Slap on the Wrist

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on a security camera dragging his unconscious wife-to-be Janay Palmer by the hair, after knocking her unconscious, and the National Football League has chosen to suspend him for two games. Rice in fact will return to the field just in time to wear the NFL’s pink-festooned uniforms to celebrate their deep commitment to breast cancer awareness.
—Dave Zirin, edgeofsports.com
via DrewBot

Categories:

Law

Tags:

divided

fellow_americans_bl.png
—Me, I said this. Maybe it’s time the Supreme Court rethought handing down its decisions a week before we’re supposed to be celebrating as one nation.

Categories:

Law

Tags:

Monkeys With Guns

At The Guardian, Trevor Timm points out technology law will soon be reshaped by people who don’t use email:

This is not the first time justices have opened themselves up to mockery for their uninitiated take on tech issues. Just last week, in the copyright case against Aereo, the justices’ verbal reach seemed to exceed their grasp, as they inadvertently invented phrases like “Netflick” and “iDrop”, among others. Before that, many ripped Justice Roberts for seemingly not knowing the difference between a pager and email. And then there was the time when a group of them tried to comprehend text messages, or when the justices and counsel before them agreed that “any computer group of people” could write most software “sitting around the coffee shop … over the weekend.” (Hey, at least Ginsburg reads Slate.)
The first time I remember being scared how little the government knew about technology was back in 2006 when John Stewart skewered the late senator Ted Stevens when he described the Internet as a series of tubes.
You shouldn’t be allowed to make judgements on cases involving technologies you don’t understand.
These justices are like monkeys with guns. They may not know how things work, but they’re still dangerous.

Categories:

Law

Tags:

“it’s copyright law that leads to this bizarre result…”

At Techdirt, Mike Masnick on the Aereo court case:

We mentioned this briefly in our writeup of the oral arguments at the Supreme Court in the Aereo case, but I wanted to focus in on one particularly annoying issue that has come up repeatedly throughout this company’s history: the idea that its compliance with the law is actually the company circumventing the law. A perfect example of this is an incredibly ill-informed opinion piece for New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose that declares, based on a near total misunderstanding of the case, that the Supreme Court should shut down Aereo because its 10,000 antennas are a cheap “copyright-avoidance gimmick.”

But that’s simply incorrect. It’s actually 100% the opposite. We’ll fully admit, as that article does, that the setup of Aereo is simply insane from a technology standpoint. There is no good reason at all to design the technology this way. But the reason they’re doing this is not to avoid copyright but to comply with it. If you think that this is insane (and you’re right) the answer is not to whine about what Aereo is doing, but to note that it’s copyright law that leads to this bizarre result. Don’t blame Aereo for following exactly what the law says, and then say it’s a “gimmick.” Blame the law for forcing Aereo down this path.
Copyright law is broken. It’s been so for quite some time.

Categories:

Law

Tags:

Fair Use

As someone who appropriates the imagery of others in his artwork, I keep a close eye on cases like the one between Richard Prince and Patrick Cariou:

The appeals court ruled that of the 30 works by Mr. Prince in question, 25 were permissible under the fair use exception because they manifested “an entirely different aesthetic” from Mr. Cariou’s pictures. Five works were sent back to the lower court for a determination. The terms of the settlement concerning those five works were not disclosed in court papers filed Tuesday, but the documents make clear that none of the paintings will be destroyed – an option that the federal judge in the 2011 decision had made available to Mr. Cariou.
We don’t mind stealing from others, until they steal from us.

Categories:

Law

Tags:

Coffee Is For Closers

Bloomberg: Apple Defeats Patent Claim Over Invention of Smartphone:

Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable technology company, was found by a federal jury not to infringe the patent of a 70-year-old electrical engineer who claims he came up with the idea for the smartphone.
The whole patent system is screwed up, and this is just one example.
Conversely, Apple (and Samsung and Dell and many other tech companies) is also guilty of getting lawsuit happy on very vague to very specific patents over things they’ve made, like Apple’s Slide To Unlock patent which was invalidated in Germany earlier this year.
I came up with ideas for a lot of shit when I was a kid, but I never made any of them. Doesn’t mean I should collect money for them.

Categories:

Law

Tags:

Copyright Law Myths

Andy Baio breaks down the myths around the Goldieblox vs. Beastie Boys lawsuit:

It’s entirely possible that the Goldieblox video is simultaneously:

  • A parody
  • An advertisement
  • A derivative of the Beastie Boys’ copyrighted work
  • A violation of MCA’s dying wishes
  • And, yet, perfectly legal under the fair use doctrine.

Only a judge can decide whether Goldieblox’s parody is fair use. And, until they do and all the appeals are closed, none of us will know.
He should know, he’s dealt with this kind of shit himself.

Categories:

Law

Tags:

Kick It Over Here, Baby Pop

So, the Beastie Boys are suing Goldieblox for riffing off the classic ‘Girls’ track in their new promo video/commercial.
The B-Boys have released a statement (via GigaOm):

As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads… When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.
The Beasties are one of my all-time favorite groups, but I’m not sure I agree 100% with them on this.
License To Ill—the album which includes ‘Girls’—also includes tracks the Beasties did a lot of their own sampling on (back before there were laws around sampling and copyright).
Take the track, Rhymin’ and Stealin’:

Which samples the drums from Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks:

Or how about She’s Crafty:

Which samples again from Led Zeppelin’s The Ocean:

Is Goldieblox’s use of Girls fair use?
As the GigaOm article above notes, this is not a black-and-white case.

Categories:

Law

Tags:

Copywrong

In the last few years I’ve become more and more interested in and copyright law, both on the tecnology/patent side and the art/imitation side. Kirby Ferguson’s TED Talk, Embace The Remix, is required viewing if you’re interested.
According to The Center for the Study of the Public Domain nothing entered the public domain in 2013:

What is entering the public domain in the United States? Nothing. Once again, we will have nothing to celebrate this January 1st. Not a single published work is entering the public domain this year. Or next year. In fact, in the United States, no publication will enter the public domain until 2019. Even more shockingly, the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Congress can take back works from the public domain. Could Shakespeare, Plato, or Mozart be pulled back into copyright? The Supreme Court gave no reason to think that they could not be.
via Open Culture

Categories:

Law

Tags:

F.A.A. Horseshit

Nick Bilton writing about the F.A.A.’s bullshit rules for electronic devices on planes:

Dealing with the F.A.A. on this topic is like arguing with a stubborn teenager. The agency has no proof that electronic devices can harm a plane’s avionics, but it still perpetuates such claims, spreading irrational fear among millions of fliers.

My frustrations with flying rise in direct correlation with each year that passes without changes to F.A.A. regulations as it pertains to “portable electronics” on planes. Watch the first minute of the film, The Graduate. We’re still stuck in the 1960’s when it comes to flying.

If cellphones and iPads and laptops had the potential to cause disruptions to a plane’s communications systems they wouldn’t just trust passengers to power down their devices. They’d implement hardware and/or software to guarantee nothing interfered with the plane’s avionics. In my mind, it would be something along the lines of how magnetic shielding works.

I rarely power down my iPhone, let alone my iPad before take-off and I’m willing to bet money half, if not more, of the passengers on any given flight don’t either.It’s a horseshit, antiquated rule and it needs to change.

Categories:

Law

Tags: