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 12:30am 6/21/14 12:30am

US judge rules Sherlock Holmes and Watson are in the public domain

If you've had a Sherlock Holmes in space novel idea kicking around your head, now might be a good time to start writing it. A United States federal judge has ruled that Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and other elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories are no longer covered by US copyright law. » 12/28/13 10:00am 12/28/13 10:00am

Prog rock fantasy artist Roger Dean suing James Cameron over Avatar

Did the floating mountains and otherworldly landscapes in James Cameron's Avatar remind you of artist Roger Dean's fantastical paintings? Dean certainly thinks there's more than a passing resemblance. He's suing the director and 20th Century Fox, claiming Cameron based Pandora on Dean's artwork. » 6/29/13 11:00am 6/29/13 11:00am

Did Disney steal this Alice in Wonderland image?

Certain corners of Tumblr and the Internet at large have erupted this week after artist Katie Woodger posted this image and explained that an image she created, featuring Lewis Carroll's heroine Alice, appeared on cosmetic bags being sold by Disney—and Disney never asked for her permission to use the image. So how… » 4/14/13 7:00am 4/14/13 7:00am

Why it's so expensive to license the rights to a fictional character

Recently, two seemingly contradictory pieces of copyright law have popped up in the news. One is the case of Jonathan Coulton, whose arrangement of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" was lifted by the producers of Glee. Another is the recent case of a car customizer who was barred from making Batmobiles by a District… » 2/27/13 12:00pm 2/27/13 12:00pm

Judge rules that it's illegal to sell custom Batmobiles because the…

California resident Mark Towle runs car customizing shop Gotham Garage, which makes replicas of cars from TVs and movies. Naturally, Batmobiles were on the menu, at least until Warner Bros. smacked Towle with a lawsuit for violating its intellectual property. Now a U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lew judge has ruled… » 2/10/13 4:00pm 2/10/13 4:00pm

Further proof that reality has become a William Gibson novel

While musing on Twitter about an app that could generate a "wholly fictitious but believable Facebook persona," William Gibson received confirmation (or at least, an anecdote) that reality is at least as weird as working for Bigend in his most recent trilogy. Here's what artist Greg Borenstein told him: » 1/30/13 7:30am 1/30/13 7:30am

How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards [UPDATED…

Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fiction's most prestigious award ceremonies. No, you're not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service Ustream, the feed cut off — just as… » 9/03/12 10:25am 9/03/12 10:25am

Year Zero: A Pretty Great Book of Geek Humor About Music Piracy and…

Rob Reid started Rhapsody, a music service, back during the Napster era. So he obviously knows and cares a lot about electronic music, and the madness of the record industry. This comes through, often hilariously, in his new novel Year Zero, in which aliens discover they've been pirating so much of our music, they owe… » 7/10/12 3:22pm 7/10/12 3:22pm