I purposely did not post anything yesterday (April Fool's Day). In an election year, every day is Fool's Day, so I really felt no need.
- Dith Pran survived The Killing Fields. He couldn't survive prostate cancer, as the AP and NYT note.
- Also on the obituary front, Lorena Tinker (the mother of the children in Tinker v. Des Moines Ind. Comm. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1968)) died. As an interesting contrast, consider this PEN letter on Patriot Act.
- There has been a variety of views on internet piracy in the last week. Here's one on book piracy, and a contrarian view. Then there's the continuing issue of whether KaZaa was purposely set up to facilitate piracy, wink wink, nudge nudge. Of course, all of this might be slightly less of an issue if agents (and publishers) weren't so "lazy" about new media, as further illustrated by this item at ComixTalk.
- The flip side of piracy is preservation of aging materials. The LOC Study Group on library exceptions to copyright issues its initial report (PDF, 2.5mb) and executive summary (PDF, 1mb), recommending some fairly reasonable and minimal changes to copyright law.
I would have preferred that the library first make an attempt to contact the copyright holder to see if the holder has reissue plans, but given the Copyright Office's refusal to put forth a realistic plan for dealing with the orphan works problem, that was simply not going to happen. I strongly suspect that this working group simply did not consider holder-reissue concerns, either by direction or by tunnel vision. Regardless, their recommendations do a fair not entirely good enough, but better than expected job of balancing various interests.
- Superman and the consequences of misguided contracting and rights grabs are back in the news. Most of the media has egregiously misrepresented the significance of the partial summary judgment ruling; here's a surprising and remarkably accurate FAQ on the Superman ruling. It is so common for activists and, for that matter, those with financial interests to ignore the outcome-determinative effect of procedural issues that I almost missed this one.
- On the dubious IP front, the PTO has issued a preliminary rejection on reexamination of a controversial distance-learning patent rejected. I've only glanced at the underlying document, but I've had my eye on this "method patent" for quite some time. Perhaps that will lead the ever-more-elderly Federal Circuit to focus on its deficiences in civil procedure... which have, as much as the very concept of "business method" patents, led to some really bad results that are not consistent with the Constitutional imperative behind the Patent Act.
More miscellany tomorrow, and more on the "Yoo memo" later today... if I can stop my screen from smoking long enough to actually post my response.