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)"
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
The Black Friday Mac Bundle 2.0 is one of the Boing Boing Store’s best-selling Mac bundles yet, and it’s about to come to an end. If you don’t get your copy now, here’s what you’ll be missing:This bundle comes packing 9 top-rated Mac apps in one package, at the hugely discounted price of just $23.99. […]
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]