Boing Boing 

When copyright term-extension meets infinite life-extension

Madcap science fiction paragon Paul Di Filippo's column in the latest Fantasy and Science Fiction takes the form of a short story demonstrating a new (to me) potential consequence of lifetime-based copyrights, human longevity, and the idea that copyrights should be extended to benefit a creator's descendants.

By all rights, Rajah Robot and Poxy Toff belonged to me, as Arden Pence's only relative! But the immutable laws of ownership and copyright—unchanged since the distant twenty-first century, thanks to the Disney corporation and pals: life plus seventy years!—insured that Rajah and Poxy would remain in my father's negligent and uncaring hands. How very unfair!

My father had certainly derived enough income from them already, enough to sustain him for the rest of his immortal years, and plainly he had no more interest in crafting exciting new adventures for his widely beloved characters. I, however, had great ideas about how to revive the franchise, and place it once again at the top of the entertainment pyramid. A complete reboot, employing the writerly skills I had inherited from Dad, but had never been able to utilize. Rajah Robot would no longer have access to multiple bodies, you see, while little Poxy Toff would have to grow up at last into attractive womanhood. As for Flora Aurora and Badfinger Bill—

But it pained me even to contemplate these thrilling changes. I would never get to initiate them, so long as the stubborn and passive old man lived. He was an insurmountable roadblock to my own happy future, and to the potential new enjoyment of billions of eager percipients.

And so I saw no other recourse than to commit a despicable patricide.

Plumage from Pegasus (Thanks, Paul!)

(Image: The secret of Longevity!, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from tom-margie's photostream)

Paul Allen on the singularity

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and AI scientist Mark Greaves are pessimistic about the prospect of a technological singularity in the intermediate future: "If [it] is to arrive by 2045, it will take unforeseeable and fundamentally unpredictable breakthroughs." [Technology Review]

Book news: "Rapture of the Nerds" and Little Brother II

Two bits of glad tidings: first, Charlie Stross announces that we've turned in the manuscript for our collaborative, post-Singularity comic novel Rapture of the Nerds; second, my agent Russ Galen has sold Homeland, the sequel to my 2008 novel Little Brother, to Tor, in "a significant deal."

True Names in Polish

"True Names," the Hugo-nominated novella that Benjamin Rosenbaum and I published in 2008, has been republished in a CC-licensed Polish edition, courtesy of Ireneusz Dybczyński.