Blame authors' fortunes on monopolism, not university professors, booksellers and librarians

The New York Times weighs in on an Authors Guild survey that shows a "drastic 42% decline in authors' earnings over the past decade. John Scalzi offers some important perspective. Read the rest

Failed white supremacist "law-and-order" Toronto mayoral candidate is now breaking the law by selling Canadian coat-of-arms merch

Faith Goldy is the white supremacist who failed in her bid for mayor of Toronto (despite an endorsement from US white supremacist Congressman Steve King); during her campaign, she unsuccessfully sued Canadian media monopolist Bell Media for refusing to run her ads, saddling her with an order to pay $43,117.90 in Bell's legal fees. Read the rest

The re-opening of America's public domain is good news for artists, less so for the corporations that exploit them

With the public domain re-opening for the first time in a generation (thanks, Sonny Bono), artists are once again getting a fresh installment of raw material with which to make new art, in the grand traditions of such driven weirdo/remix enthusiasts as Walt Disney and Brahms. Read the rest

Game design contest: remix America's new public domain!

This is the first day in 20 years for new works entering the American public domain, and to celebrate, Itch.io is hosting a 1923 public domain game jam, with prizes for best analog game, digital game, adaptation of a 9123 work, remix from multiple sources, deep cut, and visuals; judged by a group of archive, game and copyright nerds (including me!) -- here's a list of 1,000+ works that enter the public domain today to get you started! Read the rest

Happy Public Domain day: for real, for the first time in 20 years!

Every year, Jennifer Jenkins and Jamie Boyle from the Duke Center for the Public Domain compile a "Public Domain Day" list (previously) that highlights the works that are not entering the public domain in America, thanks to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which hit the pause button on Americans' ability to freely use their artistic treasures for two decades -- a list that also included the notable works entering the public domain in more sensible countries of the Anglophere, like Canada and the UK, where copyright "only" lasted for 50 years after the author's death. Read the rest

Bryan Adams to Canadian parliament: extending the term of copyright enriches labels and other intermediaries, not artists

Bryan Adams has followed up on his earlier advocacy for a new Canadian copyright deal that benefits artists with a submission to the Canadian Heritage Committee's copyright consultation that argues against longer copyright terms, saying that these enrich large "intermediaries" (entities that sit between artists and their audiences, like record labels and collecting societies) and not artists. Read the rest

Building a high-performance cluster of Gameboy emulators to teach computers to play video games

Kamil Rocki was inspired by the 2016 paper from Google Deepmind researchers explaining how they used machine learning to develop a system that could play Breakout on the Atari 2600 with superhuman proficiency. Read the rest

Only weeks remain until America's Public Domain begins to grow again, for the first time in 21 years!

This New Year's Day, for the first time in 21 years, new works will enter the public domain in America: the Class of 2019 was all creating in 1923, and has been locked in copyright for 96 years. Read the rest

False Flag: my science fiction story about the future of copyright filters in an Article 13 Europe

The Green European Journal has published a package on the proposed new European Copyright Directive: first, an outstanding interview with the rebel Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda (previously); and then a new science fiction story I've written to show what a future where our speech is governed by unaccountable black-box copyright censorbots might look like: "False Flag." Read the rest

Chestburster Christmas Ornament (and other delights)

The Alien Chestburster Christmas Ornament is just the thing to finish your nerdmas tree; it's from Pittsburgh's Creature Replicas, who will also sell you a life-size 'burster, a fossil Tremors graboid, or some damned fine Aliens magnets. Read the rest

Podcast: "Sole and Despotic Dominion" and "What is the Internet For?"

Here's my reading (MP3) of my Locus column, "What is the Internet For?" (which asks, "Is the internet a revolutionary technology?") and my short story for the fiftieth anniversary of Reason Magazine, Sole and Despotic Dominion, which builds on my 2015 Guardian column, If Dishwashers Were iPhones.

MP3 Read the rest

Gorgeous retro Star Wars propaganda posters

Russell Walks' astounding and vast collection of licensed, retro-styled Star Wars propaganda posters are also available in postcard form. Read the rest

Adam Ruins Big Tech: how monopolies, DRM, EULAs, and predatory tactics have delivered our dystopian future

The latest episode of the always-outstanding Adam Ruins Everything (previously) is my favorite yet: a wide-ranging look at the way that tech has exploited policy loopholes to monopolize control over repairs, features, parts and consumables; to spy on users; to use predatory pricing to crush competitors; to avoid taxation; and to become a force for oligarchic control. Read the rest

Canal+ commits copyfraud, gets Banksy's painting-shredding video removed from Youtube

In October, a delightful prank by the artist Banksy involved a painting of his shredding itself shortly after a Sotheby's bidder committed to spending £1.04m to buy it. Read the rest

Eclectic Method's latest remix asks 'Is it illegal if you take just one note?"

Barcelona-based Eclectic Method is most known for his remix songs that are based on pop culture (previously).

Now he's trying something new, an experiment that's a little risky. He writes:

Here's a video remix made from samples no longer than 0.5 seconds from 107 different artists. Madonna won her court case over the use of a 0.23 second horn stab in "Vogue". Sabrina Setlur won her courtcase for unauthorized use of 2 seconds of Kraftwerk. So I have been wondering how long is too long when it comes to sampling. This video remix is to test out the algorithm. Will YouTube's copyright ID system take offence at Taylor Swifts voice appearing for 0.14 seconds and her face occupying 18% of the screen... Who knows?

If you're seeing the video, congrats, it hasn't been shut down yet. Read the rest

Haunted Mansion wallpaper, wrapping paper, and fabric!

Spoonflower's gorgeous selection of Haunted Mansion patterns can be printed on demand on wallpaper, giftwrap, or fabric: from the green strips of the maids' uniforms to the purple and black stripes of the butler's vests, to motifs picked up from the characters and decor (tightrope walker girl's floral print, hitchhiking ghosts, Leota's seance room), the variety is amazing. (via Disney's Haunted Mansion) Read the rest

Argentine hacker mods Furby so it quotes Borges, creates a "Borgy"

Argentine hacker [Roni Bandini] modded a 1998 Furby so that it responds to stimulus by rattling off a random quote from Jorge Luis Borges. He calls it "Borgy." Read the rest

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