06 October 2010


Errands, meetings, life, etc. Sometimes blawgging has to come later or tomorrow...

  • From the department of "It's Money That Matters," the Beeb ponders whether hard times make good art (publishers have always done their very best to ensure that writers are having hard times), while the so-called "enhanced e-book" may be publishers' wave of the future (is this, perhaps, behind Macmillan's championing of the so-called "agency model" for e-book pricing... and despicable contract terms?) and music startups have trouble making money (although if you read farther down, and actually look at the details behind the examples, you'll discover a different reason entirely: Initial undercapitalization combined with an expectation of free-riding, played against rights agencies that refuse to account for economies of scale or of repetition). Meanwhile, there are silly assertions like "intellectual property will save the British economy" to be made, which ignores that it's almost never the actual creators of IP who profit: It's the distributors (and provides a rather ironic contrast to the preceding session on internationalization as a way to create value in IP).

    On the other hand, it's really sad when effective reform of that social dinosaur known as "military structure" is faster, less painful, and more likely than similar changes in content distribution.

  • There's a major test going on in Atlanta on the implications of Grokster: At what point does a university's activity constitute "inducing infringement"? The 1709 Blog has a thumbnail sketch of the current status that ignores the elephant in the room, which — ironically enough — is not the inducing theory of infringement introduced in Grokster, but the misbegotten legacy of State Street Bank and Chavez— because this particular university is an arm of the state of Georgia, and therefore may not be amenable to suit in federal court in the first place.

    All of that procedural nonsense out of the way, the real question is this: How far can one go in providing references to material, with the known possibility (at some level of probability) that the material will be copied by the intended audience, before providing those references induces infringement? And is that modified by any fair use questions uniquely applicable to students at universities, particularly in the face of the exceedingly ridiculous fees charged for (and difficulty getting permissions in the first place) for classroom materials? In short, this is not an easy case at the policy level no matter how one tries to deal with it... and it provides yet another reason for consolidating copyright matters in the Federal Circuit, because the Eleventh Circuit (due to its own incorrect interpretations in the past) will almost certainly create a substantial circuit split when it issues an opinion on appeal.

  • Professor Tushnet points to a fascinating article on plagiarism, attribution, and differing standards that neglects the simplest, easiest solution: Common courtesy.

The title of this post is an homage to Harlan Ellison's story "Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts." And if you don't understand, go read it; it's in his collection Troublemakers, among other places. Come on, it'll do you some good to read it... and the rest of the stories therein.