Copyright Law

These may be dumb ques­tions on copy­right law, but with social soft­ware and pho­tog­ra­phy sites being incred­i­bly pop­u­lar, I can only imag­ine they’ll come up more and more.

I learned short­ly before our trip to Paris that the pri­vate com­pa­ny, SNTE, hired by the city of Paris to install flash­ing lights all over the Eif­fel tow­er has copy­right­ed the pat­tern of lights. This effec­tive­ly makes any pho­tog­ra­phy tak­en of the Eif­fel tow­er when then lights are flash­ing a copy­right vio­la­tion. The claim is that this is all to pre­vent using the like­ness in unau­tho­rized ways. Well, let’s pre­tend it isn’t com­plete­ly moron­ic to try and con­trol the like­ness of a 100+ year old mon­u­ment which is the very icon for an entire coun­try.

Sparkling Tower

Copy­right vio­la­tion? Does the effect of the glass win­dow change any­thing on the copy­right­ed sub­ject mat­ter?

When we were in Paris, I took lots and lots of pho­tographs of the Eif­fel tow­er. Frankly, it can be hard some­times to not have the Eif­fel tow­er in your Paris pho­tos; it’s pret­ty damn tall. Many of my pho­tos were at night, while the lights were danc­ing about the struc­ture. It’s a pret­ty amaz­ing effect, actu­al­ly. The whole thing seems to be made of rare jew­els. Any­way, one such pho­to I took was through the dirty glass win­dow of a boat tour we took. I say that since the dirty glass effec­tive­ly changes the light pat­tern, I’m not vio­lat­ing the copy­right. Fur­ther, could­n’t one argue that air par­ti­cles, mois­ture, cam­era lens, etc. all change the prop­er­ties of light, there­fore chang­ing the image? What about cam­era motion blur or art­sy effects? I mean can you ever expect to copy­right a pat­tern of light? I sup­pose any­thing visu­al is noth­ing more than a pat­tern of light, and this argu­ment could be made for music and oth­er art. I’m not real­ly try­ing to go down that path, but my point is this: isn’t that the way we are head­ing when copy­rights such as this are grant­ed, espe­cial­ly for such wide­ly rec­og­nized mon­u­ments?

Anoth­er pho­to we have, is of the two of us stand­ing in front of Notre Dame Cathe­dral. This pho­to was gra­cious­ly tak­en by anoth­er tourist, for whom we returned the favor. So, I (an Amer­i­can) have a pho­to of us tak­en by an Ital­ian tourist, in France, with my cam­era. Who holds the copy­right? Which coun­tries laws gov­ern? I assume my Ital­ian friend was grant­ed the copy­right the instant he pushed the but­ton, at least accord­ing to U.S. law. I fur­ther assume that where ever the file (or a copy of the file) is locat­ed, is under which law gov­erns the copy­right. The file is now in Amer­i­ca, but what if some­one down­loads a copy in a coun­try where laws have opt-in style copy­right law?

To say the least, I could real­ly care less about copy­right law. I’m sure that all these ques­tions have answers, some of which may be con­flict­ing. How­ev­er, most peo­ple tak­ing pic­tures on vaca­tion don’t know the answers. I for one don’t even care, as I’m going to do what­ev­er I please with my pho­tos. If SNTE or the unnamed Ital­ian tourist would like me to stop using images, they’ll have to just ask polite­ly. Some­thing tells me, I’d hear from the large com­pa­ny long before I’d ever hear from a fel­low tourist.

Korean Films Are Coming

It’s been a long time in the com­ing, but some very incred­i­ble Kore­an films are start­ing to make their way on the U.S. movie radar.

When you talk about for­eign films, you often are speak­ing about Euro­pean art films. When you talk about Asian films, it is usu­al­ly Hong Kong action movies or Japan­ese ani­ma­tion. Some­where between the two are Bol­ly­wood musi­cals. How­ev­er, rarely does any­one in the U.S. talk about Kore­an films. Well, friends, that’s all about to change. Here’s three major Kore­an films that are like­ly to hit the U.S. hard­er than a serv­ing of Kim Chee:

  • Old Boy — (Action/Revenge/Mystery) What could be worse than 15 years of impris­on­ment and men­tal tor­ture? Just ask Oh Dae-Su after he is released and his for­mer cap­ture leads him through a mys­te­ri­ous puz­zle to uncov­er why he was kid­napped. Trail­er in Quick­time. Offi­cial Movie Site.
  • D‑War — (Fantasy/Action) Based on an ancient Kore­an leg­end that says giant crea­tures will return to try and take over the world. Some­where between “Reign of Fire” and “Godzil­la”. Trail­er in Quick­time. (also, check out the pre-viz) Offi­cial Movie Site.
  • Sky Blue — (Ani­ma­tion/S­ci-Fi) This film took some 7 years to make, because of all the lay­er­ing of CG and ani­ma­tion. It looks incred­i­ble for it, too. Trail­er in Win­dows Media. Offi­cial Movie Site.

