Prolific and talented D&D map-drawer

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Dyson Logos's G+ account is an endlessly scrolling inventory of hand-drawn D&D maps, each one cooler than the last. Read the rest

EFF to FDA: the DMCA turns medical implants into time-bombs

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation just filed comments with the FDA in its embedded device cybersecurity docket, warning the agency that manufacturers have abused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, threatening security researchers with lawsuits if they came forward with embarrassing news about defects in the manufacturers' products. Read the rest

Zombie company Atari wants exclusive right to make haunted house games

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Atari was once a giant of video game innovation, but now it's a troll -- a company that produces nothing except legal threats -- and its latest project is to get the US Patent and Trademark Office to give it the right to decide who can make haunted house games, and charge the lucky few for the privilege. Read the rest

The Gimmick Economy: how central banks pretend software isn't eating the world

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Mathematician/economist Eric R Weinstein is managing director of Thiel Capital, but that doesn't mean that he thinks capitalism has a future. Read the rest

R2-D2 derby

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You know, for your Star Wars/Mary Poppins mashup theme wedding! $550 from Etsy seller The Blonde Swan, who makes them to order, and will also do you a BB-8 bowler (same price) if that's your thing. (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations

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Printer manufacturer Lexmark hates America, and everything good and right in the world, because we keep stubbornly insisting that if we buy a printer cartridge, we can refill it, because it's ours.

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Watch: nomination hearings for the next Librarian of Congress, 11:15AM PT

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Carla Hayden is President Obama's pick for the next Librarian of Congress, and she's an extraordinarily good choice: an open-access advocate who opposes mass surveillance and comes out of the library world, Hayden is ideally poised to lead the Library, which, in turn, supervises the Copyright Office and sets the nation's de facto IT policy, for example through things like the Triennial DMCA 1201 hearings). Read the rest

Supreme Court sends Authors Guild packing, won't hear Google Books case

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The Authors Guild has been trying to get a court to shut down Google's book-scanning/book-search program for more than a decade. Read the rest

Kickstarting Bloc by Bloc: a game about radical insurrection

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Rocket Lee writes, "In Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game, players struggle together to overthrow a repressive government and liberate a randomized city that changes with each game. To win, players must build barricades, loot shopping centers, occupy strategic locations, clash with riot cops and defend liberated zones before time runs out and the military arrives. Each player is also dealt an individual faction agenda and those with Vanguardist or Nihilist agendas are secretly playing to win the game alone." Read the rest

High tech/high debt: the feudal future of technology makes us all into lesser lessors

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Sarah Jeong continues her excellent series of critical perspectives on technology with a piece on the way that technology is being used to let computers control their users, on behalf of the corporations who make and sell these tools. Read the rest

Serious, pointing people are always better with budgies

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If you need any proof, look no further than this thread on b3ta's Add an animal challenge. Read the rest

Paramount wants to kill a fan-film by claiming copyright on the Klingon language

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The crowdfunded, critically successful fan-film Prelude to Axanar has been in Paramount's cross-hairs since late last year, when the studio filed suit against the film's producers.

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Piracy dooms motion picture industry to yet another record-breaking box-office year

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Once again the MPAA has released its box-office numbers for the year, and once again, this year has smashed all records (as has been the case throughout our young century) (really!). As always, the astronomical rise-and-rise of their fortunes is somehow used to launch a call for more publicly subsidized enforcement against "piracy." Read the rest

'We Shall Overcome' copyright may be overcome by same lawyers who freed 'Happy Birthday' into public domain

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A song that became the "unofficial anthem to the civil rights movement" was wrongly placed under copyright, and should be released into the public domain. That's the argument in a lawsuit filed today in federal court over the song "We Shall Overcome."

Who's behind it? The same group of lawyers who fought for years to free "Happy Birthday" from copyright prison.

The 'Happy Birthday' case succeeded at last just a few months ago, and made it safe for little kids all over the world to sing the song over candlelit cakes at birthday parties, without fear of attorneys knocking on the door demanding royalty payments.

The new copyright battle is a proposed class action lawsuit that asks for copyright licensing fees to be returned. The case argues that royalties were wrongfully collected by Ludlow Music Inc. and The Richmond Organization, which claimed copyright over "We Shall Overcome" in 1960. But the song is probably based on an old African-American spiritual, according to popular belief--and the lawsuit.

The song is based on “an African-American spiritual with exactly the same melody and nearly identical lyrics from the late 19th or early 20th century,” reads the complaint.

"This was never copyrightable to begin with," Mark Rifkin, an attorney for the plaintiff, told Reuters Tuesday. "The song had been in the public domain for many, many years before anyone tried to copyright it."

From Reuters:

The We Shall Overcome Foundation, the plaintiff, is seeking to produce a documentary film about song and its relationship to the civil rights movement.

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Cassetteboy's latest video is an amazing, danceable anti-Snoopers Charter mashup

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Cassetteboy, last seen with this amazing video about David Cameron's relationship with dead pigs, is back with a new video that mashes up the UK Prime Minister and Home Secretary/Sith Lord Theresa May describing the real powers in the notorious Snoopers Charter (a far-reaching spying bill), set to the Police's "I'll Be Watching You" (what else?). Read the rest

SAVE COMCAST!

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The World Wide Web Consortium, once the world's most trusted source of open standards, is helping Comcast make a DRM standard designed to give studios a veto over the legal use of their programming -- something that would have prevented the cable industry from ever coming into being. Read the rest

MIT panel on the W3C's decision to make DRM part of the Web's "open" standards

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The World Wide Web Consortium spent more than 20 years making standards that remove barriers to developers who want to make Web technology; now, for the first time, they're creating a standard that makes it a crime to make Web technology without permission from the entertainment industry. Read the rest

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