from the favorites dept
This week's favorites are from ChurchHatesTucker, who has been contributing to the community here for many, many years, providing all sorts of useful stories and insights.
If you read Techdirt for any length of time, you start to expect certain stories: ICE is off the hook, the BSA is against Open Standards, Hollywood and the US Senate just can't quit each other, Moby thinks the record labels should just die. You know the drill. So, it's always a relief to come across the unexpected ones, good or bad.
The "Jasmine Revolution" in China didn't amount to much, but that didn't stop a surprisingly large number of sites around the world from simply recycling pictures of other events. Did they think nobody would notice?
The works of the US government are (normally) in the public domain, as they're paid for by the American public. This includes the widely regarded reports of the Congressional Resource Service. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that they're actually available. So, we're at a point where we have to petition the government to release public domain information to the public.
On the state level, Connecticut is considering a bill that would guarantee the public's right to record the police. More importantly, it would provide civil sanctions if that right is violated. Meanwhile, Florida is considering a measure to criminalize unauthorized photography of farms in order to protect the "intellectual property" of farm operations. Any interference with animal rights groups is purely coincidental.
I suppose 'wacky lawsuits' as a whole are part and parcel of Techdirt's coverage, but the individual stories never cease to amaze. Groupon, whose very name is a portmanteau of "Group Coupon," finds itself in court over charges that its offerings should be considered gift cards. Meanwhile, Facebook is being sued for one man's failure to be elected to Congress.
A continuing theme in the digital age is that companies seek to use all the advantages of digital media, while trying to impose all the disadvantages of physical media on their customers. Along those lines, HarperCollins has apparently decided that the problem with ebooks is that they last too long. To remedy that situation they've imposed a DRM-enforced license on libraries to ensure that a book can only be lent out 26 times.
In yet another example of copyright as a means of control, rather than incentive, Ubisoft has blocked an advertisement for its European "We Dare" Wii game. I'm left wondering why they don't block it in Europe.
And finally, Libyans organized protests around the country under the nose of the secret police by leaving cleverly coded messages on an online dating site. I LLLLove it.