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Comment Re:Not on Brainwave - the copyright lapsed (Score 1) 721

It looks to me like the Copyright Office accepted the renewal. Had they not, the record would/should show the original registration only, and you would be left to compute that since the original copyright was filed in 1954 and was not renewed, that the work was now in the public domain.

Also, the link you posted was for The Broken Sword, not for Brainwave.

Comment Re:Unwise move (Score 2) 721

About 12 years ago, I contacted PG because I was doing some work with pulp stories from the '30's that were public domain, and would have been great to get on the site. While they were a really flaky outfit to deal with, they did have a number of paranoid copyright attorneys at the top of the structure that carefully vetted anything that was even proposed to be included on the site. There must be some kind of story behind how these sci-fi stories managed to bypass that process. The instance cited in the article --

"However, even if ‘The Escape” had not been published as a novel, it would have remained under copyright protection until 1981 (28 years) and been eligible for copyright renewal. Authors of that era, and Anderson in particular, were very aware of the need to renew copyrights, and typically meticulously kept their copyright protections up to date. Copyright law for works created more recently is much easier: life plus 70 years. (Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, 1998)."

-- is irrelevant because as a general rule of publishing in those magazines, copyright was assigned to the magazine. If the magazine screwed up and didn't renew its copyrights; or simply went out of business, in which case no one was tracking their assets; or got bought out by some other entity and the record keeping went all pear shaped, copyright did not magically revert to the author. Nor is there any precedent to have an author reassert their copyright claim on works that have been assigned to others. The instance in which the magazine did not file a copyright is obviously a specialized case.


Sound As the New Illegal Narcotic? Screenshot-sm 561

ehrichweiss writes "The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is warning parents and teachers of a new threat to our children: sounds. Apparently kids are now discovering binaural beats and using them to get 'physiological effects.' The report goes on with everyone suggesting that such aural experiences will act as a gateway to drug usage and even has one student claiming there are 'demons' involved. Anyone who has used one of those light/sound machines knows all about the effects that these sounds will give and to state that they will lead kids to do drugs is nonsense at best. It seems the trend in scaring the citizens with a made-up problem has gone to the next level."

Comment Even If They Lose the Appeal... (Score 5, Interesting) 371

...This has got to be seen as a win for the band. They have to pay royalties back to 2002... which is >20 years since the song was released and became a monster hit. Surely its earnings potential has slacked off some since then. Imagine how bad it would be if they had to come up with royalties back to its heyday...

Submission + - Fair Use, Free Speech, and Memory Holes

akahige writes: Copyright and fair use both see quite a bit of discussion here, and a news update sparked an interesting thought to which I have no answer — so I thought it would be interesting to see what the Slashdot pundits have to say... The judge in the Associated Press vs. Shepard Fairey copyright infringement suit over the Obama Hope poster today suggested that the parties come to some sort of settlement rather than dragging the issue into court where the AP, according to the judge, is sure to eventually prevail.

Fairey and his lawyers have been arguing fair use — and that seems to be how the media and copyright watchdogs have been treating the dispute, but there's something more interesting, subtle, and insidious going on that no one has touched on. The Fairey poster is not just the photograph with some Photoshop effects applied to it — which would have certainly brought up all manner of fair use issues. It's been demonstrated that the poster image was traced from the photo (no doubt by hand), but that would actually make it an original creation, even when using something else as a jumping off point. Here's the catch: the photo was not a work of art carefully composed in a studio, it was taken at a public event where anyone standing in roughly the same spot could have taken the exact same shot.

Apparently, what the AP is arguing is that no one has the right to make a artistic representation of anything depicted in a photograph to which they hold the rights. This is not a threat to fair use. It's a threat to free speech, and the willful creation of a memory hole.

Comment HTML5 can't replace Flash in all cases, right? (Score 1) 468

Obviously, the biggest use of Flash on the web is embedded video, but this is hardly the only use, and those are seldom mentioned in the HTML5 v. Flash discussions. With Scribd converting to HTML5, the field seems to be opening up (though their use of Flash always struck me as being an anti-copying measure more than anything else).

So far as I know, HTML5 isn't suitable for things like graphical configurators or 3D models (allowing the user to rotate them) -- or is it? There's QTVR for 3D stuff, but it's always seemed clunky to me. And I haven't seen anything but Flash used for configurators. Are there actually reasonable alternatives to Flash for this sort of thing?


First MySQL 5.5 Beta Released 95

joabj writes "While MySQL is the subject of much high-profile wrangling between the EU and Oracle (and the MySQL creator himself), the MySQL developers have been quietly moving the widely-used database software forward. The new beta version of MySQL, the first publicly available, features such improvements as near-asynchronous replication and more options for partitioning. A new release model has been enacted as well, bequeathing this version the title of 'MySQL Server 5.5.0-m2.' Downloads here."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 2.6.32 Released 195

diegocg writes "Linus Torvalds has officially released the version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel. New features include virtualization memory de-duplication, a rewrite of the writeback code faster and more scalable, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, ATI R600/R700 3D and KMS support and other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a 'perf timechart' tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for the S+Core architecture, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run-time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers. See the full changelog for more details."

