e + 1 = 0

March 9, 2002

Hollywood vs Everyone

Earlier this month, I referred parenthetically to a lawsuit against recent copyright extensions. Long-time readers have already grown tired of my concerns over extended copyright protection, but almost all the news on the subject seems to involve things getting worse.

Anyway, a recent article describes why the extension of copyright protection is a bad idea. It’s pretty clear that the framers of the Constitution did not intend for intellectual property rights to last forever; they were intended as a temporary monopoly granted as an incentive for authors and inventors to create new things.

(One point that confuses me. The article refers to Disney’s copyright on Mickey Mouse expiring in 2003, hence the successful lobbying to have the term extended. But I was under the impression that only individual works are copyrighted. Characters, such as Mickey, are trademarked, and I’m not aware that trademarks expire. But then, IANAL.)

Elsewhere in the world of corporate dominance of everything, the Library of Congress has set the fee-structure for Internet-based radio. Not too surprisingly, the fees are too high for anyone except big corporations to afford. Given how homogeneous commercial radio is these days, this is a blow to people who have come to enjoy the quirkier style possible with Internet-based radio’s lower costs. Doc Searls is calling for marches, but while he claims to be serious, I have some doubts.

This is reminiscent of the fight over low-power radio broadcasting, where large radio conglomerates and NPR lobbied against allowing additional, super-local radio stations.

I don’t know if this sort of thing is more blatantly greedy than usual or if I’m just hyper-aware of it, but it saddens me. #

More Lego

I’ve discovered (which is to say, found a reference to at Kung Fool) another joyous Lego creation: someone has put together a Zaku made of Lego. They’ve even photographed it in an artistic-looking black-and-white.

(Don’t feel bad if have no clue what a Zaku is. Until a few years ago, I didn’t, either. In essence, they’re military hardware used by the antagonists in Gundam and its sequels.) #