Laurel L. Russwurm 's Techdirt Comments

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  • Restaurant Refuses To Serve TSA Agents

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 26 Feb, 2011 @ 12:13am

    Nero Wolfe was careful who he broke bread with....

    This is perfectly understandable and also eminently reasonable.

    Just because it is done legally, these so-called screening procedures constitute assault. Before or after having to be "pornscanned" or grope searched by TSA officers, I certainly wouldn't want to eat with them.

    For much the same reason, executioners used to wear hoods.

  • UK Commission Explains That Public Tweets Are Public

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 10 Feb, 2011 @ 10:31pm

    it's all relative

    Yes, it sounds funny when you understand that Twitter is a public forum. The thing to remember is that most of the people in the world are not aware that it is a public forum.

    People sit in their private homes and type words on their computers for their friends to read. The same way people not so long ago typed letters that they put into envelopes, stamped and dropped in a mailbox. Just because many people use computers is no guarantee they understand them.

  • Metered Bandwidth Isn't About Stopping The Bandwidth Hogs; It's About Preserving Old Media Business Models

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 01 Feb, 2011 @ 09:06pm

    It's all about control

    The CRTC just allowed Bell -- Internet backbone carrier + ISP + Cell phone + Satelite TV + media owner ... Canada's national Newspaper -- to buy Canad's biggest TV network CTV.

    Of COURSE they don't want NetFlicks.... they want to turn the internet into a single content provider TV network with a "pay here" button

    The CRTC should be breaking Bell up not giving them the right to gouge the customers of their wholesale customers, and incidentally drive competition out of business.

    It's so hard to argue because the very situation is so unbelievable.

    Canadians, write letters to your MPs etc.

  • Oh Look, Police Can Investigate A Satirical Online Comment About Mythical Violence And Not Overreact

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 27 Dec, 2010 @ 11:19pm

    We have the opposite problem

    My problem goes the other way... in Canada we are stuck with Political Science Professor Tom Flanagan, a man who was a mentor/campaign manager/chief of staff to the current Prime Minister of Canada. In his role of regular "star commentator" on a news magazine show on the CBC television network, Flanagan called upon your President to assassinate WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange.

    If you watch the clip, it is pretty clear he didn't understand that this wasn't appropriate:

    Flanagan clearly broke the law in counseling a felony, and followed it up with a threatening email to a woman who complained about it. Although most Canadians are appalled neither the RCMP (our federal police) or local police forces will even bring charges against this man.

    Even worse, although the school community is up in arms, the University of Calgary won't even discipline Flanagan, let alone fire him.

    Please sign the petition asking for: Dr. Tom Flanagan?s immediate expulsion from the University of Calgary.

  • NBC Universal & MPAA Get NYC To Run Propaganda 'Anti-Piracy' Ad Campaign

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 27 Dec, 2010 @ 09:14pm

    Criminal Spending ... corruption or stupidity?

    Didn't anyone ever tell them that when government collects money it's supposed to go into government coffers rather than corporate coffers?

    I simply don't understand why any government would assume the unpaid job of collection agent for a corporate entity.

  • Belgian Court Rules That Violating Creative Commons License Subjects You To Copyright Infringement Charge

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 09 Nov, 2010 @ 08:02am

    Re: No surprise.

    And that's inconsistent because...?

    As the CC website or @lessig will tell you, CC licenses are not instead of copyright law, they work within copyright law.

  • Lessig Asks WIPO To Overhaul Copyright; Not Designed For When Every Use Is A Copy

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 09 Nov, 2010 @ 07:53am

    dumping it altogether is better than reform

    Lawrence Lessig is an unquestionably brilliant man. And a year ago I'd have agreed with everything he had to say here. Today I'm more inclined to agree with Nina Paley.

    Because today I'm more of a radical extremist (being Canadian and all, it's becoming par for the course as we're currently on the brink of getting stuck with a Canadian DMCA that will makes the original look positively liberal by comparison...)

    There's a lot in Mr. Lessig's keynote that is in fact brilliant. Like the insanity of criminalizing creators and children. And zooming in on the simple fact that digital = copies.

    But Larry lost me when he equated authors and rights holders. If copyright ever had some kind of justification, it would have been in the idea it was a way to compensate the creators in order to promote creation. But in reality, it has never done that well at all. Propping up "the most inefficient property system known to man" isn't about to change that. Chief beneficiaries of copyright law have always been rights holders who don't actually create anything.

