Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Teaching logic seems more useful. (Score 1) 70 70

I would offer some kind of intro to programming/C/Python/Pearl as an elective and maybe only in a magnet school.

All students need exposure to a good introduction to computer course, as computers are everywhere these days. Why should only the so called gifted have access to computers and not everyone else?

Comment Re:Not so really (Score 1) 70 70

However, a LOT of them had very poor spelling, reading and grammar skills.

This is why they're going to a community college and not a university. Community colleges do a better job at remedial education for both high school graduates and dropouts. Most universities avoid remedial education like the plague.

Comment Mathematics before computer programming... (Score 1) 70 70

Although I cut my teeth on Commodore 64 BASIC and 6502 assembly language for eight years as a kid, I wasn't a good programmer and took only the required Introduction to Computers course in college. Surprisingly, I got an A in that class and every guidance counselor since that class insisted that I study computers. I took a lot of English lit and mathematics instead.

Through a twist of fate, I got a six-month internship in black box software testing and enjoyed the work. Became a video game tester and lead tester for six years after that. I went back to school to learn computer programming after the dot com bust. I made the president's list for maintaining a 4.0 GPA in my major upon graduation.

Although learning computers is important, the literature and mathematics courses provided a solid foundation for learning multiple computer languages and solving problems. Going back to school as an adult also made a huge difference.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 70 70

When I was looking at college catalogs in the early 1990's, I was somewhat amused to see that some colleges would allowed the substitution of the foreign language requirement with a computer programming language. Needless to say, my eight years of Commodore 64 BASIC didn't qualify.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 164 164

If the copyright on "Steamboat Willie" expired, anyone could copy the work or create derivative works from it featuring a similar character, but they could not call the character in derivative works Mickey Mouse, nor use Mickey Mouse's image in such works.

No, when the Steamboat Willy copyright expires, there is no longer a copyright which prohibits people from making or distributing additional copies of the work, from publicly performing or displaying the work, or from preparing new derivative works based on it (such as a new Mickey Mouse short in which he commands a homemade submarine powered by barnyard animals or something). Of course, attributes of the Mickey Mouse character which originated in later, still copyrighted material would not be available; thus you're using the original 1928 black and white Mickey, or forking a new version of the character off from there. Can't give him a dog named Pluto, nor even the distinctive Mickey Mouse voice, as those both appeared in later films.

They would, however, be able to still freely copy the original work even though it featured said character that is still under trademark because the copy of the work is not considered a new work, it is considered a *COPY*

I don't know why that would matter from a trademark perspective. Trademark is concerned with goods bearing a mark all originating from the same source, so as to protect consumer expectations regarding consistent levels of quality. Even the goods of two different sellers are indistinguishable, that alone doesn't mean that one is free to use the trademark of the other.

The trademark issue here is whether the MICKEY MOUSE trademark even survives, at least with regard to goods such as motion pictures. This is because the MICKEY MOUSE trademark is inescapably connected to the Mickey Mouse character, and now the character is free for all to use, meaning that his presence in a work no longer indicates that it comes from a single source. That -- the freedom to use the character, and the loss of the single source expectation of consumers -- is what kills the trademark. And we know that the copyright lapsing will control what happens to the trademark based on precedents like Dastar (where the Supreme Court said that trademark is not allowed to operate like a perpetual form of copyright), and SHREDDED WHEAT (where the Supreme Court said that where a patent expires, anyone is free to use the invention and to use the previously trademarked, descriptive name of the invention).

the work uses the trademark with permission

First, there would largely no longer be a trademark. Second, that would be clear naked licensing, which would likely invalidate the mark anyway.

Comment Re:Militarily insane idea (Score 1) 381 381

Russia still have armed nuclear ICBMs that can reach the U.S. faster than tanks rolling across the bridge. The cold war may have ended, but Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) have not. You should be more concern about the Chinese buying farmland in the Pacific Northwest.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 5, Interesting) 381 381

But that seems like a stretch given the effective shipping to ports on the west coast.

The west coast ports for North America. are maxed out and need modernization to accommodate larger shipping vessals.

The Chinese are also spending $50B to build the Nicaragua Canal in Central America to bypass the west coast ports.

The occasional labor strike at the west coast ports and the resulting backlog doesn't help either. Alternative routes may be worth the money for the Chinese to get their products to U.S. consumers.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 164 164

Sorry, but no. If anyone can make a copy of a work featuring a trademarked character, then the trademark on that character, with regard to goods that are copies of creative works, has to lapse, as the mark has become generic in that context. Once the door is opened for multiple sources of identically marked goods, it kills the trademark. This is just the copyright version of the SHREDDED WHEAT case from the 1930s, plus a bit of the more recent Dastar case.

And the trademark can't prevent people from copying works or creating new derivative works that feature the same trademarked characters.

You're thinking of something more like nominative use, in which a third party can use a mark without permission under certain circumstances. I'm saying that there would no longer be an applicable mark at all.

Comment Re: Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 164 164

There is no stripping of assets.

The natural state of a creative work is to be in the public domain. Authors do not create copyrights; the public creates them (through our servant, the government), with the public benefit in mind. Some works aren't even eligible for copyright at all, because it wouldn't be for the public benefit. When a copyright is granted, it is for a limited period of time, because a perpetual copyright can never be for the public benefit.

Thus, a better way to imagine the situation is this: if the government owns a parcel of public land, such as a small building suitable for a restaurant at a visitor's center in a national park, it can rent the restaurant space to a private business for a period of time. So long as the restaurateur makes his rent and follows other previously agreed upon terms (e.g. compliance with applicable law, signage that complies with the standards set by the park administrators, etc) he is free to profit as much as he can.

But when the lease expires, the restaurateur cannot argue that his business venue has been taken from him, even though it might be a profitable location forever. It was never his to begin with; he just got to use it for a while.

Regarding Mickey Mouse, copyright policy has to ignore subjective assessments of artistic value. What's important is getting as many works as possible created, published, and into the public domain (and as close to the public domain as possible until fully in the public domain). That's how you best serve the public interest.

And if an author argues that his private interest is more important than the public interest, that's all well and good, and I don't have a problem with his self interest (indeed, we're relying on it to motivate him), but why should the public ignore its own collective self interest? As there's no possibility of a copyright without it being granted by the public, authors are not in a strong bargaining position.

Comment Re:I think they might'a meant to say something els (Score 1) 164 164

Actually, the Copyright Act was replaced entirely in 1976 (becoming effective in 1978), and has been amended some, yet in substantial ways, since then. Noises are being made about a new Copyright Act coming along in the near future.

The person who wrote the summary is a bit confused. What happened is that the Warner claim was based on a copy published in 1935. Evidence was discovered of a copy that was published in 1927. That's not terribly interesting, but a copy published in 1922 has also come to light. That is interesting, because the cutoff for copyright on published works is 1923. (Due to the duration of copyright prior to the effective date of the 1976 Act, which retroactively lengthened the term of copyrights that were still in force)

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 164 164

Disney holds a trademark on Mickey Mouse, and can retain said ownership into perpetuity. That aspect alone can rightfully keep anyone else from utilizing the character in their own works, forever,

No, that part of the trademark will lapse when the copyright terminates. A trademark can't function as a substitute for a copyright. The remainder of the trademark might prevent people from selling MICKEY MOUSE brand breakfast cereal, but it would not stop them from using the character in their own works.

This is really the main reason that Disney is concerned about copyright terms; they know what would happen to the trademark.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990