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Copyright and the Games Industry 94

A recent post at the Press Start To Drink blog examined the relationship the games industry has with copyright laws. More so than in some other creative industries, the reactions of game companies to derivative works are widely varied and often unpredictable, ranging anywhere from active support to situations like the Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes debacle. Quoting: "... even within the gaming industry, there is a tension between IP holders and fan producers/poachers. Some companies, such as Epic and Square Enix, remain incredibly protective of their Intellectual Property, threatening those that use their creations, even for non-profit, cultural reasons, with legal suits. Other companies, like Valve, seem to, if not embrace, at least tolerate, and perhaps even tacitly encourage this kind of fan engagement with their work. Lessig suggests, 'The opportunity to create and transform becomes weakened in a world in which creation requires permission and creativity must check with a lawyer.' Indeed, the more developers and publishers that take up Valve's position, the more creativity and innovation will emerge out of video game fan communities, already known for their intense fandom and desire to add to, alter, and re-imagine their favorite gaming universes."

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Verizon Asks Court To Affirm 'Most Reliable' Claim 111

suraj.sun writes "Verizon has asked a court to affirm its claim to be 'America's Most Reliable 3G Network.' From the article, 'Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon and Vodafone Group PLC, asked a US court for a judgment that its advertising claims to be "America's Most Reliable 3G Network" were truthful, which rival AT&T called "misleading" on Monday. In papers filed in US District Court in Manhattan, Verizon said assertions on July 1 by AT&T Mobility LLC, a unit of AT&T, that its advertising was false could not be supported. AT&T, which has its principal business in Atlanta, had filed the challenge with the National Advertising Division of the Council for Better Business Bureaus. Verizon Wireless said its claims of having "America's Most Reliable 3G Network" and "America's Best 3G Network" and "America's Most Reliable Wireless Network" are "truthful, accurate and substantiated" and do not violate the trademark law known as the Lanham Act. It said that AT&T's challenge "relies on the incorrect premise that speed is an essential element of the standard for measuring network reliability.'" I can only hope that at some future date a court will decide which light beer truly is the best tasting.
It's funny.  Laugh.

The Hard Drive Is Inside the Computer 876

davidmwilliams writes "Those of us who work in technology have a jargon all of our very own. We know the difference between CPUs and GPUs, between SSD and HD, let alone HD and SDTV! Yet, our users are flat out calling everything 'the hard drive.' Why is it so?" As much as I hate to admit it, this particular thing drives me nuts. You don't call the auto shop and tell them that your engine is broken when your radio breaks!

Comment Remember what you're licensing (Score 1) 173

Licensing software is a copyright concept (unless you've patented it). Folks only need a license (and can only be bound by one) if they're infinging on one of the copyright monopolies: making copies, distributing copies, and making derivative works.

So you can only attach conditions of any sort if your proposed licensees will be doing any of those acts. It doesn't sound to me like you could build a license to covers your desire to get credit in papers when somebody has simply used your software. Use of software is not (under most reasonable interpretations of the law, MAI vs. Peak notwithstanding) something that triggers the need for a copyright license.


Submission + - MIT's SAT Math Error

theodp writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports that for years now, MIT wasn't properly calculating the average freshmen SAT scores (reg.) used to determine U.S. News & World Report's influential annual rankings. In response to an inquiry made by The Tech regarding the school's recent drop in the rankings, MIT revealed that in past years it had excluded the test scores of foreign students as well as those who fared better on the ACT than the SAT, both violations of the U.S. News rules. MIT's reported first-quartile SAT verbal and math scores for the 2006 incoming class totaled 1380, a drop of 50 points from 2005."

Submission + - Mark Helprin in NYT pushes for copyrights forever

Maximalist writes: "Author Mark Helprin is using this Sunday's NY Times Op-Ed page to whine about just how unjust a confiscation of private property it is when the government allows a copyright to expire. This argument is a crock for any number reasons. Let's compile them all, and compose a letter to the NYT editor from Slashdot laying the smackdown on this agitprop."

Submission + - Should Copyrights Last as Long as ideas?

The_Rook writes: In an opinion piece in the New York Times, "A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn't Its Copyright?" Mark Helprin, author of "Winter's Tale," equates copyrights on written works like novels, etc. with physical assets like houses, flour mills, travel agencies, and newspapers. Apparently 70 years after his death is not enough for Mr. Helprin. He wants his descendants to own the copyright on his works forever.

On the way he laments that the Constitution says copyrights are to be granted for "limited times" and is thankful that congress can and has periodically extended the length of copyrights.

Lost on Mr. Helprin is that the entire value of an idea is it's usefulness to others and that public domain enriches more than "stockholders of various businesses."

The essay is not particularly well thought out and is perhaps beneath the attention of the Slashdot community. But it needs to be refuted on the grounds that is perpetuates the fallacy that intellectual property is the same as physical property and that authors have always had right to their intellectual property (which the nasty government has seen fit to take away) rather than the real situation where intellectual property is a fiction created by the government to encourage the creation and publication of creative works.

The article can be read here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/opinion/20helpri n.html?pagewanted=1

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