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Comment Re:Once again laws trumps your feels (Score 1) 254

Except copyright only protects...copying verbatim or making derivative copies, still significantly like the original text/work.

Not really true in that respect. It protects all sorts of things, even compilations of works that might be copyrighted by others, but the compilation itself is copyrighted (e.g. the books Brad Templeton made by publishing jokes from rec.humor.funny). It doesn't have to be a verbatim copy, but derive a significant portion of its value from some copyrighted work. In fact, in the UK there was a judgement against someone who merely duplicated a style of photograph, found infringing due to having a history of actual copyright infringement. [I mostly disagree with this ruling, btw, but again copyright isn't strictly verbatim copies.]

The argument is that far fewer people will release their creative projects to the world without some form of protection, so it was coded into the US Constitution and subsequent treaties. Consider making something cool, then someone rich simply stealing the idea and capitalizing it through distribution channels while you reap nothing for your original creative idea. This has happened, and even happens today occasionally.

Basically, works based in fictional universes are copyrighted by the holder of the fictional universe, and such works are considered derivative because a large amount of their value (e.g. recognizability) are from the fictional universe or characters. There are certainly intentional exceptions such as parody where you make fun of the universe or the characters, and that's why sketch comedy like SNL has an ironclad protection to create their humor.

Comment Re:Once again laws trumps your feels (Score 1) 254

If one does not protect their IP then that opens up the door for your competitors to use your IP.

You're thinking of trademarks, not copyright. The Star Trek universe, and the characters, are copyrighted even if someone else writes a script using those characters. The copyright holder can selectively choose to prosecute all or none of the violators at his whim.

Certain copyright violations cannot be prosecuted, such as Fair Use. But it's very unlikely fan fiction can fall under fair use, although that has yet to be seen. I believe Star Trek Continues is trying to use that defense as they are non profit and claim their usage is educational (which usually does fall under Fair Use). This is a weak shield, but they also are not harming the franchise so it will likely be overlooked anyway.

"See a lot of post ignorant of the law."

*cough*

Comment RIP Star Trek Continues (Score 5, Informative) 254

The fundraising issue really bothers me. I know that Star Trek Continues had done some fundraising and was producing 45m episodes that were excellent. The production value was amazing, and they recreated parts of the set that were very convincing.

This may shut that down, without special dispensation from cbs/p.

Comment Re: Whats the problem? (Score 4, Informative) 254

However I don't think the law should create monopolies in the first place.

Without a monopoly, art will dry up. The purpose of copyright is to protect the artist from exactly what just happened. If that protection is lost, or blatant violations are not prosecutable, artists will stop releasing their work.

Regardless whether you believe he wouldn't have had the incentive is immaterial. He created the work, not the hotel, and the hotel not only abused their usage limitations, they insulted him in the offer to compensate.

Whenever you use a piece of art, you need to know whether you have the rights to use it. That burden is on that party using the work. So, yes, you actually are liable for copyright infringement, whether or not you think it was legal or not. Otherwise, it would lead to leaks that were unprosecutable and everyone would just claim they didn't know. But if it's a creative work of any kind, you should know that it's copyrighted... because all works are copyrighted by treaty. Whenever you copy/use a piece of art from anywhere, the default is that you're probably pirating it unless you're certain you're not. Whenever I use artwork, I also save the license agreement somewhere including screenshots and addresses allowing use.

Comment Re:The 'real market value of his work' is irreleva (Score 5, Insightful) 254

But it seems dubious to sell short-term licenses for photographs - I've never even heard of that as a thing, and have no idea why anyone would agree to that.

This is a standard commercial license, and you haven't heard of it because you are not a professional photographer or need their services. Most commercial photography does not include the copyright, rather a license to use that copyright for a period of time and specific uses. People violate it all the time, and usually this is simple enough (and inexpensive enough) to deal with.

But TFA implied the hotel didn't care they pirated his work and offered a trivial sum for the excessive violation. The moment they exceeded the usage limits, they were violating copyright.

Consider lending someone your car to drive 100 miles. They return the car with 10,000 miles on it. You complain, and they offer to pay you for another 100 miles. That's not what the agreement was, and they made an insulting offer to compensate for it.

Comment The amount is so high because this is a slam-dunk (Score 2) 254

The hotel breached the contract and the copyright. In the US, that will result in treble damages of the value and use, plus potentially more due to the contract.

