The carnivorous moon-worm story hiding in plain sight in the diary of early Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson

Australian science fiction author Sean Williams (previously) is an Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellow, who got to live in the Antarctic while researching an alternate War of the Worlds retelling. Read the rest

After industry adopts open video standards, MPEG founder says the end is nigh

Leonardo Chiariglione is founder and chairman of the International Standards Organization's Motion Picture Expert Group (MPEG), whose standards have dominated video playback since the earliest days; MPEG's primary rival is the Alliance for Open Media, an ascendant open standards body that requires that members promise not to enforce patents that overlap with its standards, meaning that anyone can play back AOM video without paying rent to MPEG members. Read the rest

Property developer caught using critic's photo in promotional materials, demands an end to criticism as a condition of paying for the use

"The Gentle Author" is the maintainer of Spitalfields Life, a blog that has featured a brilliant and moving series of essays about the history of East London; Author is also sharply critical of the plans by giant property developer Crest Nicholson to redevelop the site of a Victorian chest hospital and dig up an ancient tree called the Bethnal Green Mulberry. Read the rest

"We Shall Overcome" has overcome copyfraud and is now unambiguously public domain

A group of activist lawyers/documentarians have made a vocation of fighting copyfraudsters in the courts, first forcing Warner Chapell to relinquish its bogus claim over "Happy Birthday" and then targeting Ludlow Music Inc. and The Richmond Organization who had spent decades fraudulently collecting licensing fees for the public domain civil rights hymn "We Shall Overcome." Read the rest

Canada stripped the TPP of its terrible IP proposals: will the US seek revenge in NAFTA talks?

It's been nearly a year since Trump killed the Trans Pacific Partnership by pulling the US out of it; last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada and the other TPP countries would sign the agreement without the USA -- an announcement timed to coincide with Trump's appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, presenting the TPP nations as a kind of coalition of the willing for political moderation and maturity. Read the rest

Girl plays the Star Wars Cantina theme using math and well-timed pencil strokes

Dani Ochoa, a self-described " girl with too much time on her hands," writes, "I spent way too much time figuring this out." Read the rest

At long last, open video formats are triumphing

Apple was the last major holdout on proprietary video codecs, the only major industry player that hadn't signed onto the Alliance for Open Media, home of the AV1 video format, a successor to On2's groundbreaking open formats of the early web years, which led to the company's acquisition by Google in 2010. Read the rest

Disney's 1998 copyright term extension expires this year and Big Content's lobbyists say they're not going to try for another one

In 1998, Disney led an entertainment industry lobbying effort that resulted in the term of copyright being extended by 20 years, even for works that had already been created -- a law with an incoherent basis, given that the US copyright system is constitutionally constrained to passing laws to promote new creative works (giving creators more copyright on works they've already created doesn't get them to make new ones, and it reduces the ability of new artists to remix existing works, the way Disney did with the Grimm's fairy tales). Read the rest

You absolutely must secure your home router and you probably can't

Lucian Constantin's Motherboard guide to protecting your home router is full of excellent, nearly impossible-to-follow advice that you should follow, but probably won't. Read the rest

Happy Public Domain day! Here are the works entering the public domain in Canada and the EU, but not the USA, where the public domain is stagnant

When the USA decided to retroactively extend the term of copyright, it deprived itself of free, open access to important cultural treasures that new creators could build upon as creators have done since time immemorial. Read the rest

Stranger Things Upside-Down doormats

UK Etsy seller Retromend (who specialise in vintage VW-related gifts) sell this Stranger Things-themed Upside Down doormat (coir fibers with rubber backing) for £20/USD27. (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest

Armstrong Zoom ISP to 1,000,000 internet subscribers: if you are accused of piracy, you may lose the ability to control your smart thermostat

Armstrong Zoom, a northeastern US ISP with about a million subscribers, has sent its customers warnings that they have been accused of copyright infringement, and that subsequent accusations would lead to having their network connections slowed to the point of uselessness, which could impair their ability to control their internet-connected thermostats. Read the rest

The year in DRM: seven rotten moments and two rays of hope

My end-of-the-year roundup the year in DRM for EFF's Deeplinks blog hits seven lowlights, from the catastrophic (the W3C greenlighting DRM for the web) to the idiotic ( Read the rest

EFF to US Copyright Office: fix the DRM rules that stop us from fixing our stuff, make fair use, and make IoT gadgets work the way we want

Section 1201 of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) give DRM incredible protections: it's illegal to bypass DRM in products you own, for legal purposes, and merely investigating or revealing defects in products with DRM can land you in jail. Read the rest

Merry Mixmas 2017: DJ Riko drops another album of festive mashups

Tis the season (1:12:27). Read the rest

A deep dive into the race to preserve our digital heritage

Science Friday's beautiful "File Not Found" series looks at the thorny questions of digital preservation: finding surviving copies of data, preserving the media it is recorded upon, finding working equipment to read that media, finding working software to decode the information once it's read, clearing the rights to archive it, and maintaining safe, long term archives -- all while being mindful of privacy and other equities. Read the rest

Bell is leading the push to end Canadian Net Neutrality with a secret, extrajudicial Star Chamber that will decide what Canadians can and can't see

Canada has a grotesquely concentrated telcoms sector and a grotesquely concentrated media sector, and thanks to a series of extremely anticompetitive mergers, the two sectors are one in the same. Read the rest

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