Lethem, Vaidhyanathan, et al talk copyright and plagiarism on NPR tonight

Science fiction author and MacArthur genius grantee Jonathan Lethem had a stupendous article on copyright and plagiarism in last month's Harper's (be sure to read it right through to the end!).

Now, Siva Vaidhyanathan writes in with the news that, "Tonight on the PRI show 'Radio Open Source,' Christopher Lydon will interview novelist Jonathan Lethem, author Siva Vaidhyanathan, and musicians Mark Hosler (of Negativland) and Mike Doughty (of Soul Coughing) about the politics of plagiarism and originality. — Read the rest

Inspiring Vaidhyanathan interview

Paul Schmeizer has posted a brilliant interview with copyright scholar and author Siva Vaidhyanathan, in which Siva just showers the page with inspiring and insightful quotations. Must-read.

Both democracy and creative culture share this notion that they work best when the raw materials are cheap and easy and easily distributed.

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Deleting Facebook is not enough: without antitrust, the company will be our lives' "operating system"

Facebook is the poster-child for the techlash, the worst offender in the monopolistic bunch, and recent books like Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan (previously) and Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier present variations on the main critiques of Facebook with some prescriptions for what to do about it.

Google and the "capacity for audacity"

"Google's modus operandi is to step into a vacuum that used to be the function of the state. Think about Google Books as a cheap replacement for libraries, which should be connecting people to all that learning. Or consider the clumsy pseudo-diplomatic role Google played earlier this year in its showdown with China. — Read the rest

Copyright-maximalist judges plagiarize lawblogger in opinion

The judges in a Dutch copyright case plagiarized a legal blogger in writing their opinion. The case held that framing and embedding is a form of copyright infringement (a maximalist copyright view that I find pretty dubious as a policy matter), and the relevant section from the opinion, "in case law and legal literature it is generally held that an embedded link constitutes a publication. — Read the rest

Jonathan Lethem's CHRONIC CITY, surreal and beautiful sf explores the authentic and the unreal

Jonathan Lethem's extraordinary new novel Chronic City tells the story of Chase Insteadman, a washed up, grown up child actor living off his sitcom residuals in wealthy, Upper East Side New York. Chase is caught between two improbabilities: his fiancee, a dying astronaut stranded on a space-station walled off from Earth by a Chinese orbital minefield, from which vantage she commands daily headlines; and Perkus Tooth, a media-obsessed Philip-K-Dickian ex-rock-critic who lives in a weed-smoke- filled cave of a rent- controlled apartment from which he obsessively watches obscure movies and reads obscure books. — Read the rest

Do you remember your first Google?

Siva sez, "For the book he is writing called The Googlization of Everything, Siva Vaidhyanathan wants to know:"

Do you remember the first time you used Google? When was it? How did you hear about Google? What was you first impression?

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Freedom of Expression® screening at NYU, 9PM

Siva sez, "In cooperation with the Media Education Foundation and La Lutta, Free Culture @ NYU is screening Freedom of Expression®: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property at 9pm on Thursday, January 31.
Narrated by Naomi Klein, the film features interviews with Stanford Law's Lawrence Lessig, Illegal Art Show curator Carrie McLaren, Negativland’s Mark Hosler, UVA media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan, and Free Culture @ NYU co-founder Inga Chernyak, among many others. — Read the rest

Mark Twain's nutty 1906 plan to extend copyright

Alek sez, "The boundless archive of the NYT has spat out for me an article about Mark Twain's cunning plan to beat the early 20th century copyright law, with its short copyright terms. In short, Twain planned to republish every one of his works the moment it went out of copyright, with one-third more content in the shape of his serialized bibliography. — Read the rest

Lethem's new novel: daffy and precise love story about art-rockers

I just finished Jonathan Lethem's latest novel, You Don't Love Me Yet, a funny, quiet, improbable book about an art-rock band in Los Angeles that might be making it big.

I'm an enormous Lethem fan, and have been since Gun With Occasional Music, a hard-boiled detective story by way of Philip K Dick, and I particularly love how versatile he is, every book really different from the last. — Read the rest

VA Tech killer's digital vanity package (NPR News "Xeni Tech")

  • For today's edition of the NPR News program "Day to Day," I filed a report on internet reactions around the release of a so-called "multimedia manifesto" by the Virginia Tech murderer, Seung-hui Cho. After shooting two people, and before killing 30 more, he mailed a package to NBC News which included photos of himself posing with weapons; videos of him rambling in threatening, narcissistic psychobabble; and a long, written diatribe.
  • Read the rest