October 5th, 2002

sabres jersey

Interesting geekiness

I'm interested by an article that ran on /. yesterday, (linking to articles (1, 2) from LawMeme.

The articles are titled "Law School In A Nutshell". It tries to put a Supreme Court Filing (Eldred v. Ashcroft) into a much more understandable form. Well, perhaps not more understandable, but at least breaking the legal brief down into pieces so that a layperson can get the general gist of what is going on in the document.

The case in question is Eldred v. Ashcroft, a case that seeks to overturn the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act. Basically, what the law did is take everything that is currently copyrighted (and everything that will be copyrighted), and tacks on 20 years to the term of the copyright. Most notably, Mickey Mouse would have fallen into the public domain during this 20 year period, so the law is often called the Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension Act. Eldred seeks to have the law declared unconstitutional because it violates the Constitution by extending the copyright protection seemingly in an infinite manner.

It's an important case to watch because so much material that was publshed between 1928 and 1932 was supposed to have entered the public domain over the past 5 years. Films that were supposed to be in the public domain are now rotting away (literally) in warehouses because they cannot be acquired by preservation groups. Our inherited culture is dying around us, but everyones hands are tied by Copyright.

Speaking of copyrights, I was at a Job Fair at RIT on Thursday. I happened to be walking past a table that was demonstrating a digital camera/TV interface. What bothered me a bit was that the pictures being used were pictures that I took last year at RIT. Granted, the employee who used the pictures was a former member of the RIT Singers, still, I would have liked to have been at least asked. I am very generous when it comes to allowing my pictures to be used when I'm asked.

The least they could have used would be to offer me a job ;-)

Oh well. Sigh.
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