Live From Key West

Dave and com­pa­ny play­ing live down in Key West, FL.

Live from Key West

If you tune in right now, you can catch Dave Cole­man, along with Paul Deakin, Robert Reynolds (both of the Mav­er­icks), and Scot­ty Huff play­ing at the Hog’s Breath Saloon in Key West, FL. They’re doing pret­ty much exclu­sive­ly cov­ers, and some damn good ones, too. Quick, click here and check ’em out.

Dave called me yes­ter­day to let me know he had run a 5k, in which he set a per­son­al best, and was then hav­ing cof­fee at a small place accross the street from the Earnest Hem­ing­way house. This after play­ing with the guys until 2:00 am the night before. What a guy.

I’m A Kottke Micropatron

Keep this man in clean under­wear.

I am a kottke.org micropatron

I final­ly got around to donat­ing some to Jason Kot­tke this evening. Tomor­row is the last day of his fund dri­ve, and I felt it was impor­tant to give some­thing to him. I use his real­ly cool silkscreen font on some of the but­tons on this site and I read his blog reg­u­lar­ly. He’s an excel­lent writer and I find myself agree­ing with him more than not. This feels a lot like when I give to NPR, and for most­ly the same rea­sons.

I don’t know that I’ll be donat­ing funds to every­body on the inter­net that decides to quit their jobs and blog for a liv­ing. How­ev­er, Kot­tke is set­ting an exam­ple of a dif­fer­ent type: not that quit­ing your day job is what you should do, but that you should do what you dream of. I’m real­ly pay­ing him some­thing for dar­ing to remind me of that.

I'm a kottke.org micropatron.

Too Much Going On Can’t Think

Woah! While it may seem like I haven’t post­ed in for­ev­er so there­fore noth­ing must have been hap­pen­ing, quite the oppo­site is true. There has been so much going on in the past week-and-a-half I’m going nuts.

Woah! While it may seem like I haven’t post­ed in for­ev­er so there­fore noth­ing must have been hap­pen­ing, quite the oppo­site is true. There has been so much going on in the past week-and-a-half I’m going nuts. I want to blog about all of these things, but I do not have any time right now to do so. I am look­ing for­ward to this week­end so bad… Okay, here’s a short list in only some­what of an order:

  • Angela and I went to Paris, France! They speak French over there and it’s awe­some. It is an incred­i­ble city and so much fun to just walk around, which we did lots of. I have rough­ly 1,000 pho­tos, and I am going to have put some of them up on Flickr as soon as I get the chance.
  • Angela and I cel­e­brat­ed three incred­i­ble years of mar­riage yes­ter­day. Of course, we only got to see one anoth­er for a few hours at din­ner due to hav­ing to get our buts back to work. Still, mak­ing some time for one anoth­er is how we make the whole thing work.
  • I went to a Tim Kaine 2005 ral­ly for the kick-off of his cam­paign for Gov­er­nor of Vir­ginia last night as well. This was not a let down, but I had to leave a lit­tle ear­ly to make it to din­ner with Angela.
  • I have had a shit-storm of work to do late­ly, on top of try­ing to study for my SE exam next month. I love my job and I hate my job at the same time.
  • Today is my dog, Har­ry’s, fourth birth­day. I’m Angela is going to pick him up some dog­gy ice-cream on the way home from work.
  • Trey has updat­ed both Syn­thet­ic Rab­bit and Gridge’s web sites. This on top of retool­ing Megan’s site last month. I’m sure he’s sleep­ing well at last.
  • Star Wars Episode III trail­er. So Badass. The best part, what we don’t see means there is so much more: Jim­my Smits & Natal­ie Port­man, for starters (just short flash­es)

And even more that I can’t think of right now. Many posts com­ing soon, and I hope to write a long arti­cle on our trip to Paris. Does any­body know how to get 26 hours in a day, because I need it?

Wil Wheaton’s Not Dead

I hap­pened accross Wil Wheaton’s site today and I can tell already, he and I are going to be good friends.

I hap­pened across Wil Wheaton’s site today and I can tell already, he and I are going to be good friends. No, Wil, I’m not going to be stalk­ing you. Plane tick­ets to L.A. are too expen­sive right now. How­ev­er, Wil has a cool site that is all his own. Yep, that’s right. A Hol­ly­wood type that does his own web site (down to the code). I sup­pose many peo­ple already knew all about his site, but hey, I can’t read the whole interenet. If you go to the site, you don’t have to read too many posts to learn that Wil is quite the good geek, and not just about cod­ing. He’s a fan of the dark beers, a good lib­er­al, and actu­al­ly gives a crap what peo­ple have to say. Oh, sure you can chock that up to the typ­i­cal vain, left-coast Hol­ly­wood stereo­types, but I did men­tion he likes dark beers. Explain that away eas­i­ly. Also, he’s host­ed a cou­ple of episodes of “The Screen Savers,” which is pret­ty sil­ver-back for geek­dom.

