24 November 2010

Unpardoned Turkey Link Sausages

We don't pardon tasty animals around here. We eat them.

  • The reality — and unreality — of Maxwell's Daemon, information, and the second law of thermodynamics. Now maybe someone will apply these insights to economic and financial systems...
  • A huge honkin' "copyright infringement" award for which the damages aren't based on the copying so much as on the nature of what was copied: Critical internal and business documents, which were then used improperly just like a stolen list of sales contacts.
  • Congress passed a technical correction to the Copyright Act (it is now on the President's desk for signature). The most important note is what is not in the bill: A proposal to allow an exclusive licensee to sublicense works without explicit permission from the copyright holder. In the Ninth Circuit, that's clearly the law (and rightly so, parallel to all other licensing law based on federal rights); other circuits, not so clear. This is an important issue for authors, because — in a technical sense — under the 1976 Act, any publishing contract that does not transfer the copyright (either formally or as a work for hire) is a license, not a sale... and so, arguably, Tasini forecloses the proposal in the first place, but that's an argument for another time.

    In any event, this correction was apparently limited to corrections and clarifications; most of them merely apply common sense to the realities of electronic recordkeeping, or deal with ambiguities by putting the common understanding clearly into the statute.

  • Are scientists more like Mr Spock or Captain Kirk? More to the point, more like Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde (you know who you are)?