Stop pretending cyberspace exists — Salon makes the case that “cyberspace” as a metaphor should join “cyberspace” as a term in the dustbin of history. “If you’re not convinced by now that the very notion of cyberspace is silly, try substituting ‘fax’ or ‘telephone’ or ‘telegraph’ for ‘cyber’ in words and sentences. The results will be comical. ‘Activists denounced government criminal surveillance policies for colonizing Fax Space.’ ‘Should Telephone Space be commercialized?’ Again, the point is not that telecommunications should not be structured and governed in the public interest, but rather that the debate about the public interest is not well served by the Land of Oz metaphor.”

Ninth Circuit Poised to Address Torrent Site Liability — Remember Isohunt? Oral arguments were held nearly two years ago in an appeal of the decision holding the BitTorrent site liable for massive copyright infringement, but the Ninth Circuit has yet to issue a decision. Jesse Creed has an analysis of the issues in that case over at the Idea/Expression blog.

He Builds It, Audiences Come: A Q&A With A Good Day to Die Hard Production Designer Daniel Dorrance — An interesting interview over at the Credits, taking a look at some of the behind-the-scenes highlights from Dorrance’s career, which includes films like Hook, Saving Private Ryan, and Collateral. Great copyright-related anecdote at the end too, where Dorrance talks about clearing the rights for graffiti.

Of Brands, Digital Pirates — And Shame — The USC Annenberg Lab has released its latest monthly look at ad-supported piracy. The February edition highlights a number of brands that frequently show up on illicit file-sharing sites. Fox Business has the scoop.

The De Minimis Doctrine Plays an Important Role in Copyright Law — A quick at some of the notable cases exploring the de minimis doctrine in copyright law.

National Recording Preservation Plan aims to protect America’s audio history — The Library of Congress is moving to implement a Congressionally mandated plan to curate and preserve the vast trove of recorded music from the past century plus. “The library’s plan makes 32 recommendations toward preserving the nation’s endangered audio heritage. It calls for a publicly accessible directory of sound collections; a national policy for collecting, cataloguing and preserving neglected recordings; the implementation of best practices for preserving digital audio files; and more.”

The Prop Building Guidebook: For Theatre, Film, and TV — Finally, on a personal note, I’m very happy to point readers toward Eric Hart’s (my brother) new book on building props, which has just gone on sale today goes on sale February 26th. Eric also blogs at Prop Agenda.

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7 Comments

  1. Actually, my book comes out February 26th. Amazon lists it as available today, which was the original release date, but that changed last November. For some reason, Amazon hasn’t updated their information.

  2. Anyone notice that librarians and freehadists are often in cahoots with one another? Just read some of the librarian propaganda out there. Perserving and “providing access” to recordings without the copyright holder’s permission is piracy.

    • Why is it that I get the distinct impression that people who equate libraries with piracy have never actually stepped foot in a library?

      I worked my through high school and college at the library. Let me tell you, you’ll be hard-pressed to find people who respect authors more, and who know more about why copyright is important and how it protects the very culture they’re charged with preserving.

      Please, the pirate propaganda has done enough to demonize musicians as greedy millionaires chomping on fine cigars, while the reality is that their life is mostly spent eating processed cheese in the back of a smelly van, fretting over where the next clean-ish bathroom might be. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Wall St. and its tech portfolio-owning fatcats demonize the librarians, too. What’s next, are you going to equate bootleggers to kindergarten teachers?

      Is there no low you won’t stoop to in service of your almighty telecom gods?

      • Did you not read the LoC press release about this initative? With all their whining about copyright it sounds like it was written by Pirate Mike himself. Go read some blogs to see what evil Library Unions are up to, they are all allied with the freehadists at Public Knowledge and EFF, and their agenda is almost universally to weaken copyright law. Librarians are not our friends.

      • I also agree 100% that the freehadist demonization of artists needs to stop.

        • I don’t see a lot of whining about copyright in that proposal. The bulk of the discussion on the subject seems to be about bringing pre-1972 recordings under current federal copyright, rather than the myriad conflicting state laws that governed sound recordings prior to 1972. I don’t see a lot of nefarious intent behind these proposals; although I will mention that off-site streaming raises some red flags for me. Typically, archival material has to be examined on site. One can’t exactly walk into the Library of Congress and check out a book.

          Either way, it doesn’t look like some sort of back door loophole to legalize freeloading. Only twenty-five or so recordings were added last year I believe, it’s not their intention to archive everything. That follows the general thrust of a library’s purpose, which is curating works of the intellect. That’s something I think is sorely needed in the ocean of misinformation that is today’s web, and becoming more vital every day. So much so that I’ve been considering going back to school to get a degree in library sciences, but I digress.

          I’ll admit that I’ve seen some shady collusion between academic libraries and Google et al, but I think those are exceptions rather than the rule, as well I think those interactions have primarily been at institutions that receive a fair amount of money from the interests of Silicon Valley companies. However, even this proposal probably wouldn’t satisfy those companies, as orphan works in this case are still afforded a copyright term of one hundred and twenty years, if I’m reading things correctly. I’m definitely no lawyer, but that’s why I read this site.

          Just ask a school librarian about Wikipedia; you’ll see they harbor no illusions about a ‘utopia’ of free information.

  3. Stop pretending cyberspace exists — Salon makes the case that “cyberspace” as a metaphor should join “cyberspace” as a term in the dustbin of history. “If you’re not convinced by now that the very notion of cyberspace is silly, try substituting ‘fax’ or ‘telephone’ or ‘telegraph’ for ‘cyber’ in words and sentences. The results will be comical. ‘Activists denounced government criminal surveillance policies for colonizing Fax Space.’ ‘Should Telephone Space be commercialized?’ Again, the point is not that telecommunications should not be structured and governed in the public interest, but rather that the debate about the public interest is not well served by the Land of Oz metaphor.”

    That article is great, and I agree that the cyberspace as place metaphor has outlived whatever usefulness it may have had. But the reference to John Perry Barlow as a “former Grateful Dead drummer” undoubtedly makes all Deadheads cringe.