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Posts Tagged ‘intellectual property

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul”*…

 

DID YOU KNOW:

• Bill Gates is actually worth $1,956
• Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has five times fewer cells in his brain than in his liver
• Top tennis player Serena Williams has 24.5 trillion red blood cells powering her body
• Internet and social media pioneer Mark Zuckerberg’s body contains 800MB of data
• President Barack Obama’s head rules his heart; his brain weighs 1.4kg, his heart just 0.4kg

Welcome to The Making of Me and You, a unique, new digital interactive from BBC Earth that details extraordinary personalised facts.

Just input your date of birth, sex at birth, height and weight, and choose the metric or imperial units that make most sense to you.

And instantly find out:

• The chemical ingredients that make up you, and what your body is worth
• How many atoms you are made of, and what can be made with them
• How many fat, blood, skin and brain cells you have
• How much genetic data is inside you
• How many other microbes live on your body with you
• The size and weight of your internal organs
• How much wee, poo, sperm or eggs you have produced so far
• How many times you have blinked, breathed, yawned and farted
• And so much more

Try it at: “The Making of You and Me.”

* Ludwig Wittgenstein

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As we take our measures, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. Patent 4,736,866 to Harvard College for “a transgenic non-human mammal whose germ cells and somatic cells contain a recombinant activated oncogene sequence introduced into said mammal…”– the first U.S. patent issued on a mammalian life form.  The Oncomouse (as it was known, a mouse altered to be highly susceptible to breast cancer) was called the product of the year by a major financial magazine.

Although the mouse was genetically modified following a process designed by Philip Leder and Timothy A Stewart of Harvard, and the patent was owned by Harvard Medical School, it was developed with funding from DuPont, which scored a commercialization arrangement that entitled DuPont to exclusive license of the patent. Until the patent was ruled expired in 2005, DuPont claimed patent protection on any anticancer product derived from the mice.

The first patent for a life form was issued seven years earlier for a genetically engineered bacterium.

 source

 

Written by LW

April 12, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Widespread public access to knowledge, like public education, is one of the pillars of our democracy, a guarantee that we can maintain a well-informed citizenry”*…

 

Top Row (left to right): André Breton; Buster Keaton; László Moholy-Nagy   Middle Row (left to right): Gertrude Stein; H. G. Wells; Frank O’Hara; Alfred Stieglitz   Bottom Row (left to right): Evelyn Waugh; D. T. Suzuki; Paul Nash; Mina Loy

Via Public Domain Review

Pictured above is our top pick of those whose works will, on 1st January 2017, enter the public domain in many countries around the world. Of the eleven featured, five will be entering the public domain in countries with a “life plus 70 years” copyright term (e.g. most European Union members, Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, etc.) and six in countries with a “life plus 50 years” copyright term (e.g. Canada, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia and Africa) — those that died in the year 1946 and 1966 respectively. As always it’s a varied gaggle who’ve assembled for our graduation photo, including the founder of the Surrealist movement, a star of the silent film era, the Japanese author behind the popularisation of Buddhism in the West, two female writers at the heart of the Modernist scene, and one of the “fathers of science fiction”…

More on each of the “graduates” at Class of 2017.

* Scott Turow, attorney, author, President of the Author’s Guild

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As we share and share alike, we might send foresightful birthday greetings to Erasmus Darwin; he was born on this date in 1731.  Erasmus was an accomplished doctor (he declined an offer to be personal physician to Charles III).  He was also a restless inventor, devising both a copying machine and a speaking machine to impress his friends (inventions he shared rather than patenting). But he is better remembered as a key thinker in the “Midlands Enlightenment”– a founder of the Lunar Society of Birmingham and author of (among other works) The Botanic Garden, a poem that anticipates the Big Bang theory in its description of an explosion, a “mass” which “starts into a million suns,” and Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life, which contained one of the first formal theories of evolution… one that foreshadowed the theories of Erasmus’ reader– and grandson– Charles… all of which are in the public domain.

 source

“It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done”*…

 

There’s a war being waged in the dark corners of the internet. On one side are kleptomaniac pirates hiding in secret communities. On the other side is the law.

