs) was “necessarily infringing”. (p.14). So presumably new uses are not “necessarily infringing”. But wouldn’t this have applied to Napster? Personal file sharing, of degraded-quality MP3s, without commercial exchanges — that was a new use, and not a “necessarily infringing” use. Ah, this is going to beef up the market prong of the fair use test, I bet. Like it needs any more beefing.
    • The Court restricts Sony to contributory infringement not vicarious liability. Some courts assumed so anyway, but Posner in Aimster pointed out that it was really unclear. Grokster resolves that unclarity by describing Sony as merely about contributory infringement, not about vicarious liability.

      On those facts, with no evidence of stated or indicated intent to promote infringing uses, the only conceivable basis for imposing liability was on a theory of contributory infringement arising from its sale of VCRs to consumers with knowledge that some would use them to infringe. Id., at 439.

      at 14. And later at 16-17:

      [The Ninth Circuit’s] view of Sony, however, was error, converting the case from one about liability resting on imputed intent to one about liability on any theory. Because Sony did not displace other theories of secondary liability …

    • On the other hand, the Court seems to want to leave Sony otherwise untouched:

      Because Sony did not displace other theories of secondary liability, and because we find below that it was error to grant summary judgment to the companies on MGMís inducement claim, we do not revisit Sony further, as MGM requests, to add a more quantified description of the point of balance between protection and commerce when liability rests solely on distribution with knowledge that unlawful use will occur. It is enough to note that the Ninth Circuitís judgment rested on an erroneous understanding of Sony and to leave further consideration of the Sony rule for a day when that may be required.

      at 17.

      Added commentary (6/28):

      The real problem is that while the Court leaving Sony untouched in name only, the Court manipulated the entire environment in which Sony lived. Sony, as it played out in the real world, stood for the generic proposition that secondary liability for developing & distributing a technology accrued only where there were no “substantial noninfringing uses” to the technology. The fact that Sony was vague on the vicarious / contributory distinction was fine — it created a grander position for the Sony standard vis-a-vis secondary liability generally. Technological development ought not be held hostage either to existing business models or to those who seek to get around the existing business models.

      Despite the Court’s intentions, Grokster chips away at Sony in two ways: First, the Court hones down the vagueness and wiggle room in Sony by construing it as a contributory case. Second, the Court opens up an entirely new avenue for secondary liability, one with (as yet) no pro-technology out. So, now technology developers, instead of being able to rely on a general, broad principle of protection for multiple-use technologies, have to watch out for both vicarious liability and the new (to copyright) inducement standard.

      The protection for technological development is gone. So what if Grokster developed its technology intending to foster copyright infringement? Once the technology is out there, it started being used to, yes, share noninfringing materials. And those uses will continue to grow and evolve. On some level, Grokster the company is merely an agent for technological evolution. But this decision is not aimed at the agent; it’s aimed at technological evolution itself. If they had wanted to aim at the agent, then they could have restricted their theory to the inducing acts and words — not to the development and distribution of the technology. How much did Grokster’s ad campaigns actually induce infringement? And how much did the mere capability of the technology “induce” infringement? Unfortunately this decision doesn’t (at first reading anyway) lend itself to focusing on the acts. It looks at the acts, but it targets the technology.

      < / end of added commentary >

    • I don’t like footnote 13:

      It is not only that encouraging a particular consumer to infringe a copyright can give rise to secondary liability for the infringement that results. Inducement liability goes beyond that, and the distribution of a product can itself give rise to liability where evidence shows that the distributor intended and encouraged the product to be used to infringe. In such a case, the culpable act is not merely the encouragement of infringement but also the distribution of the tool intended for infringing use.

  • Concurrences:
    • Breyer/Souter/O’Connor concur with the majority but disagree with Ginsburg’s concurrence (Ginsburg/Rehnquist/Kennedy) evaluating Grokster’s potential liability for “contributory infringement”. Breyer agrees with the inducement carve-out, but separately finds that Grokster meets the Sony test for contributory infringement.

