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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:46 pm
by Brentai
The last time the Wii U updated I spent several hours trying to find the license agreement changes in English while my console was basically nonfunctional.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:26 pm
by Classic
Thad wrote:...I think even a private arbitration clause (do they have one?) isn't going to go their way on this one.

They have a clause demanding 3rd party arbitration in the new 3DS terms of service.

Made it clear what I was responding to.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:14 pm
by Thad
Do what?

I know I've gone for weeks clicking "cancel" every time the prompt came up for an update and could play just fine offline. Wouldn't let me online, but that's expected.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:36 pm
by sei
Er, from that article...

This is part of a dangerous trend. Last month, the New York Times reported that some auto loans are accompanied by "starter interrupter" devices that can shut down your car if you're a few days late with a payment or drive out of a designated area. People were suddenly prevented from driving their children to the doctor, stranded when they tried to escape domestic abuse, and in some cases had their cars deactivated while they were on the road. These extreme consequences came without judicial process, and often without notice.

Fucking vile.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:39 pm
by Mongrel
Once again, my luddite-esque preference for older vehicles is justified when it really shouldn't be.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:56 pm
by Friday
lots of people enjoy old cars

it's not being a luddite

being a luddite about cars would mean you insist that new cars are ruining the human race and we should all return to the Ford Model-T or whatever

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:58 pm
by Friday
when actually you should be saying we should all return to flip-open cell phones because holy shit how satisfying was that shit and now everything is just a boring fucking rectangle with a touch screen fuck that

seriously how many of you just flipped your cell phone open and closed over and over

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:08 pm
by Mongrel

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:42 pm
by Thad
It's DMCA Exemption Time again, and the EFF is asking to allow people to circumvent DRM in order to run custom servers for abandoned online games.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:50 pm
by Thad
Should the Kirby Family Have Settled? is the first part of Jeff Trexler's long-awaited legal analysis of, well, the Marvel/Kirby settlement. It's a good read, though it tends to repeat a lot of what's already been said: the Kirbys probably would have lost the case, but nothing is a sure thing.

Trexler also notes that Toberoff's arguments in the Supreme Court appeal bore a striking resemblance to arguments made by Trexler himself in a previous article on the subject.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:02 am
by Thad
Music publishers sue Cox for not punishing its users enough for copyright infringement.

I've been saying for some time now that Cox is the least-worst ISP. I guess now it's official.

Does someone become a "repeat infringer" when a judge rules they have repeatedly violated copyrights? If so, the music publishers and Rightscorp have many more hoops to jump through before they have any hope of beating Cox in court. Conversely, if a judge believes Rightscorp's notifications are enough to find a user is a repeat infringer, then Cox could be in trouble.

It's a question most big rightsholders haven't been eager to resolve in court, because it's a huge gamble. A copyright-maximalist outcome could give them more enforcement tools, but if legal precedent gets set in a defense-friendly way, they could end up with far less leverage over ISPs than they have now. Since most major ISPs are compromising on the issue and slowly moving forward with a "six strikes" system, there've been incentives on both sides not to go to the mat on this issue.

The good news is, if Cox wins then Rightscorp is going to go bankrupt and the six-strikes policies at some of the other major ISP's are probably going out the window, leaving the RIAA to find a NEW way to try and stop people from downloading MP3's from unapproved sources.

The bad news is, Cox might not win.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:16 pm
by Thad
Ars has been all over a story about the Mississippi AG attempting to force Google to alter its search results. Well, in a "surprising" twist, it turns out the MPAA put him up to it, and he dropped the investigation and then whined about it.

Google moves to halt investigation by Mississippi AG, cites MPAA lobbying

Hollywood v. Goliath: Inside the aggressive studio effort to bring Google to heel

Mississippi AG backs off Google investigation pushed by MPAA

Tech groups send Miss. AG a “friendly reminder” about how bad SOPA was

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:26 am
by Thad
Techdirt: Sriracha Boss On Trademark: Mmmmm, No Thanks

tl;dr "Sriracha" has never been trademarked and is now thoroughly genericized -- and the owner of the original Sriracha hot sauce is fine with that, because the huge number of imitators has greatly increased demand for the real thing.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:13 pm
by Thad
So what does it take for someone to actually be punished for sending an abusive DMCA takedown?

