[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2010-04-01

What’s inside your home is yours, except computer files

Filed under: Art,Intellectual Property,Movies,Music,Prose — bblackmoor @ 15:04

This week, 50,000 new lawsuits have been filed against downloaders. It’s only going to get worse.”

“The history of copyright and intellectual property rights goes back to the 1700s. The free distribution of copyright works has never been impeded like it is today.”

“Surveillance methods being used are in the same league as those used by the NSA, CIA, MI5, MI6 and China. A real and genuine underground of revolt is brewing.

(from What’s inside your home is yours, except computer files, ZDNet)

Tuesday, 2010-03-30

SCO loses again: jury says Novell owns UNIX SVRX copyrights

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Linux — bblackmoor @ 16:38

In camera veritas

The SCO Group was dealt a serious, potentially fatal blow today in its courtroom battle against Linux. The jury in the trial between SCO and Novell has issued a verdict affirming that Novell is the rightful owner of the UNIX SVRX copyrights. This verdict will make it difficult for SCO to continue pursuing its baseless assault on the open source operating system.

(from SCO loses again: jury says Novell owns UNIX SVRX copyrights, Ars Technica)


Monday, 2010-03-29

Judge declares gene patents invalid

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Science — bblackmoor @ 22:01

In a huge ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet has said that gene patents are invalid. As you may recall, last May, the ACLU was the first to finally challenge whether or not genes could be patented. There was a lot of back and forth over the case, with many saying that a ruling against gene patents would throw a wrench into the business plans of many companies, because so many biotech/medical companies have been relying on the idea that gene patents must be valid for so long. But just because many companies relied on a mistaken understanding of patent law, doesn’t mean that it should be allowed to continue. The judge made the point clear when it came to gene patents, saying that they:

“are directed to a law of nature and were therefore improperly granted.”

The case was brought against Myriad Genetics, who will surely appeal, so this is nowhere close to over. But it involved a test for breast cancer, that Myriad basically had a monopoly over — and the claim was that this not only made it more difficult for women to get tested, but it also greatly discouraged other research in the field. In part, this was because the patents that Myriad held were incredibly broad.

Patents, of course, are not supposed to be granted on things found in in nature — and it’s hard to argue against the idea that genes are found in nature. Supporters of gene patents often claim that they’re not really gene patents, but a patent on identifying the gene, which is a nice semantic game that the judge clearly saw through. This is a huge step forward for encouraging more real research into genetic testing, rather than locking up important information.

(from Judge: Gene Patents Are Invalid, TechDirt)


Tool maker loses lawsuit for not violating another company’s patents

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Technology — bblackmoor @ 20:44

Patent system supporters regularly point (slightly misleadingly) to the claim that the patent system gives patent holders the right to exclude others from using their inventions. And, thus, most lawsuits we see around patents revolve around cases involving a company manufacturing a product that includes a patented invention. But what about a lawsuit for a company that deliberately chose not to license or use a patented technology, because it was too expensive?

Welcome to today’s world.

(from Tool maker loses lawsuit for not violating another company’s patents, TechDirt)

“Without patents, nobody would invent anything ever!”
“Without copyrights, nobody would create anything ever!”
“Without trademarks, nobody would name anything ever!”

“IP” stands for “imaginary privilege”.

Thursday, 2010-02-25

Digital Rights Mafia condemns open source

Filed under: Entertainment,Intellectual Property,Software — bblackmoor @ 23:38

Never content to twist US law into pretzels, the media robber barons also attempt to use their power to make other nation’s laws as bad as those we have here….

In accordance with US trade law, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) is required to conduct an annual review of the status of foreign intellectual property laws. This review, which is referred to as Special 301, is typically used to denounce countries that have less restrictive copyright policies than the United States.

The review process is increasingly dominated by content industry lobbyists who want to subvert US trade policy and make it more favorable to their own interests. […] One of the organizations that plays a key role in influencing the Special 301 review is the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a powerful coalition that includes the RIAA, the MPAA, and the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The IIPA, which recently published its official recommendations to the USTR for the 2010 edition of the 301 review, has managed to achieve a whole new level of absurdity.

University of Edinburgh law lecturer Andres Guadamuz wrote a blog entry this week highlighting some particularly troubling aspects of the IIPA’s 301 recommendations. The organization has condemned Indonesia and several other countries for encouraging government adoption of open source software. According to the IIPA, official government endorsements of open source software create “trade barriers” and restrict “equitable market access” for software companies.


The Indonesian government issued a statement in 2009 informing municipal governments that they had to stop using pirated software. The statement said that government agencies must either purchase legally licensed commercial software or switch to free and open source alternatives in order to comply with copyright law. This attempt by Indonesia to promote legal software procurement processes by endorsing the viability of open source software has apparently angered the IIPA.

In its 301 recommendations for Indonesia, the IIPA demands that the government rescind its 2009 statement. According to the IIPA, Indonesia’s policy “weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness” because open source software “encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations [and] fails to build respect for intellectual property rights.”

The number of ways in which the IIPA’s statements regarding open source software are egregiously misleading and dishonest are too numerous to count.

(from Big Content condemns foreign governments that endorse FOSS, Ars Technica)

“The IIPA — destroying your cultural future to line our pockets today!”

Saturday, 2010-02-13

Digital Rights Mafia successfully bullies BBC

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Technology,Television — bblackmoor @ 12:49

It appears that the Digital Rights Mafia and the media robber barons have successfully done in Britain what they failed to do in the USA in 2003 — bullied the broadcasters into allowing the robber barons to control not only the content, but the devices used to play that content.

