"Right now, only two of the six largest American publishers allow libraries to lend all of their e-books, and one of those two sells licenses that expire after twenty-six check-outs…. Publishers have tried charging libraries higher prices for e-books. They've tried introducing technologically unnecessary 'friction,' such as a ban on simultaneous loans of a title, or a requirement that library patrons come in person to the library to load their reading devices. The friction frustrates library patrons and enrages librarians, and even so, it hasn't been substantial enough to reassure the publishers who are abstaining from the library market altogether."
If you read just one piece of hysterical overheated lunacy today, although I certainly hope you read many of them, definitely make it third-generation rich man and Harper's magazine funder John R. MacArthur's rant about the Internet. The dot com bust didn't end my Internet travails. It wasn't so long ago—maybe eight years—that I found myself trapped in a corridor at Harper's, surrounded by a small mob of what I can't help but refer to as "young people." These youthful members of my editorial staff—one of them now the co-editor of Mother Jones Magazine—were imploring me, demanding even, that I meet the Internet revolution head on by posting [...]
One of the problems with this innovative and cool approach by the Wall Street Journal to writing about Pinterest by writing about Pinterest on Pinterest (and it is!) is that there you can't address that, more than early Napster, more than Megaupload, more than any government-seized hip-hop blog, Pinterest is entirely copyright-infringement. It's just that, unlike with music and movies, there's no dumb and hostile industry lobby that represents, say, "every photographer everywhere." If there was ever a place on the Internet that made you think SOPA was a good idea, it'd be right here! But there is, in the Journal itself, a spiffy little paragraph [...]
In 2000, Stuart Manley, the owner of Barter Books of Alnwick, Northumberland, found a folded poster at the bottom of a box of random books he'd bought at auction. (Barter Books is a very famous and beautiful bookstore housed in an old train station. Many features of the original station have been left intact, and there are model trains running around the shop on a high track above the bookshelves.) Mary Manley, Stuart's wife and partner in the shop, took a liking to the poster. It was framed and displayed behind the till. Right away people started trying to buy it off them: Not For Sale, they were told. [...]
Feel bad. @Stanley_Basset is getting his nuts nipped today. He is already grumpy on account of no breakfast.
— Michelle Ogundehin (@MOgundehin) May 24, 2012
The enormous and sweeping Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill was presented to Parliament last week and is making its way through England's extremely foreign government. (They do things weird over there!) The bill is a whole lot of things: it establishes the "UK Green Investment Bank" (which sounds toothless). And it has lots of implications for employers—including one sentence in the bill will limit whistleblowing to cases that benefit "the public interest." But one group at least is celebrating, [...]
Today Louis Vuitton had its Paris show (it was train-themed! They built a giant train! All the models had (non-union) porters!). Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton's "director of civil enforcement for North America" is real mad at the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Intellectual Property Group. They're holding a symposium later this month on fashion law and copyright, which is very fascinating! And their poster drew the ire of Vuitton, incorporating and parodying as it does their trademarked material. Vuitton's claim that the poster's "dilution" of their trademark is bizarre, and what's amazing about these discussions now is how willfully everyone wants to misread copyright law. And now I am [...]
Never paint your idols' copyrighted lyrics for your gallery show, they'll always disappoint you (with a cease and desist letter). That's the sad story of Erik den Breejen, whose show just closed in NYC on a sour note, as Van Dyke Parks, lyricist for the Beach Boys' "Smile," took quite unhappily to reproduction of his words in paint. The biggest fault here is perhaps having so-so taste in music. Here we have reproduced a small version of one of den Breejen's paintings. HOW DOES IT FEEL. (Probably okay actually! Does it devalue the work? Unlikely.) Maybe it's the universe trying to teach him a harsh lesson: his wordless [...]
If you're not paying attention to the always incredible goings-on at Pinterest, some recent updates:
• Pinterest is perfect for people to find and buy things. That's why this spammer is making a minimum of $1,000 a day, all from affiliate links. Nothing really wrong with that: affiliate links to Amazon are a good business! And so is shoving up thousands of Pinterest pics a day, with affiliate links attached, apparently. BRB, gotta get on this, hate to watch a gravy train pass me by.
• Last week, when Pinterest rolled out new terms of service, which including banning thinspiration blogs—wait, sidebar? The poor anorexic bloggers! They are to [...]
Photo-rebroadcasting site Pinterest has rolled out a meta tag that disables people stealin' your photos on Pinterest. It's a good and smart measure for the company, sure. It doesn't mean the vast majority of users aren't copyright infringers, either—but it does protect the company even further than their already totally appropriate DMCA procedures. The vast majority of people will not take advantage of this measure, which makes it seem like they are therefore de facto ceding copyright in exchange for promotion. (Although no action does not equal renouncing one's copyright, of course.) For instance, I can't imagine that we'd ever use it: denying readers the ability [...]
Hellzapoppin' in the world of intellectual property rights these days. Lawsuits, corporate flim-flamming, the claims of far-sighted academics and developers, furious authors and artists and the conflicting demands of a sprawling Internet culture have created a gargantuan, multi-directional tug-of-war that will inevitably affect what and how we will be able to read online in the future. Recent developments indicate, amazingly, that there are grounds for hope that the public will in time benefit from the results of this epic tussle.
When food blogger Monica Gaudio complained to editor Judith Griggs of Cooks Source magazine about the theft of her online article about apple pie, she asked for an apology and a small donation to the Columbia School of Journalism in lieu of payment. The incident never would have made national headlines had Griggs not condescendingly countered that Gaudio should pay her for cleaning up her article. "But honestly Monica," she wrote, in what has turned into a widely mocked meme, "the web is considered 'public domain' and you should be happy we didn’t just 'lift' your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!"
While Griggs' [...]
Long-time blogger (and even longer-time Canadian) Joe Clark has announced his new book project, "The Cranky Copyright Book." It promises to investigate that huge swath of intellectual territory between the RIAA and Cory Doctorow; his point being that neither party in the copyright wars has our (meaning: your) best interest at heart. He's also promising to go where no wo/man has dared to go before! "I will spend ages rereading the entire Ã…"uvres of [Larry] Lessig (and [Michael] Geist). I'll listen to all their interviews and watch all their presentations. And I'm going to write the first independent analysis of either of them that isn't financed by [...]