A summary judgement because the guy who sent the takedown doesn't show up in court because he lives in fucking London.

A court case that only happened because Cory Doctorow gave WordPress some serious bad press.

Ars: “Straight Pride” group slapped with $25K fine for DMCA claim against blogger

Story goes like this:

There is a group of dumbasses called Straight Pride UK.

A guy named Oliver Hotham runs a WordPress blog. He talked about SPUK (haha, "spuk" -- I just like saying "spuk"), and he E-Mailed them to ask them for some comments.

They sent him a press release. He published it. Press Officer Nick Steiner threatened him with a DMCA takedown. He ignored it. Steiner sent the takedown. Automattic (the company that makes WordPress) took the post down. Hotham tried to appeal. Automattic said he would have to "consent to local federal court jurisdiction, or if overseas, to an appropriate judicial body", which, as an ordinary human being, he can't afford to do, so he backed down.

This did not go well for Automattic, so they did a quick about-face and sued Steiner.

Steiner's disappeared and they haven't been able to find him even with a private detective. So the court found in favor of Automattic. Which is a positive result, but obviously they're never going to get the money from a disappeared English man.

So much about this case is fucked up -- we've got a guy in London getting another guy in London's blog taken down by the company hosting it in San Francisco, based on abuse of American federal law; the victim is unable to fight back because he can't afford to fly to fucking San Francisco to argue a lawsuit; a suit gets filed anyway solely because bloggers picked up on it and embarrassed the company that honored the takedown notice; the plaintiffs win, but only because the defendant also can't afford to fly to fucking San Francisco to argue his case.

If there's a victory here, it's that (1) Automattic is probably going to be more careful about DMCA claims in the future and (2) it's probably going to make people in America think twice about sending frivolous takedown notices to Automattic. I don't see it making a lick of difference for takedown notices sent by corporations, foreign nationals, or really very many people at all.

...and probably someone's going to make some Final Fantasy 9 image macros, so I guess that's a win too.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:03 am
by TedBelmont
SPUK sounds like a sound effect from a comic book; something you'd see when a sharp thrown object hits soft tissue, like a batarang or shuriken.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:10 am
by Mongrel
I am almost certain I have seen SPUK as a comic sound effect in a comic before.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:27 am
by TedBelmont
Oh, or like, somebody aggressively pulling an arrow out of their arm. SPUK

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:17 pm
by Thad
ESA fighting EFF's proposed DMCA exemption for third-party servers for abandoned online games.

In a 71-page brief, though, the ESA says that these kinds of workarounds can't be separated out from the wider piracy-prevention functions that the DMCA protects against. To add third-party server support to a console game, for instance, the ESA argues that a user has to first get around access controls built into the software and the hardware itself to modify the code. "Consequently, the proposed exemption would, in effect, eviscerate virtually all forms of access protection used to prevent video game piracy."

So it's the same old crap that's been baked into the DMCA since its conception: it doesn't matter if you actually are using these tools for piracy; they should be illegal if they could potentially be used for piracy.

"Contrary to the proponents’ claims that they should be able to 'play games that they have already paid for,' circumvention would enable users to avoid paying for a variety of online services, including network-based multiplayer gameplay, and get a better deal than they bargained for... users generally are not entitled to access online services (including multiplayer gameplay) as a result of purchasing a game," the ESA says.

I love that they're using "a better deal than they bargained for" as a negative. (Also: you get to bargain for the terms of an Xbox Live subscription?)

I just want to be able to play Mario Kart Wii online, you fucks.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:01 pm
by Büge
Gerry Conway on who created Caitlin Snow, the alter-ego of Killer Frost:

According to DC Entertainment, nobody.

That’s right. Caitlin Snow, the brilliant scientist working for Harrison Wells, fiancée of Ronnie Raymond and friend of Barry Allen, aka The Flash, sprang fully formed into existence without a creator or creators.

