[…] With a growing number of people turning to Kindles and other electronic readers, and with the Apple iPad arriving on Saturday, it is not always possible to see what others are reading or to project your own literary tastes.
You can’t tell a book by its cover if it doesn’t have one.
“There’s something about having a beautiful book that looks intellectually weighty and yummy,” said Ms. Wiles, who recalled that when she was rereading “Anna Karenina” recently, she liked that people could see the cover on the subway. “You feel kind of proud to be reading it.” With a Kindle or Nook, she said, “people would never know.”
Among other changes heralded by the e-book era, digital editions are bumping book covers off the subway, the coffee table and the beach. That is a loss for publishers and authors, who enjoy some free advertising for their books in printed form: if you notice the jackets on the books people are reading on a plane or in the park, you might decide to check out “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” or “The Help,” too.
“So often when you’re thinking of a book, you remember its cover,” said Jeffrey C. Alexander, professor of cultural sociology at Yale. “It’s a way of drawing people through the visual into reading.”
Nope — hope springs eternal in the heart of an IP litigant, even when rationality has long fled.
Novell Inc. never sold ownership rights to Unix computer software code when it allowed another company to take over the servicing of the venerable server operating system used by large corporations, a jury in Utah decided Tuesday.
The verdict was a setback for The SCO Group of Lindon, Utah, which hoped a victory would help lift it out of bankruptcy and strengthen a separate case alleging IBM Corp. misappropriated Unix code for improvements that made the open-source Linux operating system run better.
Some former Novell executives testified that they intended to sell the copyrights along with the Unix operating system, and SCO Group offered an amendment written a year after the 1995 sale that it said transferred the rights.
”Obviously, we’re disappointed in the jury’s decision,” said SCO trial lawyer Stuart H. Singer. ”We were confident in the case, but there’s some important claims remaining to be decided by a judge.”
SCO will ask U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart to award the copyrights to SCO ”even if we didn’t have them before,” he said. ”It’s a setback, but it’s not over.”
A broad coalition of technology companies including AT&T, Google and Microsoft, and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum said Tuesday that it would push Congress to strengthen online privacy laws to protect private digital information from government access.
The group, calling itself the Digital Due Process coalition, said it wanted to ensure that as millions of people moved private documents from their filing cabinets and personal computers to the Web, those documents remained protected from easy access by law enforcement and other government authorities.
The coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, wants law-enforcement agencies to use a search warrant approved by a judge or a magistrate rather than rely on a simple subpoena from a prosecutor to obtain a citizen’s online data.
It’s ironic to note that, when I click on the WWW page, I get a URL that clearly suggests someone is paying attention to me — the URL in the browser window is — http://digitaldueprocess.org/index.cfm?objectid=37940370-2551-11DF-8E02000C296BA163 — we can ask what the “objectid” denotes at a later point in time….
In a ruling with potentially far-reaching implications for the patenting of human genes, a judge on Monday struck down a company’s patents on two genes linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet challenging whether anyone can hold patents on human genes was expected to have broad implications for the biotechnology industry and genetics-based medical research.
Sweet said he invalidated the patents because DNAs existence in an isolated form does not alter the fundamental quality of DNA as it exists in the body nor the information it encodes.
He rejected arguments that it was acceptable to grant patents on DNA sequences as long as they are claimed in the form of “isolated DNA.”
“Many, however, including scientists in the fields of molecular biology and genomics, have considered this practice a `lawyers trick that circumvents the prohibitions on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result,” he said.
If we’re lucky, something may eventually turn up here to read: Rulings of Interest. IN the interim, here’s the ACLU press release: Patents On Breast Cancer Genes Ruled Invalid In ACLU/PubPat Case; and their posting of the ruling [local copy]
Just over two months after threatening to leave China because of censorship and intrusions by Chinese hackers, Google said that it would close its China-based Web site and instead direct Chinese users to a Hong Kong-based uncensored version of its service, which may get blocked in mainland China.
In a blog post, Google also said that it would retain much of its existing China operations, including its research and development team and its local sales force.