    A disturbing trend these days seems to be the notion that copyright is somehow supposed to guarantee remuneration. Excuse me? There is a huge difference between holding a legal monopoly on creating copies and a guaranteed income for same. Ridiculous. Remuneration issues ought to fall under contract law if anywhere; the modern corporate idea of copyright entitlement is more a case of corporate welfare.

  • The Revolution Will Be Distributed: Wikileaks, Anonymous And How Little The Old Guard Realizes What's Going On

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 26 Oct, 2010 @ 02:52pm

    Excellent article Mr. Masnick

    People in positions of power and authority don't get what is happening. To achieve those positions of power and authority you pretty much have to eat and breathe the system. Changing an entrenched mindset to deal with something truly different is a really big leap.

  • Facebook Sues Faceporn, Apparently Believing It Owns The Words Face & Book

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 26 Oct, 2010 @ 02:09pm

    if we're going to allow trademarks...

    ... they should only be for made up words.

    Granting a monopoly on words in common usage is not good.

    Especially when you consider that some words have more than one meaning.

    Fantasy writers make up names all the time. If you want to own a word, make up your own, don't steal mine.

  • Facebook Sues Faceporn, Apparently Believing It Owns The Words Face & Book

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 26 Oct, 2010 @ 02:04pm

    Re: The scary thing is...

    Oh yeah. FacePorn couldn't have bought the publicity Facebook gave them.

    And what's up with Facebook trying to lay claim to the word "book?"

    After all, Facebook is many things, but "book" is not one of them.

  • Facebook Sues Faceporn, Apparently Believing It Owns The Words Face & Book

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 26 Oct, 2010 @ 11:46am

    there ARE other body parts

    Now that facebook has given them such great publicity, all they need do is replace "face" with the common name for any other body part. Then they too can trademark it. Down the road they'll be able to sue (or if IP law continues getting more demented) arrest all those trademark infringers using their trademarked name in school playgrounds around the world.

    By seriously, why should any company be given any kind of monopoly on a word? Words are part of our common language and a common culture.

  • Golan Appealed To The Supreme Court; Important Case About The Extent Of Copyright & The Public Domain

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 22 Oct, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: the real issue

    I realize many people think this, but it is incorrect. You do not have to be the creator to own the copyright.

    Authors have traditionally signed some or all of their rights over to the corporate distributor. When a musical act achieves the 'holy grail' of being signed by one of the big 4, the contract invariably transfers ownership of the copyright from the actual creators to the corporate entity. (Historically the only time this does not happen is when the musical act is very big and very famous. Today the Internet means any artist can hang out an Indie shingle.)

    I'm not an IP lawyer so my language may be imprecise, but as I understand it, this legally deems the corporation to be the author.

    How do commercial movies work? Or TV series? In many cases a corporation/distributor provides funding and distribution in exchange for all or total ownership of the copyright, but most importantly total control of the collaborative work.

    The basic thinking is that the one making the payment owns the thing. Which means many of the actual collaborative creators cannot legally upload content they have creatively contributed to on their own websites without securing permission from the "rights owner".

    It is bizarre that corporate entities can exert legal control over the tangible results of human creativity. The only kind of assignment of copyright that should be permitted under law should be licensing for specific terms.

    If we were to look at the idea of copyright existing to benefiting the author, 14 years is far too long. Why don't we reduce it to 2 years, since the Internet makes near instantaneous distribution possible.

  • Golan Appealed To The Supreme Court; Important Case About The Extent Of Copyright & The Public Domain

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 22 Oct, 2010 @ 07:45am

    the real issue

    Paying the creator (or even paying the progeny) for life+70 or whatever is a red herring. It simply spreads the blame. Although creator/descendents are nominally the beneficiary of life+70 (or whatever), it quickly becomes apparent that they receive the least of what's on offer.

    First at the trough of royalty is always the distributor. (When you get right down to it, distribution is really what the Movie and Music and Publishing companies brought to the table.)

    Next in line are the other parties that have dealt themselves in, including governments, copyright collectives and rights organizations.

    The leavings go to the creators/heirs. By this point there is precious little left in the copyright trough, with the lion's share going to creators on the very top of the heap. For most creators, royalties are as much of a myth as an afterlife, and about as difficult to prove.

    I'd expect it is even easier to avoid paying progeny than the original artist. And what happens when there are no heirs?

    The corporations who extort copyright from creators (in exchange for distribution) do everything in their power to remit as little of the payment due to the creators as possible.

    Unlike frail humans who live for only a short while, corporations are immortal. It is in corporate best interests to have nothing ever go into the public domain because the public domain offers competition. Even better for corporate interests is to remove work from the public domain. And the best way to do that is by affixing their own brand to it.

