Jazz

I’m missing the Montréal Jazz Fest. To make up for it, I treated myself to a little show on campus here: Frank Morgan and The Eddie Marshall Trio.

Nice way to spend a Sunday evening after being up for 21 hours.

And another way to say the trip was pleasantly uneventful and I’m doing fine.

Now onto the serious stuff.

Google is… God ?

Quoted From a NY-Times column:

“If I can operate Google, I can find anything. And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I say that Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires, too.”

Interesting opinion to say the least…

Classiques des Sciences Sociales

Greplaw m’apprends, que Jean-Michel Tremblay à l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi rend disponible les “Classiques des Sciences Sociales“, une collection de textes qui sont passés dans le domaine public au Canada.

Le problème c’est que les PUF n’aiment pas du tout qu’il publie des textes pour lesquels le droit d’auteur est périmé ici (vie + 50 ans) mais pas en France (vie + 70 ans).

Article de Libé

Une sorte d’Eldred local en somme… Ça pourrait devenir très intéressant.

La nouvelle de Greplaw est attribuée à un blog qui ne fait pourtant pas directement référence à l’affaire.

Eldred act

If you haven’t heard about the Eldred act, a.k.a. Public Domain Enhancement Act, it’s a proposition, championed by Larry Lessig, that would offer a 50 year copyright term, renewable for a nominal fee. It was recently introduced as a bill to the US congress.

Coverage by Donna Wentworth, Joi Ito and many more. There is also a petition and a nice article on First Monday that I mentioned before.

What I don’t fully understand is why the right owners don’t jump on the idea. The fees for renewal seem like they would be, for the foreseeable future, cheaper than the lobbying and litigation required to secure yet another extension of the basic copyright term. So in effect, it’s a perpetual copyright for all (even moderately) successful right owners, giving them at the same time a larger public domain pool to borrow from.

I am also puzzled (and maybe someone addressed this already) as how this fits in with Berne, that requires no registration formalities to get the full effect from copyrights. Or is it no formalities for the minimal life + 50 term of Berne?

The Eldred FAQ mentions this and I wonder what would happen if a longer term than life + 50 (which might not even be shorter than the publication + 50 term proposed in the Eldred Act in the case of posthumous works) was mandated by another treaty.

If we consider the raw deal, given the current US term of 95 years for work for hire, it would give 45 years less to the basic term. It would also add only 5 years to the current term for 1$ and at the burden of registration (exclusively for taxation purposes according to the Eldred web site). However, after that the ball keeps rolling and each renewal brings economies of scale. A more realistic deal that the Founder’s Copyright proposition.

It is also “better” than the current system in that it allows for perpetual ownership, although it is weird to talk about perpetuity when the current system has been in place for about 300 years, which could be viewed as 3 generations of works given the current terms…

It’s a very pragmatic solution. And I think it might even work very smoothly in practice. The obvious drawback being the identification of works needing registration. It might not always be obvious to sort out ownership in cases where there is a conflict during registration (we’d see people fighting to pay a tax…) or when there is an unclear title on a work. It also requires the identification of individual works prior to a infringement claim, which might not be obvious in some contexts.

Given the outcome of the Eldred case and the general trend in over protecting right owners against the perceived threat of piracy, this approach could be a better solution than following through with an effort to keep closer to what I consider the spirit of copyright: a situation under which all authors and works would be equally treated and no registration (or taxation) of works would bear any influence on the actual rights of those authors.

Therefore I’m not sure I like the Eldred proposition.

I’m not sold to the idea, but I do think it is an interesting and thought provoking proposition, and I don’t understand why the MPAA/RIAA et cie is not lobbying with Lessig for this. Would a 95 years initial term + 50 be an acceptable solution for them? Or do they feel the burden of sorting out ownership for registration in any context would be too much in any case? Do they fell they’ll see more profits coming from numerous incremental augmentations of the copyright term? Does this plan clash with the hope that copyright has no term, will eventually be considered like a property title and become a permanent and transmissible right?

RIP : Protegé5

Mazda a tué la Protegé5!

Bon, peut-être pas, on l’appellera plutôt la Mazda3 à partir de 2004…

Et ça aura l’air de ceci :

Mazda Axela

99% du lectorat de ce site web roule en Protegé5 (j’exagère à peine!), alors cette nouvelle est d’une importance capitale! 🙂

Illegal Art

I just realized, thanks to GrepLaw, that the Illegal Art exposition in San Francisco is ending on the 25th. Now, 4 days more was not much to ask, was it?

When you access the website, a “Contract” pops up and I believe the first 2 paragraphs do set a nice tone:

ELECTRONIC END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR VIEWING ILLEGAL ART EXHIBIT WEBSITE AND FOR USE OF LUMBER AND/OR PET OWNERSHIP

NOTICE TO USER: BY METABOLIZING YOU ACCEPT ALL THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS AGREEMENT INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, USE OF YOUR HOME AND CAR BY THE AUTHORS OF THIS AGREEMENT.

The rest is totally worth a read to put a smile on your monday morning face, but don’t drink hot coffee, or play Snood, at the same time. A great contender for the “Best Disclaimer” World Champ Belt.