Cooperative porno copyright troll gets 5 years in prison, while his co-conspirator got 14 years

Last month, Paul Hansmeier was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $1.5m in restitution for the copyright trolling his firm, Prenda Law, engaged in: the firm used a mix of entrapment, blackmail, identity theft, intimidation and fraud to extort millions from its victims by threatening to drag them into court for alleged infringement of copyright in eye-watering pornography, thus forever associating their victims' name with lurid pornography in the public record. Read the rest

Judge rules that EFF's DRM lawsuit can proceed!

In 2016, EFF sued the US Government on behalf of Andrew "bunnie" Huang and Matthew Green, both of whom wanted to engage in normal technological activities (auditing digital security, editing videos, etc) that put at risk from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Read the rest

Pacman in 512 bytes

Pillman is Oscar "Nanochess" Toledo's reimplementation of Pacman ("a game about a yellow man eating pills") in 512 bytes -- small enough to fit in a boot sector -- written in 8088 assembler. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Bio-modem: a fan-art tribute to Simon Stålenhag's Things From the Flood

Leo Corvaisier, an art student in Paris, created this 3D rendered "bio-modem" based on an illustration from Things From the Flood, an alternative future-history of Sweden published in 2016 by Simon Stålenhag (previously), which was turned into a crowdfunded RPG last year. Corvaisier notes, "Tried getting a handpaint feeling to stick with Stålenhag's illustration style." (via JWZ) Read the rest

How Metabrainz stood up to a predatory copyright lawsuit and won

I'm a volunteer on the board of The Metabrainz Foundation, the nonprofit that maintains the Metabrainz service that produces accurate metadata on music that helps listeners locate the music they love and musicians and services accurately allocate revenues from online services. Metabrainz's material is strictly Creative Commons, including the art its users include in their updates to the database. Read the rest

How fanfic archives lead the world in data organization

Since the earliest days of the "semantic web,", millions of dollars and hours of coding effort have been thrown at the problem of really organizing large corpuses of information, with two approaches emerging: rigid ontologies (like the Dewey Decimal system) that require a system's users to be deeply expert in the structures they're working in; and "folksonomies" (aka hashtags), which allow anyone to tag anything with anything, and leads to fragmentation (like #sign or #signs; or #photos, #pix, and #pictures, etc). Read the rest

A non-aboriginal business has licensed the copyright on Australia's aboriginal flag, and are making copyright claims against aboriginal businesses

In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the "official flags of Australia," which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design. Read the rest

The Canadian government has released the surprisingly sensible results of its extensive, year-long review of copyright law

[Editor's note: Whenever governments review their copyright, one of two things happens: either they only listen to industry reps and then come to the "conclusion" that more copyright is always better; or they listen to stakeholders and experts and conclude that a little goes a long way. Normally, when the latter happens, the government that commissioned the report buries it out of terror of powerful Big Content lobbyists. This time, miraculously, an eminently sensible Canadian report has seen the light of day. I was delighted to invite the legendary Canadian copyright scholar Michael Geist to present a short analysis of some of the important conclusions. -Cory]

The Canadian government launched an extensive review of its copyright law last year that led to months of study and attracted hundreds of witnesses and briefs. While some groups hoped the review would lead to new website blocking measures and restrictions on fair dealing (Canada's version of fair use), the Industry committee report released this week actually recommends expanding fair dealing, rejects site blocking without a court order, and rejects proposals to exclude education from fair dealing where a licence is otherwise available. The study covers a wide range of copyright issues, but its conclusions on fair dealing, digital locks, site blocking, and term extension are particularly noteworthy. Read the rest

How DRM has permitted Google to have an "open source" browser that is still under its exclusive control

A year ago, Benjamin "Mako" Hill gave a groundbreaking lecture explaining how Big Tech companies had managed to monopolize all the benefits of free software licenses, using a combination of dirty tricks to ensure that the tools that were nominally owned by no one and licensed under free and open terms nevertheless remained under their control, so that the contributions that software developers made to "open" projects ended up benefiting big companies without big companies having to return the favor. Read the rest

Help wanted! EFF is hiring a new copyright/trademark litigator

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is hiring a new staff copyright/trademark litigator, and "experience with or strong interest in patent, unfair competition, administrative law, privacy and/or First Amendment litigation is preferred but not required." Read the rest

Sleuthing from public sources to figure out how the Hateful Eight leaker was caught

In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies. Read the rest

The New York Times on Carl Malamud and his tireless battle to make the law free for all to read

For years, we've covered the efforts of rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) to make the law free for all to read, from liberating paywalled court records from PACER to risking fines and even prison to make standards that have been incorporated into regulation available, to his longrunning fight with the State of Georgia to make the state's annotated legal code public, which may be headed for the Supreme Court. Read the rest

Houston! I'm at Comicpalooza all weekend!

I'm one of the guests of honor at this weekend's Comicpalooza festival in Houston, Texas: in addition to my keynote and signing, you can catch me at panels on copyright, robots and AI, cyberpunk, copyright (again!). Read the rest

Big Tech lobbyists and "open for business" Tories killed Ontario's Right-to-Repair legislation

In February, Liberal Party opposition MPP Michael Coteau introduced Right to Repair legislation after he was charged $400 to fix the cracked screen on his daughter's Samsung phone; that bill is now dead, as are dozens of Right to Repair bills introduced in US state houses, after Conservative MPs, heavily lobbied by US Big Tech firms, killed it before it could proceed to committee. Read the rest

The new Creative Commons search engine is out of beta, with more than 300 million images!

I am totally, utterly reliant on Creative Commons images for Boing Boing, and mostly I use Google Image's mediocre search tool for this purpose, but no more! Creative Commons's new search engine is out of beta, and contains more than 300,000,000 images, along with tools to make attribution easier! (via Kottke) Read the rest

Notre Dame's new spire might be copyrighted and blocked by EU filters

There's a proposal in the works to replace Notre Dame's spire -- which was a relatively modern addition -- with a new, starchitect-designed "statement" spire, which will be copyrightable under the same French rules that prohibit commercial photos of the Eiffel Tower at night (and other French landmarks). Read the rest

Ottawa! I'll be at the Writers Festival this Saturday night (then Berlin for Re:publica and Houston for Comicpalooza!)

This Saturday, May 4, at 7:30PM, I'll be presenting at the Ottawa Writers Festival, talking about my novel Radicalized and how it ties into surveillance, monopoly, refugees, climate change, racism and oligarchy -- all the good stuff! Read the rest

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