For most people, piracy is a simple affair: Movie streaming sites, dubious music blogs – maybe a quick trip to The Pirate Bay if they’re feeling adventurous.

But beneath the surface lies a hidden network of “trackers”, invite-only sites with staggering libraries and stringent invite-only entry requirements. And they’re engaged in a constant game of cat-and-mouse with law enforcement…

The story of the most famously-exclusive tracker around, a site devoted to sharing the secrets of (equally-famously secretive) magicians: “Art of Misdirection is the world’s most exclusive website, and it’s dedicated to illegally sharing magic.”

* Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

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As we take care of that rabbit in the hat, we might spare a thought for Frank Caesar; he died on this date in 1948.  The son of a Minneapolis book binder, Caesar became interested in magic after seeing Alexander Herrmann in 1889.  A year later he was touring America as a magician. In 1896 he began performing a “Trunk Substitution,” a gag that Caesar created himself (though likely based on an earlier variation developed by John Nevil Maskelyne, an older stage magician who also invented the pay toilet); the routine became most famous as performed by harry Houdini and his assistant/wife Bess.  Still, it was Caesar’s trademark through a vaudeville career that lasted into the 1920s– after which, he became a manufacturer of magic tricks/equipment.

 source

 

Written by LW

December 8, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The claim that lies beneath the notion of intellectual property is similar or identical to the one that underpins notions of privacy… You can’t trash privacy and hope to retain a sense of respect for IP”*…

 

email readers click here for video

From Peter Sunde (co-founder of Pirate Bay and leader of Finland’s Pirate Party), “Kopimashin“:

The Kopimashin creates an endless amount of copies of a specific audio track (gnarls barkley’s crazy). The audio track is copied to /dev/null, a unix data pipe for avoiding permanent storage. The Kopimashins lcd display consists of three rows of information, the serial number of the mashin, amount of copies created and the dollar value it represents in losses for the record labels (Downtown Records / Warner Music), currently represented by USD1,25 per copied piece.

The goal of the kopimashin is to make the audio track the most copied in the world and while doing so bankrupting the record industry.

This project is part of the psk value series.

86mm x 54mm x 19mm. Series of 13.
raspberry pi, lcd display, python code

* Nick Harkaway, The Blind Giant

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As we tickle the torrents, we might send exquisitely-phrased birthday greetings to Marcus Tullius Cicero; he was born on this date in 106 BCE.  A  Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist, Cicero was one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.

He was executed in 43 BCE (his head and hands were amputated) for his Philippics, a series of speeches attacking Mark Antony and calling for a restoration of the Republic.  Sic semper prōtestor.

https://i1.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8478/8243527748_ab6d5f6fa9_o.jpg source

Written by LW

January 3, 2016 at 1:01 am

Many Happy Returns…

 

The Free Music Archive has found a replacement for the most recognizable– and probably the most lucrative– song in America– “Happy Birthday To You.”  Together with WFMU, FMA ran a contest to find a new copyright-free (and free to use) “Happy Birthday” song…

The “Happy Birthday To You” melody was published in the late 1800s by two sisters who taught elementary school, and it was registered for copyright, as “Happy Birthday To You” in 1935. Time Warner acquired the copyright in 1998. The song reportedly brings in two million dollars a year from licensing for films, TV shows, advertisements and the like; it won’t enter the public domain until 2030 at the earliest.

WFMU thought it was dubious that the song still deserves copyright protection, but rather than mount a court challenge, it sponsored a competition for a new birthday celebration song. Among the judges were Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan.

As WFMU says, the new song puts the happy back into birthdays, and takes the cease and desist out of them.

The winning tune, by  Monk Turner + Fascinoma lacks the opportunity to shout out the birthday person’s name; but there is room to build in a call and response element. You can download the sheet music in the key of B (pdf, google doc) or the key of C (pdf, google doc). Also, check out the alternative versions of the song including two piano tracks and an instrumental version.