      On the other hand, Breyer regularly cites the quantity in Sony — which suggests that even though he is supporting Grokster in this discussion, he has bought into the quantitative analysis anyway. However Breyer does clearly point out that 10% may not be enough, should not be fixed, and that Aimster was a stricter interpretation of Sony than he would have put forth.

      Breyer’s opinion is ultimately the most thoughtful and most directly engages the policy balances at stake. And, demonstrates the most familiarity with the record.

    • Ginsburg: I really take issue with this concurrence. How can J. Ginsburg say

      Here, there has been no finding of fair use and little beyond anecdotal evidence of noninfringing uses. … These declarations (some of them hearsay) include assertions that number of copyright owners authorize distribution of their works on the Internet and that some public domain material is available through peer-to-peer networks.

      (at 5) The fact that Rick Prelinger and Brewster Kahle have not personally used the P2P networks is used against them! Merely providing content which they authorized for distribution over P2P networks was not enough. Contrast Sony: If Ginsburg had been writing it, apparently Mr. Rogers’ statements that he was happy to have his content copied would not have been sufficient. No, Mr. Rogers would have been required to have actually used VCRs to tape his materials off air.

      Apparently all public domain and permissive filesharing constitutes “anecdotal evidence of noninfringing uses”. But shouldn’t distribution of teachers’ guides, satires, etc., count as fair uses? Oh — someone needs to make the compelling case for fair use filesharing! But I suspect nothing would persuade J. Ginsburg. Even blind orphans from Tanzania who get copies of works not otherwise available in Tanzania may not merit a tear if weighed against the all-important interests of large copyright-holding movie companies and cartels.

      Ginsburg is pushing for a reconsideration of quantitative factors, which apparently will look at the state of infringement at the moment the litigation is filed. Needless to say this would stifle and kill all sorts of technological developments.

some fun parodies & pastiches

ip/tech news & really stupid & annoying republicans

  • wiretaps increased last year: Wiretaps in U.S. Jump 19 Percent in 2004 [sfgate 4/28] i’m pondering whether the wiretappers’ efficiency also increased? can they scan information more quickly now? did governments take cops off the streets to put them in surveillance vans? or did the governments hire a bunch of new wiretappers? hmm, all sorts of interesting new questions. SFGate says the investigators pursued “drug and other cases.” Where are the much-vaunted terrorists against whom the PATRIOT Act wiretap expansions were supposed to be used? The non-terrorist taps increased 28%, which means the terrorist-related taps increased, well, very approximately, by 10%? One final editorial comment: These are actual wiretaps. Approved by the courts. Nobody bothers to cite the numbers of wiretaps denied by the courts. Why? Because courts always, always say yes. Thank god for that impartial third branch protecting us from the tyranny of the executive.
  • european libraries kick-start their own digitization campaigns. [DW 2005/4/27] Excellent. How many years has it been since Michael Hart started project gutenberg? followed by numerous small-scale digitizing projects at individual libraries & museums? I guess PG didn’t quite pose sufficient “risk of a crushing American domination in the definition of how future generations conceive the world.” Well, if it took google to kick-start the digitization of the world, I can only say hurrah, what took you all so long?
  • the criminalization of copyright continues apace. [sigh]
  • what was DeLay’s beef with Kennedy doing his own research on the Internet, anyway? doesn’t DeLay have enough to keep him busy? DeLay is really trying hard to compete for the title Chief Dumbass.

    “Absolutely. We’ve got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That’s just outrageous,” DeLay told Fox News Radio. “And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous.”

    seattle times 4/20 linked from politechbot.

