26 March 2010

Excessively Aged Internet Sausage Links

Late again, I know; hopefully, I'll be able to get back on track next week, including the unconscionably delayed Package and GBS essays. In the meantime, though, chew your way through these sausages (but please, please don't inquire how they were made — especially not the first one).
  • In remarkably restrained language, Carrie Vaughn described why she left the publisher of her NYT-bestselling Kitty Norville series for another publisher. And it wasn't about money. As should be obvious, I was particularly (un)amused by the misstatements made in the comments by "A Publishing Insider."
  • Starting in June, The Times and The Sunday Times will be erecting a paywall. And as of that time, no further material from those papers will appear here.

    I was forced to watch, up close and personal, as NewsCorp did the initial destruction of The Times in the late 1980s. As a matter of principle, I don't link to material behind paywalls (it's not that I think paywalls are inherently evil so much as that such links don't belong in a free-to-read blawg... not to mention that I'm too cheap to subscribe anyway).

  • Copyrights extend to more than just the copies, even for tax purposes. This is one of those "well, duuuuh" decisions that it seems surprising to find today, because the "answer" is inherent in the underlying copyright law (not to mention the Berne Convention, at a higher level of abstraction). The snarky rejoinder that tax authorities tend not to pay a whole lot of attention to context is probably more than justified...
  • And now, some tea leaves for Justice Stevens's departure — from an odd perspective. (If you're reading this, you probably appreciate odd perspectives anyway.) The decision issued a few days ago in United Student Aid Funds v. Espinosa, No. 08–1134 (23 Mar 2010) (PDF) doesn't seem to be much of a tea leaf, does it? The key is that it was a unanimous decision turning on a technical question of civil procedure... and it was authored by Justice Thomas, not by Justice Stevens. I was a bit surprised by it, but not a lot: The real question presented is not what was stated on the petition, but the more functionally aware

    Is failure to make the required undue hardship finding under § 528 of the Bankruptcy Code a jurisdictional defect that allows an aggrieved party to reopen the judgment as void under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(4)?

    The answer to this is pretty darned apparent, particularly in light of Muchnick: No. A finding not made in the course of litigation is not, and can never be, a jurisdictional defect.

    I thus find myself agreeing with Justice Thomas. Again. And remembering that Justice Stevens has had a long tendency to not just be in the majority, but to write, hard-core civ pro decisions.

  • The Somali pirates' business model (HT: Ashley Grayson). Application to intellectual property pirates is left as an exercise for the student.

Non Sequitur, 23 March 2010