But that’s okay, because, by the logic employed by DC Entertainment, nobody created Barry Allen either.

Quite an interesting look into the twisted legal logic that DC used to screw creators out of money.

EDIT: Did I say interesting? I meant depressing.

Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:36 pm
by Thad
Yeah, everybody seems to be in agreement that shit went south fast once Levitz was ousted.

Or, more accurately, Levitz was ousted so that shit could go south fast. (He was the guy who prevented Before Watchmen from happening for thirty years.)

I've heard, in fact, that even before he was publisher, he was doing stuff like insisting that Len Wein accept equity in Lucius Fox (a deal which has resulted in Wein making more money as the co-creator of Lucius Fox than as the co-creator of Wolverine) and bringing Kirby back in to redesign the New Gods under an equity deal so that he could profit from spinoff media like Superfriends.

Now, I'll grant that creator credits for characters like the Flash can get thorny (because the Barry Allen Flash was created by Carmine Infantino and Robert Kanigher, but he's also derivative of the Jay Garrick Flash created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert -- that's the same reason that a pitch to have the DC superheroes become new New Gods got scuttled, because if Superman (created by Siegel and Shuster) becomes Lightray (created by Kirby), how do you credit that, let alone split the equity payments?). But that's still no excuse for the kind of crap they're doing.

Incidentally, awhile back I read a Chris Sims article stating that a minor Batman character named Kirigi was appearing in Arkham Origins DLC. Sims is good about crediting creators, and he noted that Kirigi was created by Jim Aparo and Jim Owsley. And because of the noise Conway's been making about equity, I realized hey, somebody should really tell Jim Owsley -- who's going by Christopher Priest these days, and hasn't been involved much in comics for the past 15 years. (Aparo is no longer with us.)

So I poked around Priest's website until I found his E-Mail and dropped him a line letting him know, with a link to the equity paperwork he could send. I don't know if he ever got around to filling it out and sending it in (he's acknowledged he's pretty bad at staying on top of stuff like that, which is why he and Bright never got around to invoking the reversion clause and getting the rights to Quantum and Woody), but at least he had the opportunity, thanks to me giving him a heads-up, which I wouldn't have done if Sims hadn't credited him or if Conway hadn't started a campaign to raise awareness of the DC equity agreements.

It occurs to me that this should be really easy to crowdsource and automate. Nerds love making lists of characters' appearances. You better believe fans know more about these characters than their creators do. (Priest's response to my E-Mail was, "Who's Kirigi?") And the second some obscure-ass character shows up for half a second on Arrow, there's somebody firing up a laptop to update the wiki page.

It seems like you could have a spider that regularly trawls, say, all the "List of Appearances" pages on, and every time one of them is updated, it looks up the creators' E-Mail addresses and lets them know. (This would be vulnerable to trolling and spam, but I think regular wiki protection procedures would apply -- if, say, people start erroneously flagging a bunch of John Byrne-created characters as appearing in new TV shows and movies, you lock John Byrne-created characters' entries.)

Which doesn't help with the "derivative character created by no one" situation that Conway's describing. But man, somebody should really try doing that.

(Incidentally, he's wrong about one thing -- DC does compensate the Siegel heirs for Superboy, as a separate entity from Superman, as a result of the original 1940's case. At least, the original, young Clark Kent version. They're probably even obligated to compensate the Siegels for the Conner Kent version, since he shares the name. But I bet they're totally stiffing Kesel and Grummett.)

Anyway. I am confident that, in the wake of this story making headlines, comments sections everywhere are awash in fanboys insisting that DC is totally right and Gates and Santacruz don't deserve shit, because it's not like Caitlin Snow is THAT original.

It's depressing as fuck, is what it is. Having gone through my referrals last night and found an old thread of Sonic fanboys ranting about how they've become their own kind of Freedom Fighters by trying to "save" the Sonic comics from Archie having to give money to Ken Penders, I've probably got a blog post in me about the kind of person who obsesses over stories about scrappy bands of misfits fighting evil empires and then completely fails to recognize which side is which when presented with a real-life example. It's not an original observation, but Jesus fuck there's a reason people keep making it over and over again.