"Free is not fair" won't make authors richer, but fixing publishers' contracts will

Australia is about to radically expand its copyright and the publishing industry has forged an unholy alliance with authors' groups to rail against fair use being formalised in Australia, rallying under the banner of "Free is not fair." Read the rest

Repair Day: How "contempt of business model" cheats you out of the use of your property

Companies have always tried to corral their customers into behaving in ways that maximize the companies' profits, even if that's not best for the customers: forcing you to use "official" printer ink, to buy your printers and terminals from the same company that sold you your mainframe, to get your apps from the company that sold you your phone. Read the rest

Radical expansion of Australia's national firewall will censor search results and websites

SOPA has come to Australia: under Communications minister Senator Mitch Fifield's Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018, rightsholders will be able to tell search engines which results they are allowed to show users, and will expand the country's censorship system ("copyright blocking orders") by allowing rightsholders to have any website censored by claiming it is a "mirror" of an already-blocked site, without having to show evidence for their claims. Read the rest

Snetris is "snake + tetris"

Felipe is a Portuguese game-developer who makes fun, crowdfunded minigames; he tweeted a tantalyzing video clip showing an idea for a Snake/Tetris mashup called "Snetris," and the response was so warm and excited that he's promised to develop a playable version! Read the rest

A sensible, free guide to negotiating book contracts

The Authors Alliance is a nonprofit that advocates for authors, libraries, readers and scholars (I'm on their advisory board); they've done a ton of great work, notably a tool for authors to claim their copyrights back from publishers, even when the original contract specified that the rights were signed away "in perpetuity." Read the rest

EU hijacking: self-driving car data will be copyrighted...by the manufacturer

Today, the EU held a routine vote on regulations for self-driving cars, when something decidedly out of the ordinary happened... Read the rest

We've got a front-row seat for Europe's internet censorship plan

The EU's wide-ranging plan for indiscriminate internet censorship has progressed from a vote in the European Parliament and now reps from the EU will meet with reps from the 28 countries that make up the EU to hammer out the final text that will be put to the Parliament for what might be the final vote before it becomes law. Read the rest

Tomorrow: come to our University of Chicago seminar on Renaissance censorship and internet censorship

Ada Palmer is a University of Chicago Renaissance historian (and so much more: librettist, science fiction novelist, and all-round polymath); she has convened a series of seminars at the University in collaboration with science and piracy historian Adrian Johns, and me! Read the rest

Cassette Store Day is coming, when you'll be able to pick up the Beastles "Ill Submarine"!

dj BC (previously) writes, "You might be familiar with my Beastles mashup project from some years ago. The album "Ill Submarine" is dropping on TAPE on Cassette Store Day, October 13th 2018! I guess tapes are unpopular enough that no one anticipates copyright lawsuits. Speaking of copyright fear, the vinyl editions of this project, and of Wu Orleans, are not being pressed any more. So if you see one, get it." Read the rest

When Mickey Mouse was sent to a Nazi concentration camp

In 1942, Horst Rosenthal was sent to the Vichy concentration camp Gurs, where he drew a comic-book that survived him: Mickey au Camp de Gurs, it tells the story of Mickey Mouse being snatched from the street and sent to Gurs, and features a tour of Gurs that uses a brave face of humor to cope with enormous suffering. Read the rest

Brian Reedy's pop-culture, rice-paper linocuts

Miami artist Brian Reedy creates pop-culture block prints that he sells on Etsy; his store is full of amazing handmade linoblock rice-paper prints, at $20 each, like "A Trip To The Moon," "The USS Enterprise," "Darth Vader Samurai," "Star Wars Still Life," and a superb set of Universal Monster prints: "The Creature From the Black Lagoon," "Frankenstein's Monster," "The Mummy," "Dracula," and "The Wolfman." Read the rest

Justin Trudeau's NAFTA concessions include 20 year copyright extension

Donald Trump has wrung many concessions out of Justin Trudeau on the NAFTA renegotiation, but none is more nonsensical and potentially damaging than a 20 year copyright term extension that will bring copyright in line with the US's extreme copyright system, where copyright endures for the life of the author plus 70 years, meaning that nearly every work created in US history will disappear due to commercial irrelevance, rather than being made available for scholars and other users by libraries and other nonprofits. Read the rest

New York City! I'm onstage tonight with Radiolab's Jad Abumrad (Swarthmore, you're next!)

A reminder that I'm wrapping up my Columbia University lecture series tonight at 5PM, when I'm appearing onstage with Radiolab's Jad Abumrad at the lecture theater in Pulitzer Hall (RSVP here); and then I'm heading to Swarthmore tomorrow, to give a talk at the Lang Performing Arts Center Room (LPAC) 101 Cinema from 7-9PM. Both talks are free. Read the rest

CBS smashes fans' virtual, noncommercial recreation of the USS Enterprise

For two years, a group of die-hard Star Trek fans labored to create Stage 9, a totally noncommercial virtual replica of the USS Enterprise built with Unreal Engine; they assumed that when CBS Vice President for Product Development John Van Citters was serious in 2016, when he publicly acknowledged the debt that Star Trek owes to its fans and assured people creating fan media that "They’re not going to hear from us. They’re not going to get a phone call, they’re not going to get an email. They’re not going to get anything that’s going to ruin their day one way or another and make them feel bad, like they’ve done something wrong." Read the rest

Want the platforms to police bad speech and fake news? The copyright wars want a word with you.

There are lots of calls for the platforms to police the bad speech on their platform -- disinformation and fake news; hate speech and harassment, extremist content and so on -- and while that would represent a major shift in how Big Tech relates to the materials generated and shared by its users, it's not without precedent. Read the rest

Kickstarting a seminar series with Ada Palmer and me about the history of censorship and information control

Science fiction author, librettist, singer and historian Ada Palmer (previously), science and piracy historian Adrian Johns, and I have teamed up to create a seminar series at the University of Chicago called Censorship and Information Control During Information Revolutions, which compares and contrasts the censorship regimes and moral panics that flourished after the invention of the printing press with modern, computerized efforts to control and suppress information. Read the rest

To fix Canadian copyright, let creators claim their rights back after 25 years

Copyright markets are -- and always have been -- broken. People make art because they have to, and there's always a middle-man ready to take advantage of the oversupply of willing creators to grab our rights and pay us peanuts. Read the rest

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