aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sherman’s freedom is just another word for so much less to choose
We’ve noted for some time that one problem in the ongoing battle between Hollywood, technology companies and consumers over intellectual property issues is that consumers don’t have a group as visible and as noisy as the RIAA or MPAA standing up for them. But for some time, Gary Shapiro and the Consumer Electronics Association have been the closest thing to it, and CEA head Shapiro has proven himself an eloquent and intelligent point man on these issues. While his ability to talk sense and stand up to Hollywood is pretty self-evident, perhaps the biggest sign that he’s on the right track is how badly he manages to get under the skin of its shill groups like the RIAA. Four years ago, his speech on how the recording industry was shooting itself in the foot by using a scorched-earth legal policy elicited an angry and typically illogical response from the RIAA’s head, Cary Sherman. Shapiro and the CEA—and a host of other groups—a few weeks ago announced The Digital Freedom Campaign, which “is dedicated to defending the rights of students, artists, innovators, and consumers to create and make lawful use of new technologies free of unreasonable government restrictions and without fear of costly and abusive lawsuits” (apparently that’s something with which he’s familiar). Hardly surprising that something like that would bother the RIAA, and once again, Sherman’s gone all apoplectic at how the campaign is making “an extremist interpretation of fair use to frighten and mislead consumers and policymakers”. READ ON
RELATED: A much more honest collection of fair use resources (scroll down):
Three of the most comprehensive resources dealing with the topic of Fair Use are the Stanford University Copyright & Fair Use Center, the Fair Use Network (sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU Law School), and Electronic Frontier Foundation with its EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers. You can find less comprehensive information at the U.S. Copyright Office site. The Stanford website offers information on all aspects of fair use — from basics to specialized issues, to legislative activity, to caselaw, to lists of relevant website and articles.
Altered contours spark copyfight hopes
If you remember, in Eldred, we raised a First Amendment challenge to Congress’ extension of existing copyright terms. Our argument was: “this is a regulation of speech; apply ordinary First Amendment review to the statute.”
The government argued the other extreme - no First Amendment review of a copyright statute. It argued the Court should affirm the DC Circuit’s rule that copyrights were “categorically immune from challenges under the First Amendment.”
The Court adopted neither position. It refused to apply ordinary First Amendment review to a copyright statute. But it also refused to exempt copyright statutes from First Amendment review.
[Instead, the Court wrote] a kind of tradition-triggered standard: So long as Congress stays within the “traditional contours of copyright protection,” then further First Amendment review is unnecessary. But if Congress changes a “traditional contour of copyright protection,” then the “built-in free speech safeguards” may not be sufficient.
We alleged a change in perhaps the most fundamental “traditional contour” of copyright protection - the shift from the opt-in system that copyright was from 1790=1976 to the opt-out system that copyright has become in the period since.
Emphasis (and the hopes in the headline) mine.
Google Maps time
Google skipped right past the third dimension and landed directly in the fourth (time) by offering historical maps on Google Earth. Now you can travel back in time — for example, I am looking at the globe of 1790. Don't expect detailed high resolution photography from days gone by, but it's still interesting to see old maps overlaid on the satellite imagery of today.
Playing with layer transparency on the overlaid maps gives you a good sense of how things have changed over the years - especially when looking at more detailed maps like New York 1836 or London 1843.
To use the new feature, expand the Featured Content -> Rumsey Historical Maps in the Layers panel.
Cannaries still struggling
MACON, Ga., Nov. 10 - Politically speaking, Georgia proved to be a mirror image of the rest of the country in the midterm elections. Republicans swept nearly every statewide office, and turnout among Democrats was low, thanks to a lackluster candidate for governor.
But two Democratic congressmen in highly competitive races in the state seem to have successfully fought those odds, though they are hanging on by the slenderest of margins and are still waiting for their opponents to concede.
The two Democrats, Jim Marshall of Macon, in the Eighth Congressional District, and John Barrow of Savannah, in the 12th District, were on the Republican Party’s short list of beatable incumbents. Their adjoining districts, which encompass large rural areas, were redrawn by a Republican legislature, their opponents were former congressmen, and the National Republican Congressional Committee poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the races. President Bush campaigned in each district twice.
“It is a year that if you look at Georgia compared to the rest of the nation, there’s a real counterprevailing trend,” said J. Christopher Grant, a political science professor at Mercer University in Macon, “and it is actually amazing that these folks were able to hang on.” Mr. Marshall squeaked by with a lead of 2,040 votes in a district on the home turf of two of Georgia’s most prominent Republicans, Gov. Sonny Perdue and Senator Saxby Chambliss.
Mr. Barrow, whose race was so close it is one of eight in the House that have not been called by The Associated Press, led by 963 votes. (The other seven races involve Republican incumbents.) The results have not been certified, and a spokesman for Mr. Barrow’s opponent, Max Burns, said enough ballots remained uncounted that he could pull ahead. If Mr. Barrow should lose, he would be the only Congressional Democrat ousted by a Republican this year.
Macon is home to Redstate’s Erick Erickson (quoted in the article); I still don’t get that we got no attention from bloggers. The article reports Marshall’s contention that “he was the target of more negative advertisements than any other candidate in the country.” I was here, I believe it. And this too:
In both districts, Republicans tried to link the incumbents with controversial figures like Representative Cynthia A. McKinney, a Democrat who lost in the August primary, and paint them as likely to raise taxes and grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. At the same time, the incumbents were hamstrung, unable to bring in Democrats with national name recognition because of their unpopularity in a part of the country where President Bush is well liked.
LATER: No attention, I guess we’re just not interesting here in Middle Georgia. Here’s a summary of the 10 House races still undecided.