  • also in the running for Chief Dumbass, Sen. Rick Santorum. In this episode, however, Santorum isn’t so much a Dumbass as he is, well, really annoying. Santorum complains that the National Weather Service is giving away its data for free, and introduces a bill to stop that dastardly practice. I guess under his model we could write scripts that generate FOIA requests for weather data. Or does he think the data should be classified? Or maybe the government shouldn’t be gathering it at all? That must be it, because then we wouldn’t have to track that pesky global climate change. It really reminds me of the old Census story: One citizen responded to on their Census form, “You can find all this in your almanac, and then you wouldn’t have to take the Census.” Anyway … the folks at the carpetbagger report explain the donations & big business constituents behind this bit of annoying arrogance & stupidity. Why are Pennsylvanians tolerating this fool?

ip / info round-up

i’ve been out of the loop for about an entire month while i moved, battled colds & flus & snowstorms, and made it thru the winter holidays … so i’ll be logging a month’s worth of interesting articles & commentaries. luckily it seems that courts, legislators & commentators have also been slower than usual the last few weeks:

  • 1/13: EFF has now filed its grokster brief in the US Supreme Court.

  • 1/12: iPac has launched its jailed for a song campaign to bring attention to the ongoing & increasing criminalization of copyright law. [link from jason schultz 1/12]

  • 1/11: maine today covers the Maine Supreme Judicial Court case about a guy who created a hotmail account in someone else’s name. Anonymous free speech, says EFF, Public Citizen, the ACLU, and Defendant Doe. Fraud, says the plaintiff.

  • 1/10: Apple has been sending C&Ds to apple blogs for breaking news about new apple lines. If apple isn’t careful, its highhanded tactics will lose it some hipster street cred.

  • My people (or so very old family history would have it) are picking a fight between the Cherokee Nation and the GPL. [linux business week 1/10] [thanks to Brian Carver for the link]

  • bill gates thinks IP reformers are communists. What an ass.

    C|Net: In recent years, there’s been a lot of people clamoring to reform and restrict intellectual-property rights. It started out with just a few people, but now there are a bunch of advocates saying, “We’ve got to look at patents, we’ve got to look at copyrights.” What’s driving this, and do you think intellectual-property laws need to be reformed?

    BG: No, I’d say that of the world’s economies, there’s more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don’t think that those incentives should exist.

    And this debate will always be there. I’d be the first to say that the patent system can always be tuned–including the U.S. patent system. There are some goals to cap some reform elements. But the idea that the United States has led in creating companies, creating jobs, because we’ve had the best intellectual-property system–there’s no doubt about that in my mind, and when people say they want to be the most competitive economy, they’ve got to have the incentive system. Intellectual property is the incentive system for the products of the future.

    [news.com 1/5]

  • 8th circuit online privacy victory: The RIAA has to actually provide some evidence of copyright infringement, and sue them individually, before it can gain access to individual’s ISP records. This follows the DC Circuit Verizon decision. [eff press release]

  • 12/21: mark pesce on bittorrent & the shutdown of suprnova.org and torrentbits.com: published on Napsterization 12/21. pointer from derek slater

  • dec: Did I mention how depressed I am that Pennsylvania passed the stupid law banning municipalities from providing their own broadband services? At the behest of Verizon, which was alarmed when Philly started plans to provide its own broadband to the entire city. Grr. [news.com 12/1 and 1/4]

copyright round-up

  • Grokster cert granted [12/10]

  • Customs seizure of the Stripburger comic book parody of Richie Rich (“Richie Bush”) — it was “clearly piratical.” Covered by Larry (may I call you Larry? why, thank you) and newsarama. I find it delicious that the parody wasn’t obvious from the cover — so while it may have been or probably was a tip-off, I prefer to imagine Customs agents, bored, idly flipping through comic books, only to suddenly be energized: “Look, Wally! This image is clearly piratical! Get me Seizure Form A2Z-35, stat!
  • Southco v. Kanebridge, 3d Circuit en banc, 12/3/2004: Part numbers for screws aren’t copyrightable. Really.

  • Rossi v. MPAA, 9th Circuit, 12/1/2004: DMCA takedown notices “good faith belief” may be a subjective good faith belief.

