from the rights-and-the-lack-thereof dept
This week, we were horrified by the story of Ashely Cervantes, an 18-year-old who customs agents subjected to vaginal and rectal probes by a local doctor in a search of nonexistent drugs. TexasAndroid won most insightful comment of the week by pointing out the staggering addition of insult to injury in the case:
On top of everything else, the hospital had the gall to bill her for their "services". Calling them slime buckets is an insult to slime.
Speaking of bogus searches by law enforcement, we actually saw something positive on that front too this week, when a court refused to uphold evidence seized during a bogus traffic stop. Daydream took second place for insightful by lamenting the fact that this was news at all:
Everyone, take a moment to consider why something that should be normal, a court rejecting illegally acquired evidence, is notable enough to feature on Techdirt's front page.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with the unfolding saga of CBS/Paramount and the Star Trek fan film Axanar. After one commenter suggested that calling it a "fan film" is "offensive to the people who own the rights", and Mason Wheeler responded with an indignant rebuttal highlighting the critical difference between compensation and permission:
Then screw them. The idea that you can "own the rights" to culture itself is offensive on a far more fundamental level.
If Paramount said "we own Star Trek and so if you want to make a fan film, you have to pay us 5% and display a prominent notice that this is a fan work and not actually affiliated with Paramount," that would be one thing. But saying "no, you can't build on this, so shut the whole thing down" is crossing a line that no one should ever have the right to cross.
Meanwhile, after a surprising win for Led Zeppelin in the jury trial over alleged copying in the iconic Stairway to Heaven, one commenter (quite fairly) pointed out that the band does have a history of failing to credit their sources of inspiration (and more than inspiration), and that in this particular case they seem to have "tweaked the notes enough to get away with it". While there's a solid argument that Led Zeppelin hasn't always been the most upstanding moral citizen as far as giving credit where it's due, jupiterkansas rightly rejected that particular condemnation:
"tweaking the notes enough to get away with it" is basically how all music is made.
Didn't Paramount watch their own film?
The fair use rights of the many fans outweigh the needs of the few qur petaQ at Paramount.
For second place, we head to yet another grapple over rights, this time between Dweezil Zappa and the other heirs to the Zappa estate over his right to name his tour "Zappa Plays Zappa". The tour has now been renamed "50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants — The Cease and Desist Tour" which is just great, leading Mike to request a tour t-shirt from anyone who might be able to pick one up. Crade wondered if this was just a clever reason-to-buy ploy by Dweezil:
stupid? or genius!
The whole thing was a setup to sell Mike a shirt.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start by taking a break from copyright and trademark fights to look at our old friend: ridiculous design patents. This time it was General Mills staking a claim to tortilla bowls, of all things, which led Mark Wing to rejoice about this great age we live in:
It's an exciting time to be a lover of Mexican food with all this innovation in the tortilla sector.
Finally, we head to the disturbing reasoning from a judge who said the FBI can freely hack people's computers since people get hacked by regular ol' hackers all the time. This seemed odd to say the least, but David explained it using a perennial piece of reasoning:
You don't want the criminals to have the drop on the FBI, do you?
If crimes are outlawed, only criminals will be able to commit crimes.
That's all for this week, folks!