26 March 2013

Everything But the Squeal

Shoe, 26 Mar 2013

Today's platter of internet link sausages is heavily seasoned with sarcasm (to help hide the chewiness of the cartilage and other connective tissues). What, you're surprised?

  • The publishing industry is changing. So, naturally, what passes for "journalism" relating to the publishing industry focuses on people with a vested interest in minimizing that change... even in the face of French disrespect for everyone involved, especially the authors (at least if they're foreign authors).
  • Then, watching the current dinosaurs, none of that is excessively surprising. On one tentacle, there's the "why can't they both lose?" struggle between S&S and B&N over product placement and terms (ignoring, of course, that the authors are neither being given any say over it, and will be the primary victims). On another tentacle, there's the misuse and misunderstanding of the roles of libraries by virtually everyone. On yet another tentacle, there's the misguided "boycott" of Amazon-published books by bookstores (sorry if that link seems stale, but most of the more-recent ones are behind paywalls, and I seldom link to paywalled material on this blawg). I'm nowhere near out of tentacles yet!
  • A fascinating decision from the Supreme Court this morning holds that bringing a drug dog up to the front door is a search that requires a warrant (PDF). There are several interesting aspects of this opinion — such as the 5-judge, pro-defendant majority of Justices Scalia (wrote the opinion), Thomas, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayór — but they're just surface amusement. The beneath-the-surface interest is in the rationales for the various positions. The majority was a property-rights basis; Justice Kagan, for herself and Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayór, agreed and said she'd have been perfectly happy on a Katz/expectation of privacy basis; and the dissenters... allowed an inexperienced clerk to draft their opinion (I hope). The key point is that Justice Kagan's concurring opinion points toward reinvigorating the privacy issues involved in any other kind of search involving "enhanced tools" like drug dogs... or, one might hope, database-mining searches of electronic communications, as I suggested a couple of decades ago.
  • Dean Wesley Smith grumps — not gripes, grumps — about doing corporate taxes as a small publisher. Gee, I wonder if any of the scam publishers out there ever did this? More to the point, whether they ever got competent tax advisors (CPAs and/or lawyers) to sign off on it?
  • The UK is going farther along the "let's prevent orphan works" path than the US has been willing to even discuss, with a new partially funded "copyright hub" to make finding holders easier. Of course, the UK is not crippled by the insanity of the US's we-call-it-registration-but-it's-registration-in-name-only copyright system, so the copyright hub actually has a chance to work! And meanwhile, in a coda to Kirtsaeng, Scottish courts have further trampled on territorial rights; with Rangers mired in Division 3 (thanks to financial shenanigans more than poor play), though, I'm really not sure it's going to make much of a difference for a couple of years.