Where your contractual argument goes off the rails is a lack of understanding of MD law regarding teachers. The actual Teacher's Contract that the teacher signs is written by the State Bd of Ed, not the local board. There is a negotiated agreement between the local boards and the local union, but that applies to, and is only enforceable by, the local union. The teacher is a third party beneficiary, and not an actual party to the contract (has your head exploded yet?). It is a byzantine system, and while there could be a provision in there in which the Board would agree to not take the copyright, I have seen most of these agreements, and they don't touch upon copyright at all.
That being said, if the work is created outside of work, or would not be something the teacher would normally be expected to create to do the job, then it will most likely not be a work for hire, policy or no policy.
Lastly, the union could NEVER get the copyright, nor are they interested in it. The unions do not employ the teacher and therefore can't get the copyright.
While I agree, it is an attempted money grab by the Board, it is self-defeating since it prevents there from being any "money" to grab. It is like taxing at 100%. . . no one is going to try to earn any income since it is all taken. Let's keep the focus on the bad actor here, and not try to bring in non-actors such as the union, into the argument.
I love reading Techdirt, and I agree with 90% of the articles here. However, I have noticed a disturbing trend lately. Many of the comments are being reported, not because of ad hominem attacks or other such good reasons, but simply because those reporting the comments disagree. It seems to be happening more and more, and frankly, those who are reporting attempted arguments by those they disagree with, simply because they disagree are sinking to the same level as the regular trolls. Please, stop it.
If you think the comment is stupid, say why. But don't report it. Keep the discussion going. The only way to sharpen the arguments is to actually have to make and explain them. Agree to disagree, please. Free speech and all that. Thank you!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled commenting. . .
"Yeah, it's totally disgusting. The feds are telling the guy that he has to sue the company he was doing business with, and not the feds. That is horrible, making the site owner actually responsible for their customer's satisfaction."
I would agree with this if the site owner hadn't had its ability to satisfy the customer completely blocked by the DOJ.
"Sorry Mike, but the feds are right on this one. The only reason the feds seized the assets is because of the behavior of the company, which was flagrant and fairly well public. Any normal citizen doing due dilligence before selecting Mega as a storage medium would have been able to determine their notoriety and their "profile" online as a great place to put your infringing material. A quick search of google would turn up any number of questionable links."
A quick search of any storage locker would turn up any number of questionable links. Your point is? While Kim Dotcom was flagrant and public, that doesn't mean that the Feds get to go in and destroy the ability of ALL legitimate users to access their legitimate data. The Feds could have used the same logic to seize all of the Carpathia servers, not just Megauploads. After all, Carpathia's servers were being used to store infringing material, were they not? Remember, Carpathia owns the servers, not Megaupload. The Carpathia servers are the actual property being used to commit the crime. Why stop there?
Let's take this to a real world example. I rent a storage unit in a sketchy part of town (the rent is cheap). There are gang tags everywhere. I put my things in my rented unit. The storage facility has also rented to gangmembers who happen to use their storage units for less than legal activities. The Feds raid the storage facility, and seize everything. The reasoning for this is that the storage facility is making profits off of the illegal activity of the gangmembers. My things are seized as well. The Feds won't give me my things back arguing that my things are still in the storage facility that has been seized, and therefore it is not their problem. Oh, and the last bit of information? The town is Hong Kong, and US Federal law does not apply there, but the payment processor is US based. Does this sound familiar? Obviously, it isn't a perfect analogy, but it is pretty close. The storage facility did its job and kept my items safe. I just can't retrieve them because they are "seized" by the US. I don't seem to have much beef with the storage facility.
"That this guy still chose to use Mega, and Mega exclusively for content that he truly valued, with no other backup or support in place, is a head shaker."
I can't disagree with this statement, but hindsight is 20/20. Most people don't develop a comprehensive back up plan until they have lost important data.
The last I checked, a lie is an intentional misrepresentation of truth or facts. Doesn't that imply that one have the intellectual capacity to actually intend to misrepresent? That would seem to me to be giving Lamar Smith a lot more credit than he is due.
the members of Congress and, more importantly, their staffers can't get the latest update to Angry Birds for their smartphones and run out of levels to play. When they ask why and find out that developers are not having their apps sold in the US because of patent trolls, thinks may actually change. Most of what is discussed here is in the abstract, but developers pulling apps for fear of trolls is pretty concrete. You can't spend enough on lobbyists to counteract that.
