" is a long-running t-shirt gag (here's another variant
, one from Threadless
, an old Ebay auction
... there's certainly many more!). I like it a lot.
(via Wil Wheaton
Naomi Novik isn't just a talented author (she won the John W Campbell Award for best new writer in 2007 on the strength of her fabulous Temeraire novels, which retell the Napoleonic wars with dragons providing air-support!), she's also a profound thinker on the questions of reuse, remixing, intellectual freedom and copyright.
Last week she gave testimony (PDF) to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet that described the way that creators rely on their ability to remix in order to create new and original works.
One thing I love about Novik is her intellectual honesty and her willingness to cut through the self-serving, romantic mythology of the wholly original creator, and to both acknowledge and celebrate the fact that her originality comes about by taking the works that others created before her and adapting them through her own artistic process, "Original work, work that stands alone, doesn't just pop up out of nowhere. It is at the end of a natural spectrum of transformation."
I also appreciated her strong arguments as licensing as a substitute for robust fair use: "On the purely practical level, the vast majority of remix artists doing non-commercial work simply don't have any of the resources to get a license — not money, not time, not access."
Novik's testimony is admirably summarized by Dr Matthew Rimmer in this Techdirt post. Rimmer is a global expert in fair use and copyright, and he highlights many of the most salient features of Novik's testimony.
I would like to publicly express my gratitude on behalf of writers everywhere to Naomi Novik for standing up for a fair deal for creators and audiences in Congress.
Read the rest
Neil Gaiman reads Dr Seuss's children's classic "Green Eggs and Ham" in this video, produced to celebrate $500,000 in donations to Patrick Rothfuss's Wordbuilders fundraiser, which is raising money for Project Heifer, a charity that helps farmers around the world with livestock and training.
Patrick's fundraiser has loads of great items for sale; I've donated some signed books that'll be up shortly. It's a great cause that I'm delighted to support.
WATCH ME READ GREEN EGGS AND HAM. WATCH ME, WATCH ME, SAM I AM.
Etsy seller Christopher Genovese made this $190 KRANG belt-buckle that recreates the experience of being a mecha-suit used by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain. It's the perfect thing for holding your pants up on casual Fridays.
KRANG from TMNT oversized belt buckle
Personal Audio is a patent troll that claims to own the process of sending audio around because they bought a patent from a guy who read Scientific American articles onto cassette tapes and sent them through the mail (seriously!). The Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking to invalidate this patent -- which Personal Audio is using to shake down all kinds of indie podcasters for protection money -- using a new, cheaper, streamlined process.
Personal Audio is fighting dirty. They've filed an expensive lawsuit outside of the patent proceeding, and subpoenaed the names and personal details of everyone who donated to the campaign against their patent, purely to raise the price of adjudicating their patent and to intimidate podcasters who gave to the litigation fund rather than paying off Personal Audio.
EFF is fighting back. At stake is the process that is supposed to fix one tiny corner of the patent quagmire -- if Personal Audio's tactic succeeds, it will kill Congress's patent-fix dead.
The Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic at Stanford Law School has offered free counsel to anyone who's worried about the subpoena.
Read the rest
Phineas Narco sends us The Scientology Remix Project , "Broadcast on KFJC, May 9th 2013, mixed live with JC Clone and Phineas Narco on The Mr. Pumpkinhead Show on KFJC in Los Altos Hills, CA.
This was a show remixing samples having to do with, and deconstructing, the controversy of Scientology/Dianetics.
Originally a four hour program presented here on bandcamp (newly today) in post-produced, synthesized, 3-hour 'Narco Edit' digest form.
Available on a name-your-own-price basis."
The Scientology Remix Project
Yesterday marked the expiry of US Patent 5597589, "Apparatus for producing parts by selective sintering." This is one of the core patents in the 3D printing world -- the patent that allows 3D printer companies to charge more for fine nylon powder than Michelin-starred restaurants charge for filet mignon. The high cost of consumables in 3D printing has been a major barrier to innovation in the field -- selective laser sintering produces a fine finish that the patent-free fused deposition modeling technique used in Reprap-style printers can't match -- and now the brakes are coming off.
However, there are still lots of patents (including some genuinely terrible ones) in the 3D printing world, so the expiry of 5597589 doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see a flood of cheap printers and cheaper feedstock -- given the murkiness of the overlapping patent claims and the expense of litigating each one of them, radical new entrants into the field are still facing a lot of risk that has nothing to do with making great products at a fair price.