Submission + - Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin

akahige writes: An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ's burial cloth is a medieval fake. Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business. But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth. Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

Comment Re:Ethics of photomanipulation (Score 1) 512

As a photojournalist, I think it would be interesting to see just how many photos in fashion magazines are airbrushed or otherwise manipulated after the fact.

As a photojournalist -- and I don't mean this to be insulting -- you are obviously completely unaware of the publishing side of the equation, especially as it pertains to things like fashion magazines. It wouldn't be even remotely "interesting to see" how many photos in such magazines have been airbrushed/manipulated after the fact (presumably meaning after they've left the camera) because the answer is 100% of them. In fact, the only way that an unretouched photo is going to appear in a magazine like that is if they're making a specific point of showing their readers specifically what an unretouched photo looks like.

I ran a design shop specializing in advertising and package design for a bunch of years, and I can tell you from first hand experience that everything that came through the door was retouched. EVERYTHING. It could be as simple as adjusting the color balance, or removing undesirable elements like cold sores, blemishes, logos or objects (from uncontrolled locations), to taking the body/pose from one shot and adding it to a "better" head angle/facial expression from another one. (It's not unlike what they do in the movies if there are TV antennas in a shot of an 18th century cityscape.)

Instead of blaming Photoshop for people's image problems, maybe these people ought to work on addressing the utterly unrealistic assumption on the part of a vast segment of the public that everything they see in the media (print or broadcast) is appearing in some kind of pristine and natural state. (It's not just the French, there's apparently a growing push towards similar labeling in the US.) Do they not think that being able to inject regional ads into live broadcasts of TV events isn't destructively deceptive? C'mon...

If people don't get this concept on their own, then maybe the best solution is to forceably confront them with it. Make it mandatory that everyone work on their school newspapers or yearbook staff where they will be deliberately exposed to such practices (by dint of the curriculum). Like Robert Louis Stevenson said at the very beginning of The Art of Writing: "There is nothing more disenchanting to man than to be shown the springs and mechanism of any art. All our arts and occupations lie wholly on the surface; it is on the surface that we perceive their beauty, fitness, and significance; and to pry below is to be appalled by their emptiness and shocked by the coarseness of the strings and pulleys."


Submission + - SCO Head sued for trade secret theft and fraud 1

akahige writes: In what can only be described as a massive turning of the karmic wheel, Darl McBride (SCO), Robert Brazell (founder of, Stephen Norris (an investment capital guy), and Bryan Cave (former Pelican Equity attorney) are all listed as defendants in a lawsuit filed that alleges they conspired to steal trade secrets from Pelican Equity which they used to establish Talos Partners, a stock lending business. Among the charges are fraud, conspiracy, and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Groklaw posted about this last night and has since pulled the story, though the PDF of the complaint is still available, and there's a summary on Courthouse News Service.

Comment Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula redux (Score 1) 100

Frank Miller adapting Will Eisner makes about as much sense as Sam Peckinpah adapting Jeeves and Wooster.

When Quentin Tarantino made Jackie Brown from Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, people were all "dazzled" by how brilliant it was, this fusing of two great dialogue masters. Personally, I found that Tarantino's choices, starting with moving the story out of Miami and working right on through the list, did nothing more than systematically eliminate everything that made the book charming and great. In the end, what you had was something that was Tarantino's flesh and fetishes hung over the barest mention of Leonard's skeleton.

I fully expect that's what we're going to have with this Spirit movie. Frank Miller is possibly the least qualified person to adapt Eisner (personally, I think Kevin Smith would do a better job), and I'm glad Will's not around to see this.


Submission + - SCO owes Novell Millions!

akahige writes: Judge Kimball has finally ruled in the SCO v. Novell case. While he accepted a number of SCO's arguments — such as UnixWare being the latest version of UNIX — the case boiled down to money. SCO has now gone from "accusing Novell for slander of title and asking for millions in damages, to [having to pay] Novell $2,547,817 plus interest probably." As usual, Groklaw has all the skinny, including the order as text.

Submission + - Patriot Act Database Protects Movie Trailer

akahige writes: In hunting down the trailer for Clive Owen's new movie Shoot 'Em Up, I landed on the official website. There's a section of material that is unavailable to minors, however, instead of the usual remedial JS applet to calculate age based on an inputted birthdate, the studio is using a "fraud prevention" service with a Patriot Act-compliant database to crossreference your name and birthdate to the zip code on record with your government issued ID. So if you don't live in the US, or you're over 17 and don't have a driver's license or government issued ID, or maybe you just don't want to be tracked... you're SOL. Just because you wanted to watch a movie trailer. The movie looks like it could be really cool, but this kind of fascist corporate decision is enough to make me avoid anything with New Line's name on it. Anyone else seeing this sort of insidious behavior creeping into our everyday lives?

Submission + - Harry Potter publisher supposedly hacked 1

akahige writes: Monsters & Critics (and other sites) are reporting that hackers used milw0rm exploits to penetrate Bloomsbury Publishing and obtain a digital copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a month before it is scheduled to hit bookstores. A hacker known as gabriel posted supposed spoilers to the Full Disclosure list. While the veracity of spoilers (or the breach itself) have not been acknowledged by the publishers, fans have expressed great disgust with the reports. Naturally, this raises serious concerns about network security and the fallibility of those both designing and using it — even moreso when the climax of a multi-billion dollar franchise is on the line.

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