The rea­son I came across Wil’s site in the first place was read­ing Gar­rick Van Buren’s “Wish List”, which cred­its Wil for. This is a great idea. I’m one who has on many occa­sions set out per­son­al life-long goals. Many of which were over a beer with friends, and have long since been for­got­ten. Here’s a list of such goals, out there for the world to see, that can eas­i­ly be re-vis­it­ed from time to time to (in Wil’s words) “see if you’re liv­ing your life, or just exist­ing.” Not a bad idea from some flaky L.A. guy. Okay, I hope you real­ize that I’m being face­tious now.

Any­way, Wil’s get­ting added to my “Else­where On The Web” sec­tion of links. I don’t know most of these peo­ple and they sure aren’t get­ting most of their traf­fic from me (if so, Kot­tke’s going to starve). How­ev­er, they’ve all got good sites with some­thing to say. So, if you get bored read­ing my site, you real­ly should click through to them. I know they’d appre­ci­ate you spend­ing some time on their sites as well. Angela will be hap­py at least. She can eas­i­ly go check up to see what Wes­ley Crush­er’s been doing since TNG. Oh, and I knew Wil was­n’t dead; that was just a joke. I know, it’s not fun­ny to joke about that sort of thing.

A Byrd In Hand Is Better Than Two In The Bush

Sen­a­tor Robert Byrd (D- WV) got a lot of flack in the news this week about some state­ments he made speak­ing out against the so-called “nuclear” option in the sen­ate. I find the Sen­a­tor to be far more ratio­nal-mind­ed than many give him cred­it for.

I am all too aware of Sen­a­tor Robert Byrd’s (D‑WV) for­mer affil­i­a­tion with the KKK. I chalk it up to the stu­pid­i­ty of youth. Lord knows our cur­rent and for­mer pres­i­dents did a lot of dumb things in their youth. (They’ve done some very ques­tion­able things even much more recent­ly.) Is it fair to use this man’s past as a lens by which to view him? I think that’s at least under­stand­able, if not entire­ly fair. How­ev­er, since the man is 88 years old and he was alleged­ly a mem­ber of the KKK in the 40’s, let’s assume he’s learned some­thing since then and for­give the man that. He’s done a lot more good than harm since, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you live in West Vir­ginia.

More recent­ly, though, Byrd got ham­mered for loose­ly com­par­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive’s all-out takeover of U.S. gov­ern­ment to that of the Nazi par­ty after WWI. How­ev­er, today Sen­a­tor Byrd wrote an op-ed piece for the Wash­ing­ton Post that shows he is a man or rea­son and con­sid­er­a­tion; exact­ly the kind of indi­vid­ual the Sen­ate deserves. He is known among sen­a­tors as hav­ing vast knowl­edge of the rules of the sen­ate and it’s place in his­to­ry. Fur­ther­more, long speech­es rant­i­ng about the over-exten­sion of the Exec­u­tive bring­ing back mem­o­ries of Nazi Ger­many aren’t exact­ly new, aren’t lim­it­ed to Sen­a­tor Byrd, and aren’t com­mon to just the Democ­rats. They’re seems to be a few blow-hard Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors who have been down this path before, as Won­kette points out (well, in a round about way). How­ev­er, this is no dif­fer­ent than the Repub­li­cans com­plain­ing about the left­’s lack of stand-by-your-man sup­port of the Pres­i­dent in a time of war, even though they trashed Clin­ton when we had sol­diers dying in the Balka­ns and in Soma­lia.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

How­ev­er, just because he is the Sen­ate’s most vocal oppo­nent of doing away with the Sen­ate fil­i­buster, he’s get­ting some spe­cial atten­tion. This may be well onto it’s way of becom­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive blog’s next tro­phy head on the man­tle wall. I tru­ly hope not, as West Vir­ginia needs all the fiery pop­ulists in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment it can find.

Now, to the real sto­ry here: why the hell does any­body want to do away with the fil­i­buster? I know it’s a thorn in every­one’s side at some time or anoth­er. How­ev­er, don’t we all know that our time to ben­e­fit from this even­tu­al­ly swings back around? This is just anoth­er exam­ple of extreme short-sight­ed­ness, of which both par­ties are so often guilty of. This is a very dan­ger­ous road to go down just to get some judge nom­i­nees approved by the Sen­ate. Go watch Mr. Smith Goes To Wash­ing­ton if you need to feel the impor­tance of the fil­i­buster and why it’s an impor­tant ele­ment of the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment. It allows delib­er­a­tion. It requires con­sen­sus on very heat­ed mat­ters. It helps to pre­vent tyran­ny of the gov­ern­ment. Oh yeah, it makes sure that Amer­i­ca does­n’t end up like Nazi Ger­many, no mat­ter which par­ty is in the White House or con­trols Con­gress.