23 September 2022

Highly Irregular Link Sausage Platter

Highly irregular, and lost in time. Lost in space… and meaning.

  • The recently-resigned President of the (UK) Society of Authors has called for an independent inquiry into its governance and methods. On one tentacle, this is obviously futile; given the rampant egos and default substandard socialization of virtually any group of authors exceed three in number, was any of this a surprise? (This is my client base — I know them, and how poorly they communicate in writing outside their intended paid writings. And I know full well that lawyers are worse.) On another tentacle, organizational shortcomings really do need to be addressed, if nothing else to prevent things from getting worse. On yet another tentacle, outside inquiries into labor organizations are extremely dangerous to the long-term mission of that labor organization.

    Do not be at all surprised if someone tries to take advantage of the Society of Authors being distracted from its mission. It might be publishers ignoring or "misinterpreting" the Minimum Basic Agreement. It might be big agencies learning from H'wood. It might be distributors (direct or indirect) playing games. Given the recent changes Over There, it might well be the new Government, especially given Tory attitudes toward the BBC and how easy it would be to extend them if no one is watching.

    But no matter the result of the inquiry, it's not going to actually fix the problem if it doesn't result in whacking the long-term/permanent staff upside the noggin with a cricket bat. That's where the rot is in arts organizations, whether labor-type or trade-type. For every advantage conferred by "knowledge of organizational history" there is at least one disadvantage conferred through "intellectual ossification and 'not-invented-here' syndrome"… not to mention the class-awareness/warfare issues lurking underneath.

  • Now for some miscellaneous bits of sausage on IP matters.

    • Advertisements and offers for sale are uses of a mark, at least in the EU. This matters to authors who advertise their wares in the EU but fulfill them from, say, Australia (or the US or wherever outside the EU, which has Interesting implications thanks to Brexit): If the ads are pointed at the EU, the authors are using marks. And hopefully have the right to use those marks… and are establishing presence to prevent others from doing so.
    • The US Copyright Office is slowly moving into the 1990s by enabling recordation through an online portal. But I am not going to explain the perfidy, use, misuse, and propriety of recordation — the tl;dr version would run close to 4000 words (at least it did in the last draft… exclusive of footnotes).
    • And if you think recordation is screwed up, consider how the Association of Research Libraries interprets copyright rights… in particular because the article makes no distinction whatsoever between wholly and properly owned by the putative publisher and those that are not.
    • But at least there are no significant constitutional infirmities in the US copyright statute, like in the Republic of South Africa. By "no significant constitutional infirmaties" I mean there is a certain amount, like Congressional arrogation of the judicial power in this section; one wonders what the "original public meaning" of "author" was in 1789. Nothing significant at all.
  • I've been waiting for an appellate decision on the (latest) train wreck at Mar-a-Lago (PDF). Admittedly, the fact that it's a golf club is enough to make it disreputable… even without its current inhabitant (one wonders if that club would have excluded his son-in-law). I both know far, far too much about the general principles of document classification and handling and not enough about these particular documents to comment on the extent of damage from potential disclosure (either purposeful — as the holder of those documents did more than once — or through misadventure). The process disclosed thus far, however, reflects an exceptionally grave defect: The document-holder's inability to distinguish among "potential advantage" and "need to know," in a childish/narcissitic conflating of "want" and "need." Unfortunately, diagnosis under DSM–V § 301.81 (which I am not qualified/empowered to make, only to suggest warrants consideration) is not a disqualification for office; historically, there's more than a little sense that it's virtually a prerequisite (and I could be here adding more examples for the rest of the month, six per hour).