04 August 2006

Up, Down, and Strange, but Charmless

… and definitely missing Truth and Beauty. My quairky sense of humor has dredged up more miscellany—as usual, in no particular order:

  • Further proof that the s&m dorks in publishing really don't understand irony: "Publishers Try to Sell Words With Moving Pictures." Nor, apparently, the publishing contracts, because there is an excellent chance that the authors reserved the right to make derivative works like films. Except, perhaps when they're ghostwritten.
  • On the other hand, there's also the relatively recent innovation of mob-rule focus groups for TV shows. Hopefully, they include commercials (mock or otherwise) in these showings, or they're unrealistically raising the mock audience's expectations. Or is that "mocked audience"? Now, if only someone would subject the seating in most movie theaters to the same treatment…
  • As happens periodically, someone in England objects to the UK's horrific libel laws. At least, they're horrific compared to ours (which, in some ways, are simultaneously too restrictive and too lax, but that's a consequence of flaws in the common-law system and thus an argument for another time).
  • Then, on the other hand, an article in The New Statesman remarks upon the paucity of politically oriented theater in New York. This is rather ironic coming from a UK-based publication, particularly in light of the preceding item.
  • From the Seattle Times, news that the Chihuly lawsuit appears to have reached a (partial) settlement. This mess is a perfect example of some of the inherent wrongness in the WFH doctrine—and, since it appears that it's not a complete settlement, it's not yet cleaned up.
  • Last, and far from least, there's this interesting item in the WaPo. Leaving aside the shirt-rending among various Internet and gambling constituencies, there's this little bomb dropped in at the end (fake paragraphing omitted for clarity):

    The WTO cannot force a country to do anything. Even if found guilty, a country can refuse to change its trade practices. The WTO largely enforces its rulings by giving the victorious country the right to impose punitive duties on the loser's products. That enforcement mechanism works for big, rich countries such as the United States because other nations fear losing the vast U.S. market. But Antigua's economy is so tiny that few U.S. companies would notice.… So the Antiguans plan to ask the WTO for the right to impose sanctions that would hurt — namely, permission to copy and export U.S.-made DVDs, CDs and similar material. Hollywood is not amused.

    Yeah, that's going to be really successful. Just what we need: Hollywood against the gambling industry in a race to see who can get a stealth amendment in its favor tacked on to some otherwise-unrelated legislation. I'm entirely unsure which is more corrupting… or itself corrupt.

    And, of course, we'd have to pretend that WIPO and the WTO play nicely together in the first place. But my imagination isn't quite that good this morning… particularly since this "proposal" would contravene the Berne Convention, which has been a source of irritation to some WTO constituencies for a while now.