Freak's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the freaky-favorites dept

This week's "favorites" post comes from freak.

Y'know, I was kinda surprised when Mike approached me early this week, asking me to write the weekly favorites post. I don't think I comment that frequently or notably enough for someone to know who I am! Which is why I'm going to pre-face this with a bit about myself: I'm a Canadian university student, Computer Science, hoping to eventually get my Ph. D. and study in a currently unnamed field of pure math that is most closely related to complexity theory. Relevant to this blog, I'm also a published (and remunerated) poet, and a strong believer in Free Culture, ever since Nina Paley put words to the idea. So it should come as no surprise that the following stories interested me!

How Confusion & Lack Of Clarity In Copyright Law Make Reviewing Poems Difficult
Yeah, I've run across this before. Specifically, there was a province-based anthology of poetry that decided to use two of my poems to represent the Province's poets, and also decided, after having selected my poem, that I'd make a great co-editor for future volumes. The anthology goes out, I join the team behind it, a reviewer comes around, he's not sure of the copyright, we're not really all that clear on copyright, but he wants to quote one of the poems (he had a list of 20 he'd like to quote) for his book review section in a newspaper. We're uncertain which part of the copyright belongs to the Anthology, which part to the writer, and so to simplify things, as an editor for the anthology and as a writer in the anthology, I give him full permission to fully use one of my poems, (1 of which was already on his list), problem solved, right? That definitely solves the copyright tangle? The newspaper comes out later that week with his review, and right in the middle of it is a nice blank space filled only with the words [Ed: Removed poem due to copyright issues. Sorry].

JSTOR Freely Releases Public Domain Papers That Greg Maxwell Already Freed
As a university student, it occasionally angers me that people let their works be locked up in the archives of journals, where they completely fail to benefit anyone who isn't already looking for them. I'm used to Physics, Pure Math and Computer Science professors & doctors, and those guys nearly always have their own web pages up which contain all of their papers, copyright be damned. So it's extra frustrating when I'm trying to research statistics or folklore or medicine. The best I can hope to find is an unhelpful snippet of a maybe helpful article in a journal somewhere that I'd have to pay to access. I don't have a spare $10 to make a copy of a textbook, let alone buy temporary access to a journal that may or may not actually be helpful. So yeah, I don't like JSTOR very much, although I have no reason to dislike them in particular, and now I feel I might've been a bit harsh on them before. We'll see, right?

Article About 'The Menace Of The Software Pirates' From 1985
I don't have a personal story about this one. Just some laughs at a 'simpler time'. Oh, no, wait, that piece is about how nothing has really changed. Alright, just some laughs at 'simpler people'.

Canada Plans To Re-Introduce Bad Copyright Plan, With Damaging Digital Locks Provisions, With No Additional Consultation
You might've realized from my comments on the post, but this post distresses me greatly. As a Canadian, and even just as a person, the idea that this deplorable bill is back disgusts me. And, like another entity that keeps coming back after you kill it, it's stronger than ever, with the new digital locks provision probably effectively taking away all fair dealing once and for all, if it gets passed through the CPC majority.

Portlandia: We Satirize Portland, But If You Satirize Us, We'll Go Legal On You
I liked this article because it seems very insightful to me. Not only did Ms. Lawson tempt overly ambitious lawyers, she tempted them multiple times and attempted to find the exact shade of the gray line where it was no longer infringing. I like Lawson's humor, I like the fact that she was willing to push back in this way, and I like how she stopped by in the comments, too.

Owners Of Old, Abandoned Hotel Threaten Guy Who Photographed It With Copyright Infringement
And speaking of people standing up against bullshit copyright claims! I just wish the photographer explained to us why their claims of trespass and copyright were so weak. If he could tell something to them which makes them shut up, why can't he tell the rest of us so we can understand better? But no, all we get is the photographers telling us that he told them that their claims were weak.

Being First Isn't The Most Important Thing, Getting It Right Is
A nice, short, simple post, maybe containing some misleading ideas about Apple. But what I'm interested in is the visualization aid Mike passes on here. Obviously, we aren't meant to take his idea*execution table literally, but it does provide a very nice illustration of Mike's ideas on ideas & execution. I guess I'm a sucker for a good way to explain things.

Accused Of Copyright Infringement For Reprinting Images Produced In 630 A.D.
This article interested me for a couple of reasons, but the reason I'm posting it among my favorites this week is because of the elephant in the room. Go ahead, try and think about what I'm going to say. Hint: Scroll down to the comments and read through them. What's that you're thinking? Something about Mike/Rose leaving out part of the story? Ha! No, no, the article was about how surprising it was to find a print shop that refused to copy something from more than a thousand years ago to be on the safe side, and there were commenters who seriously argued that some copyright might conceivably cover the book. No one pointed it out, so I thought maybe some of you didn't manage to see those comments in that light. But hey, that highlights our commenters, and some of Mike's not always stellar blogging, which is an excellent segue opportunity!

I don't always agree with Mike, and oftentimes, I think his blogging is a bit of a far cry from logic. I also don't demand that he be perfect, and I also do think he's doing a good job of what he does. But I think a bit of criticism and perspective aren't bad things, so here's my least favorite posts this week where I think his blogging wasn't up to scratch:

Developers Urging Boycott Of Apple & Google Until They 'Deal With' Patent Trolls
Did Pearl Jam Enlist Fan Club To DMCA Fan Videos? Probably Not...
Former RIAA Lobbyist, Now Judge, Says Lowest Possible Statutory Damages For Single Case Of Infringement Is $3,430
The first story is a nice, clean display of bad blogging. With a few minutes of research, Mike could've found that it was not, in fact, developers trying to urge a boycott, but instead a despicable Microsoft lackey. I also think the story is particularly nice in displaying the great community here on Techdirt, since someone DID do the research and shared it with the rest of us.

The second link I dislike for Mike's choice of presentation. Until you get halfway through the article, and the article and headline appear to be bashing the fan club, and then Mike shows his research, where he finds that the name of the company filing the takedown notices has misled the reporter that broke the story. I bet half the people here could think up better headlines, and rewrite the story from there. Let me try: "Pearl Jam fan club not issuing DMCA takedowns on fan videos, but Pearl Jam is".

And finally, I only dislike the headline of the last article. If you read the article, it's very clear that the judge determined the damages at $750 + lawyer's fees. Why doesn't the headline reflect that? C'mon, let's rewrite that headline too: "Former RIAA lobbyist, now judge, says default fine on single infringement case includes lawyers fees".

There were more articles I disliked this week, but if I'm going to pick nits, there are starving monkeys in Africa, right?

So, let's end on a positive note again:

Copyright Troll Evan Stone Sanctioned For More Than $10k For Sending Subpoenas When Court Said To Wait
Ah, another victory against the copyright trolls. Small, but important. It's a victory to me, even though I'm Canadian, because the US gov't does bully our gov't around a lot on copyright. The better you guys down there manage your copyright system, the better off we'll be, too. The same as Spain, and Sweden, and tons of other countries across the globe. Remember that.


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