November 12, 2004

Somethings Happening In My Own Backyard (updated) [6:13 pm]

From the New England Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology: Freedom vs. Control: Rights Management in the Digital Age; Wednesday, 15 December 2004 — with quite a speaker list!!

Chilling effects, electronic frontiers, anarchist librarians, free software, creative commons, civil liberties, the DMCA, and the mysterious fog of licensing, copyright, and liability – all packed into a single day dedicated to exploring the epic battle over rights in the digital environment.

The latest in an award-winning series of timely and engaging conferences for information leaders and practitioners, this NEASIS&T professional gathering promises to generate deeper understanding, thought-provoking ideas, and lively debate. Technology, law, society and custom weave a tangled web of challenges and opportunities in the modern age – forcing us to actively and continuously evaluate our needs for both freedom and control of intellectual property. Join your colleagues and four dynamic speakers from the forefront of 21st century information leadership for a day of fascinating conversations designed to illuminate the shadowy netherworld of rights management.

Speakers:

And coming up sooner than that: the Berkman Center indicates that there will be a JOLT talk next week (Nov 16): EFF v. RIAA: Grokster, INDUCE, and the Future of Innovation - speaking will be Jason Schultz of the EFF and Stan Pierre-Louis of the RIAA

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OT: John Ashcroft is a Dangerous Maniac [5:59 pm]

Word of “wisdom” from someone who clearly doesn’t know when to shut up: Ashcroft Warns of Judicial Meddling in Terror War [pdf]

Ashcroft did not refer to any specific ruling, but he warned of what he called excessive judicial encroachment into the powers reserved for the president.

“The essential constitutional understanding is that courts are not equipped to execute the law. They are not accountable to the people. And they lack the knowledge and expertise essential for the effective administration of government,” he said.

“The latitude and discretion reserved for the president under our Constitution must, of course, be greatest in the areas of national security and foreign relations, especially during times of war and national crisis,” Ashcroft said.

Making friends in high places for this administration, as well as making the Gonzales appointment almost palatable. See Jason Schultz’ comments

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Marvel Sues Over Online Characters [12:30 pm]

Marvel Sues 2 Cos. Over Role-Playing Game [pdf]

Marvel Enterprises Inc. is suing two firms behind a computer superhero role-playing game it claims allows players to make virtual characters that are too similar to “The Hulk,” “X-Men” and other heroes in the comic book company’s stable.

The lawsuit claims South Korea-based NCSoft Corp. and San Jose-based Cryptic Studios Inc. violated Marvel’s trademark characters in their game “City of Heroes.” Marvel seeks unspecified damages and an injunction against the two companies to stop using its characters.

[...] [I]n its lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Marvel argues that the game’s character creation engine easily allows players to design characters that are virtual copies of its own superheros, including “The Incredible Hulk.”

The company singles out a game feature for creating “a gigantic, green, ’science-based tanker’-type hero that moves and behaves nearly identically” to the “Hulk.” Players can also create a “mutant-based” hero powers and a costume nearly identical to Marvel’s “Wolverine,” according to the suit.

The New York-based company also took issue with the ability of players to go so far as to name their superhero creations after Marvel comic book characters.

Later from BBSpot: Marvel Sues Makers of Pens, Pencils

Harold Nobowitz, speaking for Marvel, rebutted. “We must protect our intellectual property. I mean, anyone can take one of these ballpoint pens and draw a convincing picture that someone might mistake as the real McCoy.” He then proceeded to quickly draw a picture of two of Marvel’s popular characters, Wolverine and Collosus, in a rude pose. “You see, anyone could have drawn this, and someone who sees it might then think ill of Wolvie and Collosus. That could harm Marvel’s IP!”

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