  • Kahle v. Ashcroft, N.D. Cal., dismissed. Quel surprise. Lessig et al will appeal.

post-thanksgiving ip & info news

  • Australia & the US continue to work on the bilateral Free Trade Agreement. Australia is now set to implement a notice-and-takedown rules despite criticism of their impact in the US. [news.com.au 11/30]

  • Another due process victory — the RIAA can’t sue the nation en masse, even if they do think it’s cheaper by the dozen/gross/other large quantities. [wendy seltzer reports on the Texas case [11/27]]

  • fluffy spending bill includes funding for copyright czar. p2pnet reports that the Hollywood Reporter reports that:

    Under a “massive $388 billion spending bill Congress approved during the weekend” the president can appoint a copyright law enforcement officer whose job is to coordinate law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping international copyright infringement and to oversee a federal umbrella agency responsible for administering intellectual property law, says the Hollywood Reporter.

    The legislation is part of the bill funding Justice Department operations and for the first time funds the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council, says the story, continuing ominously:

    “NIPLAC is charged with establishing policies, objectives and priorities designed to protect American intellectual property overseas and to coordinate and oversee implementation of intellectual property law enforcement throughout the government. While NIPLAC has been around since the early 1990s, it has never done anything, and appropriators hope that giving the organization $2 million and a new charter will make the office effective.”

    I like the p2pnet description of the story as “ominous”.

    You know, I know we live in the age of the imperial presidency, and we have our own domestic nobility, but why do we keep using the word czar? So annoying.

  • The wacky Dutch courts have now held that perfumes are copyrightable: They are “not only measurable by the senses but also … concrete and stable enough to be considered an authored work, as intended in copyright law”. Lancome v. Kecofa. [In this international world, I’m linking to the story in The Scotsman, 11/25.] This story was rife with interesting details including the fact that few smells have been trademarked in “this country” (Scotland? the Netherlands? unclear) except for “darts smelling of beer”. Don’t darts smell that way naturally?

    Apparently the Dutch Copyright Act of 1912 includes “works of applied art” and “generally any creation in the literary, scientific or artistic areas.”

  • ‘Tis the season: Rudolph Reserve Beer becomes Rude Elf Reserve Beer. This was described as a “copyright fight” by AP 11/25, but surely must be a trademark dispute.

  • Okay, this is not copyright, either, but trademark / right of publicity. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is upset over a plan to import gold coins with Mandela’s image on them. [South Africa, The Star, 11/23]

    What does it mean that so many people are calling all these different claims copyright? It’s like “copyright” has become the new “intellectual property.”

  • The E.D. Pennsylvania ruled on Nov. 12 that copyright management information (CMI) must be proximate to the copyrighted material. Reuse of images from a book, and removing just the copyright statement from the beginning of the book, did not constitute a violation of the DMCA’s CMI provisions.

  • Another DMCA case: Perfect10 is suing Google for indexing its copyrighted images. [complaint @ wendy seltzer’s site]

  • N.D. Cal. judge Maxine Chesney dismissed Kahle v. Ashcroft [11/24] [c|net 11/24. The Internet Archive plans to appeal.]

  • More reality show idea conflicts: This time the plaintiffs are suing TBS & Evolution Film & Tape, alleging that their development of a transgender reality show “He’s a Lady” infringes their copyright in a similar work titled “Sex Change.” They also charge breach of implied-in-fact contract and unfair competition. [businesswire 11/23]

    Oh. My. God. A, no copyright on ideas, please dismiss this claim right away, court. The article says that they “received protection from the U.S. Copyright Office” for their treatment. No ideas, no ideas, no ideas.

    B, how offensive is this:

    Both reality series are about a group of male contestants who believe they are in a competition to become an “All-American Man.” It is soon revealed, however, that they are actually going to be transformed to look and act like women and compete for a monetary prize – living together in a “doll house,” performing stereotypical female tasks and being assessed by a panel of judges – climaxing in a beauty pageant competition.

  • On the First Amendment side of things, Wired has a great new story explaining how recent Senate Commerce Committee, Science, Technology & Space Subcommittee hearings have shown that Internet porn is the worst scourge this nation has seen since CIA-sponsored heroin. [wired 11/19]

    “Pornography really does, unlike other addictions, biologically cause direct release of the most perfect addictive substance,” Satinover said. “That is, it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can’t do, in effect.”

