Posts tagged with ‘copyright’
Julie Henderson, a spokeswoman for FX Networks, to Ad Age. ExxonMobil Sues FX Networks Over Interlocking XX Logo.
Or, as Salon’s David Sirota puts it:
Underscoring the ridiculousness of a company claiming to own a letter of the alphabet, Deadline notes, “This double-cross brawl may come as a surprise to Dos Equis, which also has a double-X logo, and we assume the legal wrangling will be be watched with considerable interest by the XX chromosome, and the roman numeral for 20.” Same thing for any clothing companies that make t-shirts marked double extra large.
Here’s one for your inner copyright lawyer:
CHRIS HADFIELD has captured the world’s heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut’s clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police? Commander Hadfield was only 250 miles (400 km) up, so he was still subject to terrestrial intellectual-property regimes, which would have applied even if he had flown the “100,000 miles” mentioned in the song’s lyrics, or millions of kilometres to Mars. His five-minute video had the potential to create a tangled web of intellectual-property issues. How does copyright work in space?
Some things to think about before you answer.
Copyright law differs from country to country while global agreements also create common rules and regulations. But with the space station orbiting the planet almost 16 times a day, which earthbound jurisdiction should govern any copyright claims? Or, riddle this one: the ISS is constructed of different modules. There’s an American one along with European, Russian and Japanese ones. So whose rules would govern copyright as Hadfield floated throughout while singing Bowie’s song?
As The Economist points out, “The agreement governing the ISS makes it clear (in Article 5) that the applicable laws, including those governing IP rights, depend on which part of it an astronaut is in.” [Emphasis ours.]
The Supreme Court is hearing a case today involving a lawsuit brought by Monsanto against an Indiana farmer it accuses of violating the patent on its genetically modified seeds.
Some background, via The New York Times:
With his mere 300 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat, Vernon Hugh Bowman said, “I’m not even big enough to be called a farmer.”
Yet the 75-year-old farmer from southwestern Indiana will face off Tuesday against the world’s largest seed company, Monsanto, in a Supreme Court case that could have a huge impact on the future of genetically modified crops, and also affect other fields from medical research to software.
At stake in Mr. Bowman’s case is whether patents on seeds — or other things that can self-replicate — extend beyond the first generation of the products.
It is one of two cases before the Supreme Court related to the patenting of living organisms, a practice that has helped give rise to the biotechnology industry but which critics have long considered immoral. The other case, involving a breast cancer risk test from Myriad Genetics, will determine whether human genes can be patented. It is scheduled to be heard April 15.
What happened is that Bowman planted two fields, one with Monsanto seeds, the other with “commodity” seeds he bought from a grain elevator. These latter seeds are a general mixture that other farmers sell from their harvests. However, many of these commodity seeds are either Monsanto seeds, or those that are genetic derivatives of Monsanto seeds. Meaning, they’ve cross pollinated. Because that’s what plants do.
As the Times notes, agricultural groups are siding with Monsanto. So too universities fearful that a decision against the biotech firm could affect funding incentives for research.
Software makers are also looking on with interest. Note that the case centers on things that can “self-replicate”. Back to the Times:
BSA/The Software Alliance, which represents companies like Apple and Microsoft, said in a brief that a decision against Monsanto might “facilitate software piracy on a broad scale” because software can be easily replicated. But it also said that a decision that goes too far the other way could make nuisance software patent infringement lawsuits too easy to file.
Over in The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen notes that Monsanto has sued almost 150 farmers in 27 states. He goes on to write:
Monsanto says it is merely enforcing valid contracts, and protecting its hard-fought patents, and that it has a right to do so aggressively. However, the result of these attempts at market control, the [Center for Food Safety] noted, is “dramatic increases in the price of seeds. From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.”
Over at the FJP we have a few videos from an interview we conducted with Micha X Peled, a documentary director who’s latest film, Bitter Seeds, follows a crisis in India where the foreign monopoly on the local seed market has inflated prices and brought on massive local debt. The situation has become so dire that, on average, a farmer kills himself every thirty minutes. You can view those interviews here.
It’s about power.
— danah boyd, Wired. Beyond Aaron Swartz: We Don’t Need Martyrs… But Changes.