Tom the Dancing Bug

If you aren’t a Salon subscriber, keep your eyes on this uComics link. Otherwise, check out the latest here: Harvey Richards, Esq. Lawyer for Children — RIAA Lawsuit Defense a Speciality

(cartoon dialog)

RIAA Lawyer: Now, see here! You’re mocking me?! You are incompetent counsel!

Harvey: I know you are, but what am I?

RIAA Lawyer: Look, your client’s actions are obviously illegal!

Harvey: Not at all! He found the song on the Web! I cite the doctrine of finder’s keepers!


RIAA Lawyer: Okay, you win. We’re dropping the case.

Harvey: Hey you come onto the playground — you play by playground rules!

The Slashdot commentary on the MPAA education program

From Slashdot: File-Sharing Ethics Taught In Classrooms? Fallout from the NYTimes article cited this AM. Many comments on the economics of the record business, but I like this comment:

The smart child (Score:5, Insightful)

by danlaba (245683) on Thursday September 25, @07:28AM (#7053410)

C = child, T= Teacher

C: Yes, so I’ll make the CD, the album art like that, and it will have 12 tracks…

T: It’s already available on the net (smiling)

C: Hmmm… let me think… How many downloads? Yes, they seem to like it, hmm… Yeah, good, so now I’m famous. Let’s prepare my next concert around the world.

T: !!!

Starving artist? No way! An artist to play for the public, to have tours around the world, yes!

A good artist will never starve because his art is priceless.

P.S. The “Starving Artist” game is stupid, as showed above 😉

In case you aren’t a Salon subscriber…

This review of last night’s West Wing season premier ends with this impressively snotty bit:

The staff has a sense that the country is slipping out of their control, that they’ve made a huge mistake, one that might be impossible to undo. There’s a veritable madman in power, after all, one who will stop at nothing to send a message, neglecting all feedback that the global community is at odds with him. We can only imagine how horrible they must feel! Their country, at the brink of war, with a bully at the helm!

Patent Politics

A lengthy look at the Eolas patent issue from CNet News: Patent Politics

To some competitors and partners who have long been chafed by Microsoft’s dominance, the verdict in the patent infringement lawsuit by one-man software company Eolas may initially have seemed an overdue victory–and one that achieved what the U.S. Department of Justice and the courts had failed to accomplish in regulating Microsoft under federal antitrust laws.

Instead, the verdict is increasingly interpreted as a potentially crushing burden on the Web, threatening to force significant changes to its fundamental language, HTML. Microsoft’s competitors fear that Eolas’ lawyers will target them next, and its partners–such as Macromedia and Sun Microsystems–worry that an enjoined IE browser would be prohibited from running their software plug-ins without awkward technology alternatives.

Some clarification on the EU vote yesterday

A more accurate headline: European Parliament Votes to Limit Software Patents [pdf]

A majority of members of the European Parliament voted in support of amendments to the bill that would make it harder to register a patent. The amendments tightened up the wording of the bill to make it explicit that no patent, like the one registered for its one-click online shopping method, can be registered in the union. Such patents are known in the industry as business-method patents.

The members of Parliament also expressly outlawed patents for algorithms, the mathematical equations in software programs, and they restricted the definition of the sort of software that should be eligible for a patent.

CNet News: EU software patent plan gets thumbs up

The Blues

Royalties From PBS Dismay Bluesmen [pdf] – a look at the business of music, performing and royalties.

On Sunday PBS is scheduled to begin its weeklong documentary series “The Blues,” with Martin Scorsese as executive producer. In the episodes, directed by Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Mike Figgis and others, the past, present and future of the blues are honored, explored and explained.

But some record labels and music publishers say there is one old blues tradition being honored by PBS that would be better off left in the past: underpaying the artist.

Randall Wixen, president of Wixen Music Publishing, says PBS offered a bluesman he represents, Robert Wolfman Belfour, $500 for the use of a song on television, on DVD’s and in promotions worldwide in perpetuity. That falls far short of the $8,000 to $12,000 that he said was the standard industry fee just for using a song in a DVD.

In an e-mail message sent last month to a producer of the PBS show, Mr. Wixen rejected PBS’s music-licensing offer. “If your true purpose is to honor the blues and those who make it,” he wrote, “why devalue it so by continuing to treat its creators as if they were worthless?”

[…] The larger debate is over the advantages of compensation versus promotion. Artists are often persuaded to waive or lower fees to appear in television, film and commercial endeavors because they provide good exposure. Though most who worked on “The Blues” said they wished the musicians had been paid more, they also said that those who appeared would have the advantage of increased CD and concert-ticket sales.

Now, where have I heard these arguments before?