15 Common English Words That You Probably Didn't Know Were Still Trademarked

The English language is a voracious eater, consuming words and digesting them into whole new things. Sometimes words that used to be trademarked by companies pass into generic use—like escalator, thermos, and aspirin. And sometimes words live in limbo: still trademarked, but used all the time as generic terms. Here… »9/02/15 4:07pm9/02/15 4:07pm

Author Suing Joss Whedon, Claims Cabin In The Woods Is Based On His Book

The Cabin in the Woods was one of the most original takes on the "kids encounter scary things in the woods" story that we've seen in ages, but one man is claiming that it's not original at all. Author Peter Gallagher is suing the filmmakers, claiming that the film is infringing on his 2006 novel The Little White Trip:… »4/15/15 4:55pm4/15/15 4:55pm

Preserving Video Games: Another Thing The DMCA Is Screwing Up

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is the most fundamental piece of US legislation underpinning digital rights. It’s also woefully broken, with its wide-reaching language being used to strong-arm researchers and make tinkering with your own smartphone illegal. The latest trick? Screwing over anyone who wants to… »4/13/15 1:59am4/13/15 1:59am

What Does It Mean That James Bond's In the Public Domain In Canada?

On January 1st, 2015, the works of Ian Fleming entered the public domain in a number of countries. That means that the character of James Bond is no longer copyrighted in those countries, just like Sherlock Holmes has been for a while. But it doesn't mean that it's suddenly open season on that character. »1/08/15 4:45am1/08/15 4:45am

Chris Hadfield's "Space Oddity" Is Back After Copyright Wranglings

Remember Chris Hadfield's goosebump-inducing cover of "Space Oddity?" Well, after the Canadian astronaut's one-year agreement with David Bowie expired this past May, the video — which had amassed 23,489,187 hits — was taken down from YouTube. Now, some five months later, it's back. Here's what happened. »11/04/14 10:30am11/04/14 10:30am

Fandom Academia: Gender Influences Filk Far Less Than You'd Think

I love the highly-specific title of this academic paper by Melissa Tatum, Robert Spoo, and Banjamin Pope: "Does Gender Influence Attitudes Toward Copyright in the Filk Community?" It combines three hot-button issues: copyright, gender, and fandom. It's a like a powder keg of things people have very strong opinions on. »6/21/14 3:30am6/21/14 3:30am