Star Wars isn’t on Netflix Instant, Blockbuster’s dead, and DVDs take a week in the mail. But unlicensed streaming is just a click away. The solution obvious: make your own, better streaming.
Have you pirated a movie in, say, the last year? If the answer’s yes, ask yourself if it was because you’re too cheap to buy it or if it’s because torrents are the easiest way to find a copy of Star Wars. According to a new piracy study funded by NBCUniversal, it appears that a lot of pirates are downloading movies as a matter of convenience.
via The Best Way to Combat Piracy Is to Make Movies Easier to Watch | Motherboard.
The radio show This American Life has put together two excellent shows on software patents, which I highly encourage you to listen to. [Keep in mind that one of the components of your grade in this course is posting to or commenting on posts in this course blog, so you should always have your eye out for interesting material that inspires, provokes or intrigues you in some way.]
441: When Patents Attack!
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.
via When Patents Attack! | This American Life.
A follow-up to the first Patents Attack episode was aired in May of this year:
When Patents Attack… Part Two!
The small box inside Amanda Hubbard’s chest beams all kinds of data about her faulty heart to the company that makes her defibrillator implant.
Ms. Hubbard herself, however, can’t easily get that information unless she requests summaries from her doctor—whom she rarely sees since losing her insurance. In short, the data gathered by the Medtronic Inc. MDT -0.14% implant isn’t readily accessible to the person whose heartbeat it tracks.
“This is my health information,” said Ms. Hubbard, 36 years old. “They are collecting it from my chest.”
The U.S. has strict privacy laws guaranteeing people access to traditional health files. But implants and other new technologies—including smartphone apps and over-the-counter monitors—are testing the very definition of medical records.
via Heart Gadgets Test Privacy-Law Limits – WSJ.com.
There’s a story going around about Amazon closing someone’s account and wiping her Kindle of all its content, without offering any specific information or recourse. It’s a single-sourced story, and Amazon’s side hasn’t and may not be heard, but it serves as a powerful cautionary tale for users of any DRM (digital rights management) wrapped online content provider, including Apple’s iTunes.
via Amazon accused of closing and wiping Kindle account, reminding us we don’t own DRM content | iMore.com.
Apropos of our recent discussion/reading on intellectual property and magic, a lovely piece in the recent issue of Esquire on the magician Teller and his pursuit of a magical copy-cat:
On April 11 of this year — that date is precisely known — Teller did something it seems no magician has done in decades: He became the plaintiff in a lawsuit in United States District Court to protect one of his magic tricks against theft. The defendant is Gerard Bakardy. “This is an action for copyright infringement and unfair competition under federal statutes,” the Nature of Action reads. “Plaintiff seeks damages, attorneys fees, and costs.”
This piece presents a slightly different picture of intellectual property protection in magic than did the Loshin article.
via Print – The Honor System – Esquire.