Trademark troll who claims to own "Dragon Slayer" now wants exclusive rights to book covers where someone is holding a weapon

Austin's Michael-Scott Earle, last seen around these parts when he filed a trademark on the phrase "Dragon Slayer" for use in fantasy novel trademarks, has found a new depth to plumb: he's filed a trademark on book covers "one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author's name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author's name are depicted in the same or similar coloring." Read the rest

Cockygate defeated: judge finds "Cocky" trademark for romance titles unenforceable

You'll recall that self-published romance author Faleena Hopkins undertook the sociopathic step of registering a trademark on the word "Cocky" in the titles of romance novels and then had her rivals' works removed from Amazon, threatening to sue any writer who used the common word in a title in the future. Read the rest

"Cocky" romance novelist embarks on a second career as a trademark troll: will romance writing fall from grace?

Over the past 20 years, the world has become a lot more cognizant of the risks of unbalanced copyright, as what was once a way to help creators gain leverage over publishers, studios and labels became a rubric for mass surveillance, unaccountable censorship and monopolism. Read the rest

The US Patent Office just (in 2017!) awarded IBM a patent over out-of-office email

On January 17, 2017 -- yes, 2017 -- the USPTO granted Patent 9,547,842 to IBM: "Out-of-office electronic mail messaging system." Read the rest

New Zealanders raise millions to buy beach and donate it to the public

Awaroa beach -- which was open to all -- in New Zealand's Abel Tasman National Park was privately held by Michael Spackman (a businessman embroiled in complex financial shenanigans) who had decided to sell it; two New Zealanders, fearing that the new owners would use it as a private beach, started a crowdfunding campaign that raised about NZ$2.3m from some 40,000 people to buy it and donate it to the country's national parks system. Read the rest

US Department of Defense's public domain archive to be privatized, locked up for ten years

Archivist Rick Prelinger sez, "The U.S. Department of Defense has entered into a contract with T3 Media to get its gigantic still and moving image collection digitized at no cost to the government. In exchange, T3 Media will become the exclusive public outlet for millions of images and videos for ten years.

Unlike most other developed nations, the U.S. Government does not claim copyright on video, film, photographs and other media produced by its workers. The immense number of works in the U.S. public domain have enabled countless researchers, makers and citizens to read, view and make many new works. True, those wishing to use modern military materials (1940s-present) in DoD's archives often need to negotiate their release with military public affairs, but these materials have traditionally been available for just the cost of duplication. This is soon to change." Read the rest