Right now, that thought is utterly terrifying. The rewrite would be driven by special interest groups. We would pay taxes directly to the RIAA and MPAA. We need our house in order first as what we have now is pretty much being ignored when it is inconvenient.
The issue in this particular case in Maryland is not a First Amendment issue. It is a equal protection issue. If a government makes a statute, regulation or policy then it must apply them equally to all. The question isn't whether under is a "professional" journalist, but whether the rules were applied equally to him. The blogger in question is a former county attorney in Maryland who writes a blog. While I don't read it, I have heard of it. From the linked article:
[The blogger,]"Liner wanted to interview Brochin [his State Senator] in Annapolis throughout the session on whatever was news in the General Assembly and post the “uncensored, unfiltered” conversations on his Web site. Liner planned to ask other lawmakers to participate as well."
This is exactly the type of blogger reporting that you are always touting. I think you will agree this is a great idea. Does it rate a press pass?
"In December, Liner called the Department of General Services, which formally issues the press passes, and was told the governor’s press office decides who receives them. Liner said he called the governor’s press office but never received a reply.
He enlisted the help of Brochin’s office and, in January, soon after the session began, he learned from the senator’s aide that his request had been denied. Among the reasons given was that his site had “no original content regarding state government,” according to an e-mail from the aide."
Further, "[i]n addition to his blog posts, he has posted interviews with former governors Marvin Mandel and Harry R. Hughes, as well as Rep. Frank Kratovil during his successful campaign two years ago for the Maryland’s 1st Congressional District." Rep. Kratovil was a hotly contested, important race in Maryland where the incumbent Republican representative had been unseated in the primaries. Obviously, this is important Maryland political discussion.
The published criteria for a press pass are:
"The applicant must be employed by an “independent bona fide” news organization or be a freelancer who “regularly engages in regular news gathering.” Credentials may not be used to engage in “any lobbying, promotion or publicity activity” advocating for a candidate or issue." These rules do two things: exclude lobbyists (explicit) and not-for-pay reporting (implicit). Frankly, I think this is an important issue to deal with, and I believe you would as well. As an attorney, I am thinking about volunteering my time in to help Mr. Liner in this case.
You wouldn't ask that question. There is a bad history there of purchasing computer programs that don't work. A few years back, they got a new payroll program. The only problem is that it could not handle hourly employees. It got so bad, the Board had to hire armed guards to stand at the entrance to payroll. . .
You have written a very eloquent moral defense for payment to authors. Economically it does not stand up. How does one determine what a "good novel" is in this society? Do we have critics who judge the writing, story elements, etc. and tell us whether it is worthy of payment? Obviously not. When it comes down to it, we value a novel, or anything else for that matter, by the price we are willing to pay for it, not for the effort involved in producing it. Someone may have spent ten years writing the Great American Novel, but if no one buys the novel, it has no value.
The problem with this business model is that these days the words can be replicated for free. Therefore the marginal cost is essentially zero. Economics 101 shows that goods are priced at their marginal cost. If you are an author and expect to get paid simply by writing a novel, good luck. Copyright essentially acts to try limit the basic economics by making it illegal for anyone but the rights' holder to produce the novel infinitely. However, this just creates a black market. It doesn't really stop the infinite production. Ignoring this is burying your head in the sand.
Marketing has nothing to do with this part of the equation as with infinite goods, demand is irrelevant. Everyone who wants one can have a copy. So what. Marketing simply exists to spur demand.
The novel itself can be reproduced infinitely. The original manuscript IS a scarce good, but the copies are not. The fact is most people don't want to purchase the original manuscript, and most authors want to sell more than the original manuscript. Trying to make a dichotomy between the original and a copy is irrelevant. And insisting that an item has an intrinsic value is specious. That value only exists in the desire of someone to have the object.
This is not about selling an object or a novel in and of itself. It is about creating a sustainable business model. If an author doesn't want to get his or her hands dirty doing anything but writing, the author better find someone who will or get another job to pay the rent. Playing ostrich or feeling insulted is not conducive to earning an income.