Read this if you want the internet to live

In a somewhat obscure legal ruling, a judge has declared that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission does not have the power to prevent network carriers like AT&T from regulating the content that goes over their wires. Here's why this could mean the infopocalypse. » 1/15/14 3:07pm 1/15/14 3:07pm

What will jail terms be like when humans can live for centuries?

Radical life extension is coming. That means future societies will have to do a dramatic rethink of our ideas about how long offenders should be imprisoned and — more crucially — the ways they'll be rehabilitated. » 11/11/13 11:03am 11/11/13 11:03am

This court ruling could wreck the future of realistic science fiction

A ruling issued today in an obscure lawsuit against Electronic Arts could have wide-ranging implications for movies, television, and even books — especially if they strive for realism. In fact, alarm bells should be going off for anyone interested in depicting the future realistically in their work. » 8/01/13 5:28pm 8/01/13 5:28pm

A History of Plagiarism Claims Against James Cameron

James Cameron was recently sued yet again for Avatar, the latest in a long line of plagiarism accusations against the director stretching back to Terminator. But is Cameron a serial plagiarist, or just a popular target for copyright lawsuits? » 7/07/13 7:00am 7/07/13 7:00am

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

How the legal concept of "Scientific Uncertainty" shapes your life

Ever wonder why oil companies throw money at researching climate change? Or why creationism was rebranded "intelligent design," and packaged as a scientific theory? It's because the American legal system lets lawmakers fudge their science, so long as they can claim there's "scientific uncertainty." » 4/25/13 1:55pm 4/25/13 1:55pm

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 does … » 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 Court… » 2/27/13 12:00pm 2/27/13 12:00pm

Are chronic allergy sufferers in danger of being arrested for making…

To combat the rampant manufacture of meth, Iowa passed a bill in 2005 making it one of the first states to place pseudoephedrine behind the counter at pharmacies and placing limits on how much of the drug individuals could purchase. And, in 2010, Iowa joined the national database to track the purchase of… » 2/16/13 10:30am 2/16/13 10:30am

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