I don’t have a lot of
insightful, funny, lengthy stuff to post, but rather a bunch of odds and ends that don’t lend themselves to lengthy discourse… hence – fear my braindump:
Is it a settlement? No. Not quite. Lots of good updates on Watchmen lawsuit happenings over at Film Esq. – my favourite lawblog du jour.
The Coles notes is that everyone who prophesied a quick settlement after the Dec 24th order (cough, cough) may want to take a mulligan. Fox appears to be going for the jugular looking for the court to grant their permanent injunction before any discussion of how many zeros they would like on their publishers-clearing-house-sized novelty cheque. So much so that they’ve waived their injunctive claims on any other aspect of this case (I have no idea if they had anything of value there anyway… but lawyers tend not to jettison any potential avenue of attack unless they smell blood in the water… you only need so many butter-knives to compliment your fully gassed-up chainsaw).
On the other side of the coin, I’m not entirely sure what Warner’s is thinking, or doing, since I haven’t seen any of their recent documents. But since I read judge Feess Dec 24th order, I’m still a little fuzzy on their master strategy anyway unless it involved filling up a pool with gold coins Scrooge-McDuck-style, and the putting said pool on the back of a gold truck and driving the whole shooting match over to Fox with a nice gift basket.
And maybe cushioning the basket with some nice decorative grasses.
And wads and wads of bills.
Rodney Perkins is doing a fantastic job of breaking down the (still somewhat perplexing) shenanigans in far more detail, and unlike me, I bet he doesn’t accidentally wring up accidental $10 charges every time he uses PACER:
Eat All the Dicks
– Daniel O’Brien
Like lots of other bloggers, I was shocked to come out of my post-Christmas turkey induced coma to the news, broken by Michael Sieply in the New York Times, that Twentieth Century Fox has succeeded in at least some of their lawsuit against Warner Brothers relating to â€œWatchmenâ€ – a ruling which now puts the proposed March 7th release of the film in jeopardy.
Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do.
– Bob Dylan
Like lots of comic fans, my initial reaction was annoyance â€“ Iâ€™m a tremendous fan of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons original work, and have been looking forward to the film with equal parts anticipation and dread. My bio notes that Iâ€™ve been hired three times to write about comic books for very disparate magazines (all three of which stopped publishing before my first columns ever saw print). It’s a testament to the depth and breadth of â€œWatchmenâ€ that I was able to reference it in all three of my initial columns despite the very different audiences and focus of each. Itâ€™s one of my â€œhookâ€ books to introduce adult readers to comics when they ask me to “recommend something” (although I do occasionally suggest that on first reading one can skip the supplementary text-pieces, and â€œtales from the black freighterâ€ sub-plot – both of which have caused friends of mine to “stall” and not finish the book).
My frustration quickly turned from Fox to the larger press given that since Justice Feess dropped his December 24th surprise order no one was actually reporting on what the case was about, except in vague banalities like “contract dispute”. For copyright and computer law Iâ€™ve been a little bit spoiled by resources like Groklaw â€“ wherein within moments of legal documents being available they have been widely made available and dissected into plain English by eagle-eyed legal beagles. Eaglebegles. Leaglebles.
I canâ€™t offer that, but since no one else seemed to be looking into this, I spent yesterday morning digging through the Byzantine labyrinth of PACER (the US courts electric document filing system) to bring (hopefully) a little meat to this discussion.
Given the large effect US intellectual property policy has on the world at large, it’s always good to keep an eye on there. The Obama administration has announced Xavier Becerra as it’s new Trade Representative. Laura Quilter over at derivative work has an excellent summary, as well as links to profiles and lobbyist funding sources for the democratic representative.
Sadly “supporting Hollywood” is often synonymous with “restricting copyright”, but Laura cites an instance where Becerra seems to take a more progressive approach with respect to patent law… so there may be hope yet.
Lots of good information on someone that will be worth watching in the coming months.
Wired’s Threat Level blog has a great write up about a non-profit comic distributed to 50,000 US students which reads suspiciously like RIAA propaganda about file sharing.
The goals may be admirable:
“The purpose is basically to educate kids — middle school and high school-aged about how the justice system operates and about what really goes on in the courtroom as opposed to what you see on television,” said Lorri Montgomery, the center’s communications director.
but as Threat Level points out, there’s a lot of questionable questionable interpretation of law in “The Case of Internet Piracy”. Plus, there’s a nice framing story about eminent domain. Because I know I’d buy a lot more comics if the Justice League kept getting evicted so the city could build public works. Read more
Hey remember when I used to talk about copyright?
Very interesting ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the case of Robert Jacobsen v. Matthew Katzer & Kamind Associates. Since I’ll presume not everyone shares my love of reading out of country judicial rulings (or pdf files) – here’s a brief summary for the copyright-interested: Read more
My previous post on C-61 sparked some interesting comments from Russell McOrmond (a programmer from Ottawa who raised some interesting points vis-a-vis software) and Tim Harwell (a musician from my hometown of Calgary who… just didn’t agree with a lot of what I said).
Since I know many/most of you don’t read the comments – I thought I’d take a minute to summarize a couple of points (and Tim’s latest e-mail, which I think deserves a full response as it echoes a lot of things I’ve seen both in e-mails, and on other sites about this issue.
Yeah, you had to know this was coming.
So hereâ€™s the standard disclaimer â€“ I make the entirety of my income off profits from the exploitation of copyrighted works. Far from being a piracy apologist, I believe content creators have the right to monetize their creations as much (or as little) as they like. I have walked into certain Toronto malls and seen, no hyperbole, an entire wall of near-professional quality Asian bootleg DVDâ€™s of a film that I worked 60-hour weeks on for more than a year. I watched people (multiple) purchase said bootlegs, knowing that not a cent of that money was going to anyone who slaved with me on that film, (or the dozens of companies that put up serious money to make that film a reality). By all accounts I should be drinking the RIAA/MPAA Kool-aid and throwing a Jim Prentice party… but Iâ€™m not.
Because this bill is just bad policy for both consumers and content producers.