30 March 2010

Embracing Chametz

In defiance of (part of) my ancestry, I'm baking bread today... bread made with beer and yeast. The lamb for dinner last night was yummy, and quite rare.

  • From the department of point/counterpoint, we have a fascinating glimpse at what "arts funding" means to artists playing against the story of an artist who escaped starvation... and the ultimate form of censorship. All of this leads to a deeper question of political economy: What is the economic value of "leisure," and is that a necessary and/or productive part of society aside from any internal payments generated?
  • Yet more nonsense about enriched e-books... which is going to be a moving target until there is real, category-specific feedback on both what readers want and what the dominant technological platform in that category can support. It reminds me a great deal of the 1980s/1990s "textbook profits are from ancillaries" meme. There aren't a whole lot of people in trade fiction who think they can learn a damned thing from the textbook market, and in a sense they're right: The data one gathers is noncomparable. The questions, though...
  • Two different review essays on James Shapiro's latest book on the authorship of Shakespeare's works provide a fascinating glimpse into why the controversy continues by themselves. At The Economist, the review focuses on the controversy as just another conspiracy theory, followed by the traditional debunking. At The Chronicle of Higher Education, the review focuses on the controversy as a cultural phenomenon in which the various alternatives are more alike than different, particularly in their methods.
  • Substitute a few names and the year, and this story about the arrests of the domestic funadmendalist christian terrorists in Michigan (auf Deutsch) reads eerily like one about the Red Army Faction at the height of its media powers.
  • Trudeau is on a roll...

    Doonesbury, 30 Mar 2010

  • Here's an excellent summary of the Newzbin decision from my colleague Dr Phillips. It's an interesting decision that — although under UK, not US, law — answers the question "What if Napster had only been an index?" with a resounding "the 'red flag' theory of inducing infringement applies to all of an ISP's safe harbors, if the evidence is sufficient." It's not put in terms of the DMCA safe harbors (remember, UK law), but it discusses the relevant DMCA categories in a way that makes plain that the High Court was thinking of exactly that.

    The bottom line is that US-based sites relying on the DMCA's indexing safe harbor (17 U.S.C. § 512(d)) need to show some awareness of "red flags," too; and that is definitely going to be a problem for some of the more-notorious pirates.