Crazy copyright bot threatens those who tweet tiny poem

This has to be some kind of brilliant hoax: a Twitter 'attribution troll' is showering threats on anyone who tweets a popular one-line poem.

Read the rest

No new public domain works for US until 2019

At The Economist, Glenn Fleishman laments the freezing of the public domain in America under relentless entertainment-industry lobbying, even as Europeans enjoy an annual movement of cultural history to it: "While much of the rest of the world may take cheer from mass migration of material to the public domain each year, America has not seen one since the 1970s, nor will it until 2019."

Tracking Oscar screener piracy, the 2013 edition

Since 2003, Waxy.org's Andy Baio has been documenting evidence of pirated/leaked Oscars screeners— in other words, copies of nominated films sent to Academy Awards voters which then make their way on to filesharing networks. The 2013 edition of his spreadsheet is out. He'll post analysis tomorrow. "Most shocking find so far," he tweets, "The Les Misérables screener hasn't leaked online yet. Everyone knows pirates love musicals!"

Dale Chihuly at VMFA, and photography and accessibility of art

I visited a new Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA today. A guard told me that while photography is generally prohibited in the museum, Chihuly explicitly demands photography of his work be allowed, and that there be no physical barriers between visitors and the glass creations. This desire for accessibility and openness made me appreciate his work in a new way. Here are some snapshots I took of the show.

Read the rest

The coming civil war over general purpose computing

Even if we win the right to own and control our computers, a dilemma remains: what rights do owners owe users?

Read the rest

Electronics Arts files lawsuit against Zynga

There are plenty of boots out there trying to squish this bug, but Electronic Arts' are the biggest yet. What was that Aliens vs. Predator tagline again? [NYT]

Charles Carreon drops lawsuit against The Oatmeal

The EFF reports that Charles Carreon has withdrawn his mad lawsuit against Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal.

Attorney Charles Carreon dropped his bizarre lawsuit against The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman today, ending his strange legal campaign against Inman's humorous and creative public criticism of a frivolous cease and desist letter that Carreon wrote on behalf of his client Funny Junk.

To recap briefly: website FunnyJunk hosted many unauthorized copies of Inman's work. Inman mocked it. FunnyJunk threatened to sue him for mocking it. Inman mocked it again and established a wildly successful charity drive to lampoon FunnyJunk and fight cancer. Carreon soiled his legal drawers and dragged Inman, the charities, anonymous critics, and the entire Internet's attention into a demented knot of litigation. Now this. What will the new dawn bring?

Update: Charles Carreon: "Mission accomplished"

EU: software licenses may be sold by consumers

The European Union's Court of Justice ruled today that software licenses may be resold.

By its judgment delivered today, the Court explains that the principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website. Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right.

The case concerned Oracle, which sued UsedSoft, a German company which bought and resold "used" software licenses which provided access to software downloads.

Political cartoonist angry

Cartoonist Donna Barstow often broaches political themes.

Paging Charles Carreon! Someone on the internet wants money from mocking critics, but may need a hand with the legal not-so-niceties.

Slate cartoonist Donna Barstow railed on Monday at online forum Something Awful, whose denizens often repost her work and subject it to withering ridicule. Though one of many artists to find their work attacked online, Barstow is fighting back, demanding payment and accusing the site of copyright infringement.

Read the rest

Miami Heat owner sues blogger over photo

Miami Heat stakeholder Ranaan Katz is suing a blogger over an "unflattering" photo published online, reports Tim Elfrink in The Miami New Times. In the lawsuit, Katz claims copyright violation; coincidentally, the blogger—who has not removed the photo at his site—is a noted critic of Katz. Katz's lawyer, Todd Levine, even threatened the New Times in a Streisand-tastic effort to prevent it running a story about his lawsuit. [New Times via GigaOm]

Tetris: mere ruleset or copyrighted expression?


What makes Tetris Tetris? The mobile app explosion threw gasoline on the game's already-numbing history of copyright battles. At Ars Technica, Kyle Orland takes a look at the Tetris Company's endless efforts to kill them. These efforts hinge on a seemingly straightforward question: is Tetris simple enough to be defined by a set of rules (to which copyright cannot apply) or does it qualify as protected expression? Rob

Google lawyer on Oracle victory: "People are treating patents like lottery tickets"

Google defeated Oracle's claims regarding Java in the Android operating system. But at what cost? Google's general council writes: "The case illustrates the cost when the patent system doesn't work well. It costs millions of dollars to invalidate bad patents. That's money we'd rather spend on great new products for people to use." [Ars Technica]

TOM THE DANCING BUG: "Revenge of the God," In Which The Avengers Must Face Their Creator!!

Support Tom the Dancing Bug and receive BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES by joining the INNER HIVE right now!

“I used to spend 20 dollars a year on TOM THE DANCING BUG collections… Happy to support him and pass the word.” -Neil Gaiman, Inner Hive member since last week

Read the rest

Kitteh©

Alexis Madrigal and BuzzFeed's Jonah Peretti discuss the copyright issues surrounding cute animal pictures: "Users of [other] sites surface photos that in some cases have been shared around the Internet for a decade. In those cases, even if BuzzFeed editors try to track down the creator, which Peretti assures me they do, they probably won't find whoever uploaded the photo of every obese cat." [The Atlantic]

Zazzle removes mug for hypothetical copyright infringement

Instapaper creator Marco Arment used Zazzle to sell a mug. The mug was emblazoned with a fictional Amazon/Appstore-style review lampooning foolish, entitled users. Zazzle removed it because the "design contains an image or text that may be subject to copyright", and cancelled more than 100 outstanding orders. [Marco] Update: Reinstated!