Alek sez, "The boundless archive of the NYT has spat out for me an article about Mark Twain's cunning plan to beat the early 20th century copyright law, with its short copyright terms. In short, Twain planned to republish every one of his works the moment it went out of copyright, with one-third more content in the shape of his serialized bibliography. He hoped that availability of such 'premium' version will make prints based on the out-of-copyright version less desirable on the market. There's a gem in the first paragraph - the author suggests that Twain's plan 'makes the present copyright law look like a very sick and discomfited pirate, indeed.' So, who's the pirate here?!"
Siva Vaidhyanathan sez, "I have an entire chapter in my first book about Twain and his shifting ideas about copyright. At the beginning, he was totally tolerant -- even celebratory -- about use, re-use, and revision. And he loved cheap books, so he was critical of efforts toward a treaty with the British and for term extension.
Only later, when he was old and worried that his daughters could not make a living for themselves, did he get interested in perpetual copyright. His plan was indeed wacky. But it reveals a lot about the status of authorship and the state of American publishing at the turn of the 20th century. (See Copyrights and Copywrongs, Ch. 2)"
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]