  • The Rise Of A New Intellectual Property Category, Ripe For Trolling: Publicity Rights

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 21 Oct, 2010 @ 07:31am

    seems greed never sleeps

    The first time I heard Bette Midler was when she covered The Andrews Sisters... oddly enough, sounding very alike.

    This is beyond bizarre.

    Didn't somebody once say something about first killing all the lawyers...?

  • Mexican Senate Unanimously Votes To Remove Mexico From ACTA Negotations

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 06 Oct, 2010 @ 08:18am


    ACTA was presented as a trade treaty negotiation. Being secret, and under its stringent non-disclosure terms it's hard to know for sure what it was.

    Still, just because the American government came to the table as an "executive agreement" does not mean the other participating countries were doing the same or similar. Other sovereign nations have different legal and governmental structures.

  • Mexican Senate Unanimously Votes To Remove Mexico From ACTA Negotations

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 06 Oct, 2010 @ 08:11am

    woo hoo!

    Why did it take them so long? Considering that they are the first participating country to bail, they are rather fast off the mark.

    The negotiations only just concluded without reaching consensus, although the USTR is trying to spin it as a success.

    Good job, Mexican Senate! Perhaps this will help some of the other nations stand up for themselves.

  • Canadian Recording Industry Demands 45% Of Revenue; Then Blames 'Pirates' For No Streaming Music Services

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 23 Sep, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Thank you Mr. Masnick

    Great article. At this point Canada's biggest problem is misinformation spread by people like this, who clearly are among the few to benefit from the existing travesty of a copyright system.

    Canada already has ridiculously strong copyright lawm and more copyright collectives than you can shake a stick at. Our government's attempt at rushing through the Canadian DMCA (aka Bill C-32) to modernize us right into the last century will certainly not help.

    Our politicians are dazzled by an abundance of special interest groups like Mr. Henderson's CRIA and the ACCESS Copyright collective, BOTH of whom have begun fake grassroots movements to make it appear as though their agendas have public support.


  • Google Asking For Help In Making Sure Public Domain Books Are Recognized As Public Domain

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 22 Sep, 2010 @ 09:55pm

    good news

    Just think how much easier copyright would be if it only ran 5 years.

  • Austrian Collection Societies Want A 'You Must Be A Criminal' Tax On Hard Drives

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 22 Sep, 2010 @ 07:49pm

    The Canadian Levy was bad

    In Canada most Canadians believe that the Levy means we can copy copyright music onto our CDs. This is not actually stated in our existing law however. As I understand it, the levy money has been collected by copyright collectives, most likely the ones quoted on this GRAMMY article. It's pretty scary when people believe that copyright law is supposed to "to provide a new marketplace for creators."

    I've heard that the Canadian Levy is supposed to be paid out under the radio play formula. I've never seen anything definitively saying that creators have gotten paid out of the money that's been collected. The result has been that CD's have become more expensive than DVDs. The justification is that it is supposed to help finance creators, but if it helps anyone outside of the copyright collectives, it's the Top 40 as suggested by Anonymous Coward.

    The actual Independent musicians, the ones who it ought to be for, the ones who actually distribute their music online and don't appear on the radio, not only don't get a piece of the action, they have to pay the levy when they are burning CDs to sell (or even promos to give away!)

    Many Canadians believe that the Levy means we can copy movies as well.

    There was a suggestion by Charlie Angus, the one Canadian politician who seems to understand this stuff, that the CD Levy should be expanded to cover all storage devices. Our Minister of Heritage (who blocks citizens from following his Twitter feed) very emphatically said that this "ipod tax" was not going to happen.

    Meanwhile our current government is attempting to put through Bill C-32, a new copyright law (which appears to have been written by the MPAA/RIAA/USTR/CRIA) that will be worse than the DMCA as suggested by NAMELESS.ONE. When they aren't doing that, they keep ACTAing along.

  • Richard Dawkins Points Fan To The Pirate Bay To See His Latest Documentary

    Laurel L. Russwurm ( profile ), 21 Sep, 2010 @ 08:30am

    who IS the rights holder?

    The most frightening thing is that no one seems to know for sure whether Dawkins is the rights holder of his film.

    Think about it. If there is really such a thing as "intellectual property" how can it possibly belong to ANYONE but the originator.

    That said I'm partial to Crosbie Fitch's idea that copyright only exists at all because we're willing to believe in it. Come to think of it, that's how money works too.

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