09 September 2009

Link Sausage Number Nine

Reality intruded on my plans to start dumping immediately on the GBS settlement again (besides, I'm digesting the last-minute objections), so here are some tasty link sausages to keep you, umm, entertained in the meantime...

  • Fanboys everywhere had mixed news yesterday. On the one hand, the Tolkein estate settled its long-running battle with Warner over money from the immensely successful Lord of the Rings films, clearing the way for The Hobbit to continue preproduction. On the other hand, the creator of the Halo games was swallowed by another bigger fish in the entertainment industry: Disney. The elder remora (a Halo fanatic) was appalled by that, although he allowed that a possible authorized overlay (WAD, in Doom terms) of Cinderella might make it worthwhile.

    All of which leads to this question: What part of "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal" is so hard to understand?

  • At GalleyCat, there's a piece on book embargoes that references a publicist's self-aggrandizing excuses for the embargo system. The real problem with book embargoes, though, is that they are relics of the production and distribution system (and calendar) of the 1950s, and haven't been rethought since. But then, that would require publishers (and film and music distributors) to pay attention and adapt to their changing environment instead of imposing their "traditional" practices upon it... which isn't going to happen any time soon.
  • Charlie Stross muses on the value of goodwill, with some nods toward IP valuation by companies. It's worth thinking about, particularly in regard to Annie Leibovitz's difficulties.
  • And, remaining in theoryland for the moment, Professor Patry (at his new blawg) muses on the relationship between property and property rights, and how that in turn relates to copyright. I would step back one level of abstraction farther, and ask why property and property rights are the dominant memes in the first place. There's a simple and snide answer that has more than a bit of truth to it, but may represent a "least of all the evils" situation: The rise of "law" and the fall of "equity" in the mechanisms society has to resolve disputes short of bloodshed. When the means to resolve disputes (over, say, the right to use a poem) almost always come down to an exchange of money, instead of any result based on "equity" (e.g., a court ordering that the poet grant a license to a reuser, while the reuser must not only acknowledge the poem's source and pay the license fee but must also provide a direct link back to the poet's preferred text, which differs slightly from the version that was published in The New Yawkah a few years back), everything begins to look like "property" and "property rights." This is also consistent with the broad scope of standing theory in other legal contexts. So, Professor, I think the distinction you discuss does matter... but for much broader reasons than the distinction itself.