The denial letter indicated that I didn't have the "minimum amount" of material to qualify for a copyright, although it also did mention the idea/expression dichotomy. As someone else pointed out, I think the idea is know by other names, such as "Hitler ate sugar" or the "association fallacy."
I actually did Google searches for "monkey bar fallacy" prior to the submission to ensure it wasn't widely used in order to avoid them thinking I was trying to control the use of a phrase. (I couldn't find any uses.)
Yes, copyright is automatic. However, by registering, you have presumptive proof of ownership, and you are entitled to statutory damages and other benefits.
Also, in cases like my tweet, registration can serve as proof that there is copyrightable material at issue. Of course, the registration could be voided if it went to court and the court found otherwise.
FWIW, I actually took that photo to use as a lecture example of how United States law doesn't protect geographical indications - which is why you can have domestic "Greek" yogurt where the only thing "Greek" are the blue columns printed on the container.
I did think about the copyright implications of the photo, but I concluded that there's no copyrightable expression on the yogurt container.
In case anyone wants a simple, CC licensed graphic to drive home the point about crime being at its lowest point in years, I made one, available here: http://t.co/Br03ZAk3Nu
Data is from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports. The trends are similar across all violent crimes, and across all property crimes, too. The drop off has been so dramatic that even the total number of crimes has gone done in all categories, despite the population increasing.
Furthermore, law enforcement deaths have also been trending downward, though not as quickly. In most years, law enforcement officers are more likely to die by accident (car and motorcycle crashes, being struck by cars, training accidents, etc.) than to be killed by a criminal. Many ordinary jobs, such as truck driving, are more dangerous than being a police officer.
Like the idiot Annapolis police chief who cited a hoax story in his testimony before the state legislature on marijuana legalization, anyone claiming that law enforcement needs military-grade equipment because the U.S. is more dangerous than it used to be is unfit for their job and should be fired.
It's fine for there to be elite police units that can respond to especially dangerous situations. But there is no reason to deploy a SWAT team to handle road closures on Independence Day (Arlington County, VA did this last year).
Par for the course. I went to the University of Maryland. PG County police love to break out the riot gear, including pepper balls which they used to shoot people in the face. They often "couldn't find" video recordings for investigations. Maybe they'll do everyone a favor and stay on Twitter.
The U.S. doesn't give a hoot about piracy that affects Pakistani musicians. They even say so in the 301 report - they're concerned about optical disc piracy which presents "serious concerns for U.S. industry."
The Special 301 report isn't about promoting innovation, or even protecting intellectual property in general. It's about airing a laundry list of everything U.S. trade groups are unhappy about in the domestic policy of other countries. This is why 301 now complains about "the poor quality" of China's utility models and design patents.
WIPO serves as the United States's truncheon, wielded to keep developing nations from repeating what the United States did a century or two ago when it was a developing nation.
The U.S. can do that just fine by itself, and it does it all the time through bilateral and regional free trade agreements. What do you think the TPP is all about? Or the Special 301 charade? Getting rid of WIPO would not reduce the U.S.'s ability to coerce on IP issues in the least.
I would prefer more IP policymaking take place at WIPO - at least it would be relatively transparent and more balanced than what is currently going on in the TPP and elsewhere.
I've met both James Pooley and Francis Gurry, and I suspect there is more going on here than meets the eye.
First, I think it's important to understand that WIPO the organization is separate from WIPO member states. Gurry and Pooley are members of the WIPO Secretariat. Yes, they come from member states, but as members of the secretariat, they are first and foremost supposed to serve the institution. The institution exists to serve administrative and organizational needs of the member states. It is not supposed to take sides with member states.
A lot of the problems we might have with "WIPO" are actually problems with WIPO's powerful member states - the United States, the European Union, Japan, etc. Remember, WIPO also produced the Development Agenda and the Marrakesh Treaty.
In fact, a lot of US rightsholders organizations are unhappy with WIPO precisely because they think it is too biased towards developing countries (seeing as how the whole one-state one-vote deal doesn't allow the US to push its way around as easily).
IMO that is why a number of Congress critters want Gurry out. Also relevant is the fact that Pooley is an Obama appointee to WIPO. Of course, it's not clear the U.S. would like any of the other DG candidates any better. And of course a scandal at a UN agency is always good fodder for Republicans.
Sending computers to North Korea was pretty thick-headed from a PR perspective, if nothing else. But Iran is a different story. You have to remember that WIPO is UN agency. They don't have cause to treat Iran like a complete pariah just because the US does so. The same is true with Cuba.
Re: the letter, honestly it sounds to be like nothing more than a typical nastygram.
"There's nearly 40% of the world's GDP at stake here (according to the USTR's numbers)"
That's a misleading talking point everyone repeats without understanding what it means. The actual claim is that the countries involved in TPP negotiations represent 40% of the world's GDP, which is very different.
All they've done is total up the GDP of the twelve countries. But obviously the TPP does not affect the entire GDP of a country - it will only affect a fraction of that. Precisely how much is impossible to know in advance because it will be affected by the concessions each country makes.
The TPP represents 40% of the world's GDP in the same way that when I buy a cup of coffee, the two partners in the transaction represent millions of dollars in net worth (the coffee company plus me). That is, it's a virtually meaningless number.
Two days after the Oscars, I caught Dallas Buyers Club on a two-dollar Tuesday showing at my local second-run theater. Add in the price of a beer, and it's about the same as a matinee at a first run theater. Except you get to drink beer while watching the movie.
Given how much Hollywood hates RedBox, I wonder if they think paying just $2 for a screening is essentially piracy, and that by selling the beer the theater is making money from piracy.