15 December 2010

Midweek Link Sausage Platter

It's finals week for the elder remora, and I am therefore distracted.

  • A critically important decision on authors' and musicians' rights came from England yesterday, via the only feline worth listening to, the IPKat. This time, Pink Floyd managed to hold EMI to its contract terms: Since the contract didn't authorize sale of individual songs or of electronic downloads, EMI can't do so.
  • Rupert Murdoch's empire doesn't just approve of the TRAITOR Act1 — it tries to act like the government and implement it for private gain against dastardly enemies of the state... or at least dastardly enemies of higher circulation figures of newspapers too wretched for the bottom of a birdcage. This is the real danger of the TRAITOR Act and its kin: That, by making such behavior acceptable for governments when someone in the government says it's necessary (or, at least, convenient), it will become possible (or even acceptable) for private interests to do the same.
  • The draft is ending... im Deutschland (as a matter of pity for American monolingualists, auf Englisch).
  • At least in the 1960s — in contrast to that pesky draft — they had decent protest music. Where is it now?
  • Maybe smart independent bookstores can survive while the big brick-and-mortar chains are dying by being smart about technology. Of course, it would help if the independent bookstores weren't simultaneously stuck with both the returns system (which actually costs them money, net, when everything is extended) and oligopolistic distributors... In short, it's not just the part of publishing that is visible to Joe Book-consumer that needs reform.
  • Professor Chiang clearly explains why patents are incomprehensible, and it's not the cutting-edge science: It's the bad writing. One might also question how scientists, engineers, and businesspeople — who are not responsible for the bad writing in question — are supposed to tell whether they're infringing an existing patent... or maybe that's just another aspect of ensuring continuing employment for lawyers.

  1. The USA Totalitarian Regime Activity Incitement To Obscure Reality Act, Pub. L. No. 107–56: they had to destroy representative democracy to save it.