Monthly Archives: June 2010

This Is a Big Deal

Viacom Loses To YouTube In Landmark Copyright Case. Key point: YouTube isn't liable for copyright infringement so long as it pulls stuff promptly when owners complain properly.

In other words, YouTube doesn't have a duty to proactively police its users; that's the copyright owner's job.

Posted in Law: Copyright and DMCA | 2 Comments

(What) Were They Thinking?

A cease and desist letter from the National Pork Board, protesting ThinkGeek's April 1, 2010 offer of canned Unicorn Meat (“the new white meat”) has produced the predictable and hilarious result.

Alas, they've only put the first page of the cease and desist letter online.

(via Slashdot, ThinkGeek's Best Ever Cease-and-Desist Letter)

Update: I am directed by a reader to the dragon sausage incident.

Posted in Law: Trademark Law | 3 Comments

Could Be a Good Day

It's not even lunchtime yet, and I've learned two interesting things.

(1) The NYT brings me the lovely and occasionally necessary word, “shatara,” which it defines as “the Arabic word for cunning and guile with a hint of deception.” It even gives an example:

An example of shatara once overheard in Beirut: “I’m not going to cheat you,” a landlord told a prospective tenant. “Well, I am going to cheat you, but not a lot.”

I encountered shatara when shopping for a shirt in Egypt, and I gather it was the hallmark of certain legendary Deans.

(2) The reason modern Western carrots are orange is because they were bred that way, in the 16th and 17th centuries, in tribute to the Dutch royal House of Orange (via Boing Boing – see the nice 'carrot rainbow' photo).

Now, I admit that neither of these additions to my information store is absolutely essential. But like any dragon curled around its hoard, I am very happy to have them.

Posted in Etc | 1 Comment

‘The Decider’ Endorses Dan Froomkin

The Decider's Blog says “This article by Dan Froomkin is well worth reading.”

Don't miss the comments.

The spirit of Dennis Thatcher's Dear Bill letters lives on.

Posted in Dan Froomkin, Politics: US | Leave a comment

Top of the Pops

Fake President Maddow sounds much better than the real thing.

And Jon Stewart's commentary on US energy policy (fast forward to 1:19, and be sure to stick around for the excruciating part that starts at 7:00) is far superior to what I saw on cable after the speech.

To be fair, getting BP to put money in escrow is a win on the play.

Posted in Energy | 8 Comments

A Good Source of Bad Advice

Michael Swanwick (the imaginative writer) used to have a website on which he offered Bad Advice:

Most writing columns offer sound and useful advice to new writers, so they can accelerate the process by which they become successful, well-paid professionals. Unca Mike don't play that. My advice is designed to cut new talent off at the knees and thus keep down the number of writers I have to compete against. Multiply your adjectives! Insult the editor! Submit your writing questions here, and I'll provide you with the answers that other writers won't.

And he delivers! Or rather, he seems to have delivered up until about 2007, when he downgraded to blogging and started giving good advice. (There was a little blip in 2009, but just the one.) At least he gives awards.

Posted in Readings | 1 Comment