The stunning move represents a powerful slap at Beijing regulators but also a risky ploy in which Google — one of the world’s technology powerhouses — will essentially turn its back on the world’s largest Internet market, with nearly 400 million Web users and growing quickly.
“Who owns the words?” Mr. Shields asks in a passage that is itself an unacknowledged reworking of remarks by the cyberpunk author William Gibson. “Who owns the music and the rest of our culture? We do — all of us — though not all of us know it yet. Reality cannot be copyrighted.”
Mr. Shields’s pasted-together book and defense of appropriation underscore the contentious issues of copyright, intellectual property and plagiarism that have become prominent in a world in which the Internet makes copying and recycling as simple as pressing a couple of buttons. In fact, the dynamics of the Web, as the artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier observes in another new book, are encouraging “authors, journalists, musicians and artists” to “treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind.”
It’s not just a question of how these “content producers” are supposed to make a living or finance their endeavors, however, or why they ought to allow other people to pick apart their work and filch choice excerpts. Nor is it simply a question of experts and professionals being challenged by an increasingly democratized marketplace. It’s also a question, as Mr. Lanier, 49, astutely points out in his new book, “You Are Not a Gadget,” of how online collectivism, social networking and popular software designs are changing the way people think and process information, a question of what becomes of originality and imagination in a world that prizes “metaness” and regards the mash-up as “more important than the sources who were mashed.”
A legal tussle pitting media conglomerate Viacom Inc. against online video leader YouTube is about to get dirtier as a federal judge prepares to release documents that will expose their secrets and other confidential information.
The information expected to be unsealed Thursday will include some of the evidence that Viacom and Google-owned YouTube have collected to prove their respective points, but have kept under wraps so far during their 3-year-old dispute over copyright law.
The sensitive material is emerging now because Viacom and YouTube are citing some of the documents as they try to persuade U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in New York to decide the case without a trial. Stanton isnt likely to decide on a so-called summary judgment for several more months.
Each side will likely be pointing to things that the other might find embarrassing.
Computer scientists and policy experts say that such seemingly innocuous bits of self-revelation can increasingly be collected and reassembled by computers to help create a picture of a person’s identity, sometimes down to the Social Security number.
“Technology has rendered the conventional definition of personally identifiable information obsolete,” said Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the Federal Trade Commission’s privacy division. “You can find out who an individual is without it.”
In a class project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that received some attention last year, Carter Jernigan and Behram Mistree analyzed more than 4,000 Facebook profiles of students, including links to friends who said they were gay. The pair was able to predict, with 78 percent accuracy, whether a profile belonged to a gay male.
So far, this type of powerful data mining, which relies on sophisticated statistical correlations, is mostly in the realm of university researchers, not identity thieves and marketers.
But the F.T.C. is worried that rules to protect privacy have not kept up with technology. The agency is convening on Wednesday the third of three workshops on the issue.
The online archives reinforce what some would call the Web’s single best quality: its ability to recall seemingly every statement and smear. And it is even more powerful when the viewer can rewind the video.
The C-Span founder, Brian Lamb, said in an interview here last week that the archives were an extension of the network’s public service commitment.
“That’s where the history will be,” Mr. Lamb said.
Electronically produced drafts, correspondence and editorial comments, sweated over by contemporary poets, novelists and nonfiction authors, are ultimately just a series of digits — 0’s and 1’s — written on floppy disks, CDs and hard drives, all of which degrade much faster than old-fashioned acid-free paper. Even if those storage media do survive, the relentless march of technology can mean that the older equipment and software that can make sense of all those 0’s and 1’s simply don’t exist anymore.
Imagine having a record but no record player.
All of which means that archivists are finding themselves trying to fend off digital extinction at the same time that they are puzzling through questions about what to save, how to save it and how to make that material accessible.
In particular, here’s one place where one might run awry of the DMCA:
Among the challenges facing libraries: hiring computer-savvy archivists to catalog material; acquiring the equipment and expertise to decipher, transfer and gain access to data stored on obsolete technologies like floppy disks; guarding against accidental alterations or deletions of digital files; and figuring out how to organize access in a way that’s useful. [emphasis added]