Podcast of Affordances: a new science fiction story that climbs the terrible technology adoption curve

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my short story "Affordances," which was commissioned for Slate/ASU's Future Tense Fiction. it's a tale exploring my theory of "the shitty technology adoption curve," in which terrible technological ideas are first imposed on poor and powerless people, and then refined and normalized until they are spread over all the rest of us. Read the rest

"Affordances": a new science fiction story that climbs the terrible technology adoption curve

"Affordances" is my new science fiction story for Slate/ASU's Future Tense project; it's a tale exploring my theory of "the shitty technology adoption curve," in which terrible technological ideas are first imposed on poor and powerless people, and then refined and normalized until they are spread over all the rest of us. Read the rest

Haunted Mansion/Ikea mashup tee

Nothing conjures up the eldritch geometries that are the secret fuel of Disney's Haunted Mansion like the hair-pulling geometrical puzzles posed by Ikea assembly instructions: hence, Spöke Håus, $20 and up on Teefury, proving once again that trademark violation is your best entertainment dollar. Read the rest

A new copyright bill would be a disaster for how regular people use the internet

[My EFF colleague Katharine is back with a very important message about a singularly stupid and dangerous legislative proposal that is steamrolling through Congress; even by the standards of stupid and dangerous Congressional copyright rules, this one is an exception -Cory]

Every year, for a couple of years now, Congress has debated passing some version of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act). It’s supposed to be the answer to artists’ prayers: a quicker, cheaper way to deal with infringement than going to court. But the way this bill is written (and re-written, and re-written, and re-written) doesn’t do that. It just makes it easy to bankrupt people for sharing memes. Read the rest

Podcast: False Flag

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Green European Journal short story about the terrible European Copyright Directive which passed last March, False Flag. Published in December 2018, the story highlights the ways in which this badly considered law creates unlimited opportunities for abuse, especially censorship by corporations who've been embarassed by whistleblowers and activists.

The crew couldn’t even supply their videos to friendly journalists to rebut the claims from the big corporate papers. Just *linking* to a major newspaper required a paid license, and while the newspapers licensed to one another so they could reference articles in rival publications, the kinds of dissident, independent news outlets that had once provided commentary and analysis of what went into the news and what didn’t had all disappeared once the news corporations had refused to license the right to link to them.

Agata spoke with a lawyer she knew, obliquely, in guarded hypotheticals, and the lawyer confirmed what she’d already intuited.

“Your imaginary friend has no hope. They’d have to out themselves in order to file a counterclaim, tell everyone their true identity and reveal that they were behind the video. Even so, it would take six months to get the platforms to hear their case, and by then the whole story would have faded from the public eye. And if they *did* miraculously get people to pay attention again? Well, the fakers would just get the video taken offline again. It takes an instant for a bot to file a fake copyright claim.

Read the rest

CBC sues Canada's Conservative Party for using short debate clips in campaign materials

Canada's Conservative Party is terrible, and it has terrible policies, and it will be terrible for Canada if they are elected. I already voted against them with my mail-in ballot. That said, the CBC is 100% wrong to sue the Tories for copyright infringement over the inclusion of short debate clips in Conservative campaign websites and tweets. Read the rest

Celebrate tomorrow's Day Against DRM with a dustjacket that demands the right to read

Greg from the Free Software Foundation writes, "Celebrate Saturday's International Day Against DRM with this shareable "dead tree" book dust jacket!" Read the rest

Fatboy Slim mashes up Greta Thunberg's UN speech

Greta Thunberg's Joan of Arc-grade tongue-lashing to the world's leaders at the UN makes for some incredible mashup possibilities: it's not merely that her excellent delivery lent itself to death metal, but also her use of the phrase "right here, right now," was tailor-made for insertion into Fatboy Slim's track of the same name -- hence Fatboy Slim himself playing Twitter user David Scott's remix at a gig in Gateshead. Read the rest

The terrible "Blurred Lines" copyright decision is now threatening Lil Nas X and Cardi B

Back in 2015, the Marvin Gaye estate secured a bizarre copyright judgment against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over their hit song "Blurred Lines," in which the Gaye estate argued (successfully) that even though "Blurred Lines" didn't copy Gaye's songs, it copied the feeling of Gaye's music -- that is, that Thicke and Williams made a song that reminded people of Gaye. Read the rest

Posters that mash up Talking Heads songs with pulp covers and vintage ads

Todd Alcott -- purveyor of "Cultural Mashups" and "Ephemera Set to Music" -- created this incredible set of six posters that mash up vintage ads, pulp covers, and posters with Talking Heads songs, which leaves me both excited at the thought that these will soon grace my walls (they're available as giclee prints ranging in size from 11" wide to 48" wide, at prices from $33 to $300), and enraged that apparently the artist has been eavesdropping on my most deeply held obsessions. Get out of my head, you magnificent, mindreading bastard! Read the rest

Hi-rez, open-licensed recreation of the 1968 Disneyland souvenir map

Boing Boing reader Pink Frankenstein is behind this stunning, high-resolution recreation of the 1968 Disneyland souvenir map, which he's generously licensed CC 0 (there's also a 700 DPI, 3.5GB Photoshop master file). Pink Frankenstein adds, "Any idea who the original artist is?" Read the rest

Fan-made "rideable" Haunted Mansion poster

Cartoonist Vince "Untold Tales of Bigfoot" Dorse (previously) continues to make astoundingly cool Haunted Mansion fan media: his latest is a "ride through" illustration of the Mansion and its many set-pieces, which imagines a coherent geometry for the ride. Read the rest

CN Tower's management company claims that any picture of the landmark building is a trademark violation

The CN Tower is a giant radio antenna and tourist attraction on Toronto's lakeshore; it's an iconic part of the city's skyline, and has been since it was built at taxpayer expense; today, it's owned by a Crown Corporation that insists that any reproduction of the Tower is a trademark violation. Read the rest

Adversarial Interoperability

“Interoperability” is the act of making a new product or service work with an existing product or service: modern civilization depends on the standards and practices that allow you to put any dish into a dishwasher or any USB charger into any car’s cigarette lighter. Read the rest

Just This Banjo: free/open banjo instruction for an angry moment, because you can't be sad while playing the banjo

For years, I've been covering the career of Patrick Costello (previously) a deaf, copyfighting, open access banjo player and teacher who is responsible for a bounty of instructional books, videos, and meetups for would-be banjo players. Now, Patrick has finished a new book called Just This Banjo and made it open access, in the name of fighting the malaise and terror of our precarious moment. As Steve Martin has proved: you can't be sad while playing the banjo. Read the rest

Make: a robotic xenomorph candy collector for Halloween

Phil Torrone from Adafruit writes, "Why roam around with a boring pumpkin bucket when you collect delicious candy with a robotic Xenomorph head? This robotic candy bucket shoots out a small receptacle to retrieve candy and bring it back into the bucket. Some 3D printing is required to create the linear actuator. Two servo motors controlled by a Circuit Playground Express, coded with MakeCode, power this project." Read the rest

Nerf unveils "DRM for darts"

Hasbro's got a new foam dart gun, the $50 Nerf Ultra One blaster, and to make sure that owners of this toy arrange their affairs to the benefit of Hasbro's shareholders, the company has engineered a digital rights management system that detects and refuses to fire third-party darts, which sell by the hundreds for just a few bucks (the official darts are $10 for 20), which means that party organizers running Nerf wars will have to scale back their ambitions or shell out like crazy. Read the rest

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