    The internet is dangerous because it removes the inefficiency in the delivery of pornography, making porn much more ubiquitous than in the days when guys in trench coats would sell nudie postcards, Satinover said.

    Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), the subcommittee’s chairman, called the hearing the most disturbing one he’d ever seen in the Senate. Brownback said porn was ubiquitous now, compared to when he was growing up and “some guy would sneak a magazine in somewhere and show some of us, but you had to find him at the right time.”

    Thanks Sen. Brownback for sharing stories from your personal experience. As for Santinover, he is an advisor for a gay-cure group — clearly an unbiased social scientist with no axe to grind. Kudos to Wired for interviewing Carol Queen for the article.

    This all reminds me of a reading I attended some years ago, in which Susie Bright read dirty bits from the Meese Commission on Pornography report. [wikipedia; full-text] Can we have Susie Bright do all the CSpan coverage of these hearings? Please?

  • What is with the FCC these days? Or for that matter with the general government fascination with “indecency” and porn? It would take an entire company of bloggers to keep up with the stories. The mid-November indecency story du jour was the American Family Association’s [turn head to left, spit ceremoniously] attack on ABC’s broadcast of “Saving Private Ryan”, followed swiftly by the Monday Night Football skit or ad or something related to “Desperate Housewives.” Good grief. God forbid our coverage of live celebrations of violence and sexual exploitation (the cheerleaders and beer commercials) should be interrupted by, well, more sexual exploitation.

    The only good thing I saw about this recently was a report about a FOIA request to the FCC regarding its many indecency complaints regarding one of the recent TV incidents. I think there were a hundred or so total but maybe I’m off by a factor of 10? At any rate, there were fewer than the FCC actually claimed. And the really interesting thing is that almost all were form-generated. Total discrete complaints generated by spontaneous citizen outrage: 3. (now where did I see that article? sometime over the long food-stuffed thanksgiving weekend. darn darn darn. when will i remember to save these things when i see them?) [oh right: it was frank rich in the nyt 11/28 on “the great indecency hoax”]

pre-thanksgiving IP round-up

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info news

  • Sex research is stigmatized. [nyt 11/9] Yeah, not least because of the Bush Administration.

  • Microsoft settles antitrust suit by Novell for $536M. [nyt 11/9]

  • FCC asserts federal control over VOIP. [nyt 11/9]

    To subject a global network to disparate local regulatory treatment by 51 different jurisdictions would be to destroy the very qualities that embody the technological marvel that is the Internet.

    Hmm. “[D]isparate local regulatory treatment” … federalism.

  • Margaret Mitchell estate (Gone With the Wind) sues Project Gutenberg. [NYT 11/8]

    PG’s Australian affiliate posted GWTW on the Internet after it entered the public domain in Australia. Unfortunately, thanks to the copyright maximalists & the folks in Congress who just don’t care enough to figure out the issue, the CTEA extended copyright terms in the US, keeping GWTW out of the public domain. Of course the US is busily getting rid of various national public domains through bilateral trade agreements, such as the US-Australia trade agreement.

  • Iran continues censoring Internet speech and access to information, including sites relating to democracy and the rights of women. [NYT 11/8]

more election wisdom

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trauma & healing

I have many thoughts about the last few days, and hopefully I’ll begin to articulate them soon. But I can’t. Not just yet.

In one of her novels, Ursula Le Guin says something like: When you can do something, act. When you can’t act, gather information. When you can’t gather information, sleep.

Well, yesterday I walked the world in a daze, did what I had to do to get through the day, and then began reaching out to friends, comrades, loved ones, and colleagues — my closest friends, friends I haven’t spoken to in years, and folks I have never gotten to know as well as I want to.

And I am seeing an amazing outpouring of wisdom, coping strategies, calls to action, expressions of grief and fear. Some folks are struck dumb, able to express themselves only in short phrases: Depressed. Talk later. Others are already moving ahead and figuring out their next fighting moves.

So, since I can’t, quite, act yet, since I am still grieving, I have decided to gather information. I want to capture this outpouring, chronicle it, and bring together all the reactions of my friends and loved ones.

… more to come

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