Lawrence and Wishart, a radical press founded in 1936 and formerly associated with the Communist Party of Great Britain, has asserted a copyright over "Marx-Engels Collected Works," a series of $25-50-ish hardcovers, and demanded that they be removed from the Marxist Internet Archive. As Scott McLemee notes, the editions in question were "prepared largely if not entirely with the support of old-fashioned, Soviet-era Moscow gold" and consist, in large part, of arguments about the moral bankruptcy and corrupting influence of claims of private property.
During the Jubilee, someone -- probably Banksy -- posted a graffiti mural on the side of a Poundland discount shop depicting a child working in a sweatshop sewing bunting with the Union flag on it. The mural attracted great attention in Wood Green, the district of London where it appeared, and local councillors took steps to ensure that it was not removed or painted over by overzealous city workers.
Then, one day, it disappeared. And reappeared in the catalog of Fine Art Auctions in Miami, with an asking price of $500,000. The auction house (which hasn't returned any press calls on the work) claims that it got the Banksy (or "Banksy") from a collector who assured them that it had been acquired through legal means. The Poundland shop says it had nothing to do with flogging the piece, and no one can get the building's owner on the phone.
Meanwhile, a piece of freely given art that decries capitalism and exploitation has been removed from the neighbourhood that was so proud of it, and is up for sale for half a million dollars in America.
Poundland, the store from which the artwork was removed, has tweeted that it is “NOT responsible for either selling or removing the Banksy mural,” adding that it does not own the building in question and has been unable to contact the owner so far to find out more, while local politician Alan Strickland has already launched a campaign for the artwork to be returned.
Talking to reporters, Strickland explained that “Banksy gave this art for free to our community, so we’re all angry that it’s been removed and put on sale for $500,000 in the U.S. We’re trying to track down who is responsible. We’re not certain who removed it, but we’re absolutely certain we want it back!”
Irony is not dead.
Banksy Work Cut Out of Wall, Offered at Auction for More Than $500K [Graeme McMillan/Wired]
Microsoft has (kind of) acquired Netscape, buying many of its key patents and assets from erstwhile owner AOL. Early Netscape employee JWZ calls it "brand necrophilia" and adds, "I assume that this means that ValueClick will now be suing Microsoft over the cookie patent instead of AOL, if that's still going on. There are no winners here." AOL says the sale was made at a loss, for the tax-break.
Microsoft will acquire all the patents surrounding the Netscape browser, while AOL will still own the actual brand. That extends to the Netscape business, which was once an ISP, as well as the URL for the brand.
Netscape was one of the factors behind Microsoft’s entry into the wide world of the internet, prompting them to license Mosaic source code and turn it into Internet Explorer. Fitting, then, that everything has come full circle, and Microsoft has purchased patents behind IE’s raison d’être.