In a good piece on 3D Print, Eddie Krassenstein speculates about the scary supplementary laser-sintering patents lurking in the wings, pointing out that Stratasys (the major competitor of 3D Systems, who owned 5597589) didn't design their entry-lever printers to use SLS, even though they knew that the patent would be expiring in early 2014. Krassenstein suggests that this means that Stratasys knows about some other gnarly and deadly patent that would torpedo them if they went SLS.
But I'm a lot less convinced than Krassenstein is about the potential of a competitor taking the risky step of making a SLS printer that sticks to the claims in 5597589. Virtually every technical idea is covered by a stupid, overbroad patent, and yet people start businesses every day that open them to legal liability from a troll or an entrenched incumbent. If the potential for a patent suit was, in itself, a sufficient deterrent to raising capital and starting a business, we wouldn't see any startups. And a company that sticks to the claims in 5597589 has a powerful weapon in any patent suit: the USPTO granted 5597589 20 years ago, and so if they granted overlapping patents since, they were manifestly in error, a matter that is relatively (in patent terms, anyway) easy to prove.
Read the rest
Etsy seller Migotochou created these earrings sporting custom Haunted Mansion beads inspired by the Disney ride's iconic wallpaper. (via The Haunted Mansion Disney)
The Application Developers Alliance is trying to nail Lodsys, the notorious troll that uses a bogus patent from Intellectual Ventures to extort money from app developers. Lodsys is shrouded in mystery, uses global banks to avoid tax, and uses its patent claims to try to bankrupt companies that publicly call it out for trolling. The ADA is asking for developers who've been threatened by Lodsys to fill in a survey
that will establish the evidentiary basis for fighting back against the Lodsys racket and maybe put an end to it. (via Techdirt
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Want to help save democracy?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a super-secretive trade agreement that threatens everything you care about. It's been negotiated behind closed doors with ample input from over 600 corporate lobbyists -- but no access for journalists or the public. Sound bad? It gets worse. The corporate interest groups pushing for the TPP are the same folks that brought us SOPA, ACTA, and NAFTA."
Read the rest
The Writers Guild of America submitted an exemplary set of comments to the U.S. Government's Internet Policy Task Force green paper on the future of American copyright. The WGA calls for balance in copyright law, and stresses that censorship, surveillance and chilling of critical speech have no place in copyright policy. It's amazing to see artists' groups taking a stand for free expression when it comes to copyright -- far too often, arts groups are staunch free speech defenders except when it comes to unproven accusations of copyright infringement, which they hold to be sufficient grounds for arbitrary censorship.
But artists who think the issue through know that communications policies like copyright can't do their job if they compromise free expression. Artists have a wide variety of business-models and commercial opportunities, but if you're making art in a way that requires total surveillance and arbitrary censorship, you're doing art wrong.
Torrentfreak summarizes the best of the WGA submission. It's an important read: it shows that the entertainment industry's regulatory agenda doesn't serve the creators they employ (and exploit).
Read the rest
A Dutch court has ruled that the country's ISPs need no longer block The Pirate Bay. The court ruled that the block was disproportionate and ineffective, and ordered (notoriously corrupt) rightsholder group BREIN to pay restitution to ISPs, including XS4ALL, an ISP with a long tradition of fighting for free speech and the open net.
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Inspired by the news that King.com -- creators of the game "Candy Crush" -- had received a trademark on the use of the words "candy" and "saga" in connection with video games (and other things) and were using it to censor its competition, Michael Brough's created a fun -- and trenchant -- text-adventure called Candy Quest 3: Edge of Sweetness. It's part of The Candy Jam, an indie game-jam created entirely to troll the butthead corporate overlords at King.com.
Read the rest
Might Mike's Imagine/Jump mashup has a lot of precision in its execution, a great tempo/pitch match. I can't say as it's the catchiest tune I've yet heard, but I can really appreciate the execution.
Mighty Mike - Imagine a jump (John Lennon vs. Van Halen)
Patrick Boivin is a stop-motion animation genius who does insanely amazing and expressive things with cheap action figures. I could watch Einstein kicking Vader's ass for hours.
Patrick Boivins' channel
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)