Copyright Strangulation

This is quite a stunning graph:

Recall that books published through 1922 are in the public domain in the US; those published since then are covered by copyright.

If this were a moving wall, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad: eventually, books would come out of copyright and be released in new editions. But Disney does keep going back and insisting that nothing can ever be returned to the Commons from which they so liberally drew, and Congress loves Disney; we might reasonably expect another copyright term extension act to keep the wall fairly rigid.


The Confessions

Heartbreaking, depressing and utterly surreal documentary from PBS Frontline on a particularly egregious case of coerced confessions:

Watch The Confessions on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

What Borat Has To Do With Patent Law

Entertaining collision between pop culture and patent law:

Rarely does patent law meet pop culture so hilariously. But it gets to a more important point: An invention cannot be patented if there has been a public disclosure of said invention prior to the date of filing.

This application for a scrotal support garment serves as a great example of rejection through non-patent literature. When you apply for a patent, the examiner can use any information available to the public to reject your application – not just patents. In this case, the examiner had an easy time finding a picture of Borat.

But can a picture be used as prior art?

The Architecture of Acoustics

Yet another fascinating episode from 99% Invisible, this time on the small details crucial for a deaf person that would largely go unnoticed by the hearing.

The Automated Future

This footage of an automated Amazon warehouse is mindblowing:

The Decline Of Automobiles

Heartening news, cars are actually getting less and less popular with the youths:

The Times notes that less than half of potential drivers age 19 or younger had a license in 2008, down from nearly two-thirds in 1998. The fraction of 20-to-24-year-olds with a license has also dropped. And according to CNW research, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 buy just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, a far cry from the peak of 38 percent in 1985.

At a major conference last year, Toyota USA President Jim Lentz offered up a fairly doleful summary of the industry’s challenge.

“We have to face the growing reality that today young people don’t seem to be as interested in cars as previous generations,” Lentz said. “Many young people care more about buying the latest smart phone or gaming console than getting their driver’s license.”

Making Colonialism Look Cool Again

This new ad from the EU is hilariously offensive. It features a white woman ambushed and attacked by an amalgam of tier-mondes ethnicities (China, India and Brazil?) at an abandoned warehouse. The woman counter-attacks by multiplying herself and surrounding the attackers. I’m baffled no one saw the implications of such a message.