In my latest Guardian column, “Why did Ofcom back down over DRM at the BBC?” I look at how lamentably credulous both the BBC and its UK regulator, Ofcom, have been in accepting US media’ giants threats to boycott the Beeb if it doesn’t add digital rights management to its broadcasts. The BBC is publicly funded, and it is supposed to be acting in the public interest: but crippling British TV sets in response for demands from offshore media barons is no way to do this — and the threats the studios have made are wildly improbable. When the content companies lost their bid to add DRM to American TV, they made exactly the same threats, and then promptly caved and went on allowing their material to be broadcast without any technical restrictions.

How they rattled their sabers and promised a boycott of HD that would destroy America’s chances for an analogue switchoff. For example, the MPAA’s CTO, Fritz Attaway, said that “high-value content will migrate away” from telly without DRM.

Viacom added: “[i]f a broadcast flag is not implemented and enforced by Summer 2003, Viacom’s CBS Television Network will not provide any programming in high definition for the 2003-2004 television season.”

One by one, the big entertainment companies – and sporting giants like the baseball and American football leagues – promised that without the Broadcast Flag, they would take their balls and go home.

So what happened? Did they make good on their threats? Did they go to their shareholders and explain that the reason they weren’t broadcasting anything this year is because the government wouldn’t let them control TVs?

No. They broadcast. They continue to broadcast today, with no DRM.

They were full of it. They did not make good on their threats. They didn’t boycott.

They caved.

Why did Ofcom back down over DRM at the BBC?

(From New column: Why is Ofcom ready to allow BBC DRM?, Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com

What the hell has happened to the once-great Britain? They gave us the foundations of our society — the rights of free men to bear arms, the rights of a jury to decide not only if a law was broken, but whether that law should be enforced at all, and the basic right of the governed to expect their government to treat them justly… all of this is due to our country’s British origins.

I have to say, I am a little disappointed with what’s become of them.

Wednesday, 2010-01-27

Apple bundles monstrous DRM with iPad

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Technology — bblackmoor @ 18:55

All your books are belong to us

This summer we saw the dangers of DRM on ebook readers, when Amazon deleted hundreds of copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from readers’ computers while they slept. Applying this control to a general purpose computer marketed especially for media distribution is a huge step backward for computing, and a blow to the media revolution that happened when the web let bloggers reach millions without asking for permission.

DRM and forced updates will give Apple and their corporate partners the power to disable features, restrict competition, censor news, and even delete books, videos, or news stories from users’ computers while they sleep– using the device’s “always on” network connection.

Apple can say they will not abuse this power, but their record of App Store rejections gives us no reason to trust them. The Apple Tablet’s unprecedented use of DRM to control all capabilities of a general purpose computer is a dangerous step backward for computing and for media distribution; we demand that Apple remove DRM from the device.

(from Defective By Design)

Thursday, 2010-01-21

The Amen Break

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Music — bblackmoor @ 22:50

You need to listen to this, all the way to the end. This is more than a bit of audiophile trivia. It is a compelling statement on our cultural future if we do not take action — decisive, sweeping action — to break the stranglehold with which the media robber barons and the Digital Rights Mafia have gripped our cultural heritage.

Saturday, 2010-01-09

Disney sues to keep Spider-Man, X-Men copyrights

Filed under: Entertainment,Intellectual Property — bblackmoor @ 10:43

NEW YORK – The home of superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men sued one of its most successful artists Friday to retain the rights to the lucrative characters.

The federal lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan by Marvel Worldwide Inc. asks a judge to invalidate 45 notices sent by the heirs of artist Jack Kirby to try to terminate Marvel’s copyrights, effective on dates ranging from 2014 through 2019.

The heirs notified several companies last year that the rights to the characters would revert from Marvel to Kirby’s estate.

The lawsuit said Kirby’s work on the comics published between 1958 and 1963 were “for hire” and render the heirs’ claims invalid. The famed artist died in 1994.

(from Marvel sues to keep Spider-Man, X-Men copyrights – Yahoo! News, Yahoo)

It’s no surprise that Disney (of which Marvel is a subsidiary) would oppose the loss of any of its copyrights. Disney has built its empire on appropriating public domain works and then twisting our copyright laws so that they never lose control of them. What is truly absurd about these dueling lawsuits is that anyone owns the copyright to work created over fifty years ago, the creator of which died over a decade ago.

Monday, 2009-11-23


Filed under: Gaming,Intellectual Property,Software — bblackmoor @ 14:45


I recently encountered a mapping program intended for role-playing games, called Hexographer. It is an easy to use application that makes colorful game maps. There is a “free” version (not free as in speech — free as in beer), and a pay version. The free version is pretty nifty. However, if you use Hexographer, I do not recommend that you rely on the “free” version.

The online (free) version is a Java app. Under ordinary circumstances, you can simply download a Java app like this, and run it on your own computer. Why would you want to do this? Because web sites go down. They go away. (Remember Ar-Kelaan Hexmapper? Their Hexmapper software is available elsewhere, but the Ar-Kelaan site itself is no more.) It is a fact of life. If you want to be able to open your maps a few months from now, it is important that you be able to run the app locally. Unfortunately, the author of Hexographer has written the “free” app so that it can only be run on his server.

Do not rely on the “free” version. The paid license version does not have this problem, and that’s what I would recommend. (I bought it myself.)

However, if Hexographer does not suit your needs, here are some viable alternatives, which may or may not fit your own particular situation:

P.S. The Welsh Piper has a nifty article on using hex maps to facilitate world building. Check it out.

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