Whether it's worth $2M or not is debatable. But this absolutely isn't what the summary implied, that the "photographer is lazy" or something. No, he's quite serious about his work being appropriately compensated and not pirated. This is being pirated, and being used for marketing, and so on an so forth.

Most commercial contracts are written with a limited use. This photographer could not subsequently be selling this work of art, and if you look at the likes of Peter Lik (spell that correctly if you google it), the image sales alone could be worth more than $2M.

The summary implied that the hotel was inconvenienced in order for the photographer to make this image, yet he could've easily rented out the room. However, the hotel could not have easily made the shot themselves. That's insulting to professional photographers everywhere. They actually do more than just push a button.

Comment This isn't a 4th amendment issue, it's a 1st. (Score 2) 301

Apple is being compelled to create speech in violation of the first amendment. It's not an issue of if they can do it. Unlike previous cases such as the Elayne Photography case when a photographer asserted first amendment rights against photographing a wedding where the couple was gay, the photographer hung out her shingle as a business for photographing weddings. Gays are protected in the state where this happened.

In this case, Apple is in the business of selling iphones, not selling custom firmware for iphones. They can't restrict sale from gays, for example, but forcing them to create custom firmware for random customers is not their business. Not to mention, the FBI isn't exactly a protected class, nor is apple refusing based on the fact they're FBI. They're refusing because they won't do it for anyone.

There were other cases where a 1st amendment defense wouldn't work, such as lavabit where they were handed a piece of equipment and ordered to install it.

Comment One unmentioned possibility - ship hardware (Score 2) 234

Besides an NDA and security policy, you can ship them all encrypted laptops. Disable the USB connectors and external data connectors (physically, with epoxy) except maybe a single encrypted keyboard/mouse device like a logitech unified transceiver glued into one port, and only allow vpn into your systems to run executables. Also install gps tracking software in case of loss.

If you have them work on site, that's not cheap. It sounds like you're in the HST business, and that means probably based in NYC, and that means floorspace is a premium. On site work would cost a minimum of $50-100k/yr per contractor.... those contractors would much rather get an extra $45k per year and work from their own office on a $5k super laptop + keyboard + dual monitors, saving you a ton of money per person and making them happy. Have them pay for their own network, and do remote backups every night.

Comment Re:April fool's day? (Score 1) 168

It really immaterial what the estimates of gifts were. In 2012, the FAA was ordered to have regulations in place by september 2015, to handle commercial UAS. They were explicitly prohibited from regulating hobby drones. UAS tech was blossoming, and the FAA knew this long ago.

In Sept 2015, they updated their AC-91 57, which had to do with hobby UAS. They had been running some tests for commercial flights, handing out occasional section 333 exceptions to movie industries and others.

In Nov 2015, they got feedback that this year's sales were expected to be around 1M+. Fearing what you stated, dumb people flying drones into manned aircraft, they cobbled together a site incredibly quickly requiring registration of all aircraft. They loosely, and wrongly, interpreted the law stating that they may not promulgate restrictions or regulations that affect any hobby or recreational UAS, to read that they may not promulgate rules that affect only hobby or recreational UAS. Despite having 3 years to see this and come up with regulations, they bypassed the mandatory 60 days of public comment stating that it was an emergency situation (caused by their own inaction, which case law has shown cannot be used as an excuse to consider it an emergency).

They are now requiring everyone 13 years old and up to publicly register their names and addresses. In a searchable database, publicly accessible. Failure to do this carries up to a 3 year jail sentence and $25,000 fine. This is the potential penalty for little johnny flying a drone at TWO INCHES above ground level in his own back yard. No joke, the FAA has asserted control from the top of a blade of grass (their words) to the top of the atmosphere. If a neighbor complains about little johnny in his back yard playing with a helicopter that looks like it weights more than 500g, a federal cop has probable cause.

The FAA had orders to have this in place 3 years ago, and failed. Based on that failure, they're claiming an emergency gives them rights to break the law and forgo public comment. The estimates for drone gifts don't matter... the FAA was given 3 years to solve this before it became an issue. Now they are breaking the law that literally requires an act of congress to reverse. (See section 336 which prohibits them from regulating hobby craft.)

There were so many other ways they could have handled this correctly. They could have requested hobby drone manufacturers enclose a copy of AC-91 57 in their packaging. They could have petitioned congress to change the law, allowing some regulation of hobby drones. They could have made a system that didn't allow searching for names and addresses of minors. They could have asked drone manufacturers to, by default, activate geofencing (but not require it). I'm sure there are other even better ways to handle this, too.

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