29 April 2008

Almost May Madness

Almost May. Definitely madness.

  • Since you're reading this blawg, I have to assume that you have some grasp of international IP issues. Improve that grasp with Professor Patry's comments on the new Special 301 list from the US Trade Representative. It's actually important; the battles fought over, around, and through the "piracy" and "disrespect" issues that make up the Special 301 list reflect what much of what will happen domestically in about eighteen months. It fits into the vexing issue of digital rights and territories all too well.
  • The civil procedure geek in me is relishing this new controversy concerning patent judges. What surprises me is that nobody appears to have made the same (or, at least, parallel) assertions regarding copyright tribunals... yet.
  • According to a docket entry last Thursday, the Harry Potter Lexicon "Finding[s] of facts and Conclusions of law [are] to be filed by 5/9/08." That does not, however, mean that the decision will be filed by that date; it means that the parties must file their proposed findings and conclusions by 09 May. The critical language that makes this clear is the last two words of the entry: "Decision reserved." Or, at least, it's clear to a civil procedure geek. Like me.
  • And that segues into an attempt to create a controversy: allegations of a Bloomsbury author "revolt" over purported excessively favorable treatment for Joanne Rowling. Presuming that the article isn't just another example of trying to make "news" where there is none, the authors themselves have a simple cure. <SARCASM> All they need to do is write a book for a commercial publisher that attracts all the attention that Harry Potter has. </SARCASM> And grow up and realize that of course their bestselling author gets more attention. Or maybe they could just become truly reprehensible and get more attention that way.
  • Nobody really understands fair use (least of all the person who wrote the article). Similarly, nobody understands what constitutes an unlawful conspiracy (least of all both sides in a countersuit against the RIAA, which is one of the least-well-conceived complaints I've read in, oh, a week or so). Worse, there's the mixing of fair use with unlawful restraint of trade... in the exclusivity terms the maker of Dungeons & Dragons is attempting to impose on licensees.
  • The form of books is almost as strange as the NYT gushing over authorship — of POD and vanity-press books. But not quite as strange as going from critic to author.
  • Last, and definitely least, consider this pseudocontroversy about a Yale art student work. It's a Yale art student. Of course it's weird!