And you can hear it, playing behind Bloomberg Law’s recounting of the case, here:

[TotH to Laughing Squid]

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As we hum a different tune, we might send public domain birthday greetings to Wilhelm Carl Grimm; he was born on this date in 1786.  The younger of the Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm and Jacob collected and published folk and “fairy” tales… a great many of which, freely available as they are in the public domain, have been used as the texts of animated and live action films that are– and will for decades be– under strict copyright protection (c.f., for example, this list of Disney films based on fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and others).

[Cake photo sourced here; Grimm, here]

 

Written by LW

February 24, 2013 at 1:01 am

A modest proposal…

Our copyright laws are stealing from the mouths of Charles Dickens' great-great-great-great grandchildren

Neuroscientist and game designer Adrian Hon has a radical answer to the continuing problem of intellectual property; as he writes in The Telegraph,

…Imagine you’re a new parent at 30 years old and you’ve just published a bestselling new novel. Under the current system, if you lived to 70 years old and your descendants all had children at the age of 30, the copyright in your book – and thus the proceeds – would provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

But what, I ask, about your great-great-great-grandchildren? What do they get? How can our laws be so heartless as to deny them the benefit of your hard work in the name of some do-gooding concept as the “public good”, simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written? After all, when you wrote your book, it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works – you owe nothing at all to the public. And what would the public do with your book, even if they had it? Most likely, they’d just make it worse.

No, it’s clear that our current copyright law is inadequate and unfair. We must move to Eternal Copyright – a system where copyright never expires, and a world in which we no longer snatch food out of the mouths of our creators’ descendants…

A bold idea such as Eternal Copyright will inevitably have opponents who wish to stand in the way of progress. Some will claim that because intellectual works are non-rivalrous, unlike tangible goods, meaning that they can be copied without removing the original, we shouldn’t treat copyright as theft at all. They might even quote George Bernard Shaw, who said, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”…

Certainly we wouldn’t want to listen to their other suggestions, which would see us broaden the definition of “fair use” and, horrifically, reduce copyright terms back to merely a lifetime or even less. Not only would such an act deprive our great-great-grandchildren of their birthright, but it would surely choke off creativity to the dark ages of the 18th and 19th centuries, a desperately lean time for art in which we had to make do with mere scribblers such as Wordsworth, Swift, Richardson, Defoe, Austen, Bronte, Hardy, Dickens, and Keats.

Do we really want to return to that world? I don’t think so.

The full piece is here. [TotH to Pop Loser]

 

As we return to our senses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1632 that Galileo Galilei “published” Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo)– that’s to say, he presented the first copy to his patron, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.  Dialogue, which compared the heliocentric Copernican and the traditional geo-centric Ptolemaic systems, was an immediate best-seller.

While there was no copyright available to Galileo, his book was published under a license from the Inquisition.  Still, the following year it was deemed heretical and listed in the Catholic Church’s  Index of Forbidden Books (Index Librorum Prohibitorum); the publication of anything else Galileo had written or ever might write was also banned… a ban that remained in effect until 1835.

 source

From the Plague-On-Both-Their-Houses Department: It’s come to this…

source

The Andy Warhol banana that graced the cover of the Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album has become the subject of litigation between the band and the artist’s estate.

In a nutshell, the estate believes that it holds the copyright, and is licensing the image (for everything from iPad covers to Absolut ads).  The band argues that there is no copyright (as the original ran without a notice), but that the image is protected as a trademark of the band– so the estate is infringing.  (There’s a more detailed recounting of situation and its background at Final Boss Form.)

One is tempted to launch into a discussion of the case as a symptom of the diseased state of intellectual property law and practice in the U.S.; but your correspondent has already burned pixels doing that, e.g., here, here, and here.  Suffice it here to quote the ever-insightful Pop Loser: “This whole story is an excellent metaphor for the world we currently live in and should probably make us all a little bit sad.”

 

As we re-up our affiliation with Creative Commons and write our Representatives to oppose SOPA, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that “The Noble Experiment”– the national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol that was better known as “Prohibition”– was ratified (the 18th Amendment).

By the time it was repealed in 1933, organized crime had become a major feature of American city life, and the American public had adopted the invented-for-the-occasion word “scofflaw.”

Ku Klux Klan: “Defender of the 18th Amendment” (source)

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