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{ Category Archives } Intellectual Property

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Empire State’s Worldbuilder

When my students and I talk about the digital age, one of the changes we trace is the relationship between author and audience.  In oral cultures, the relationship is direct — the one telling you the story is standing within earshot, so you can ask questions and work out details together.  Literacy changes that, separating […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: I Zombify Myself to Teach About Zombies

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to Skype in to the Crane River Theater company’s zombie run training session to provide a little information for the zombie participants there.  I wasn’t able to do it live, so I sent them a 15 minute video to show instead.  They recently sent me a thank you […]

PCA/ACA Copyright and Intellectual Property Area, 2012

At the PCA/ACA 2012 meeting in Boston last week, I chaired two panels for my area, Copyright and Intellectual Property. They were both excellent, if I can say so myself.

SOPA/ PIPA and the conundrum at the core of copyright, part 2

Continued from yesterday – Is Copyright law okay they way it is now, or should it be changed? – If changed, should it be more or less strict? – How long should you get to own the monopoly on your creative work? – How often do you violate copyright? The answers tend to be that […]

SOPA/ PIPA and the conundrum at the core of copyright, part 1

So here’s the quick and dirty version of the talk I gave today at the PCAACA conference in Boston (By the way, my co-panelists were GREAT; all six papers that appeared in the Copyright and Intellectual Property Area were, in fact, great.) 1. SOPA AND PIPA The SOPA and PIPA acts were bills wending their […]

What did you think I was doing for that hour?

Three bits of effluvia: The French courts have just found in favor of a map company that sued Google for unfair competition, claiming Google would start charging for access to its mapping service once its competitors had been run out of business. Cory Doctorow has an amusing story called “Scroogled,” in which he imagines a […]


Makers by Cory Doctorow, narrated by Bernadette Dunne Doctorow weaves a complicated plot in three stages, jumping forward in blips and blurps like Charles’ Stross’ Accelerando, but reduced in time by a factor of ten.  The novel follows the rise, fall, and aftermath of the “new work” movement, an allegory for the dot-com bubble and […]

The Art of the Steal

The Art of the Steal In the mood for something a little out of the way, we decided to watch the documentary (described as “gripping”) about the fight over the multi-billion dollar art education institution known as the Barnes Collection.  It’s a fascinating tale about the way the art establishment and the politicians of Philadelphia […]

The complex landscape of digital photography, privacy, and sex

Child pornography is certainly wrong, but the lines that define what makes something illegal or unethical, and the conditions under which it might be produced (even accidentally) are getting more complex every day. This essay teases out some threads from questions of privacy and digital rights as they relate to sex and young people.


Two interesting developments in privacy this week: We’ve all heard about the egregious new Facebook terms that not only say they get to keep all your information in perpetuity, but that such information is now private automagically.  The ever-awesome Al Franken has provided easy-to-follow instructions for “opting out” of this program. But it’s now being […]

The Secular Conscience

The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life by Austin Dacey This book is pretty heavy in its philosophy for a general readership, but worth the slog.  Dacey argues that the problem with modern secular liberalism stems from what he calls the Liberty Fallacy: that because matters of conscience are matters of individual Liberty, […]

How do you like them apples?

ruffin writes: There are certain myths about the power of free software, and some apparently [sic] misunderstandings about its characteristics. Though Reilly and Williams mean well (and the sources they site for the history of OSS are well selected; I can personally vouch for Brendan Riley and Laurie Taylor as particularly good people, even if […]

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SCMS roundup

I went to the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Philly this last weekend. A good time was had by all, or by me at least. 1. My paper My presentation considered my same ol’ shtick, what happens to the detective as we enter electracy. This time I took a run at the […]

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responses to a suspicious post

I got a comment, on the old installation of my blog, in response to my post about The Blind Assassin (old thread here): hello. I also enjoyed the book. What’s more, I’m writing a essay on it, and I would like to ask you what themes/subject did you find throughtout the book? For example, the […]


The Hacker Crackdown

by Bruce Sterling; narrated by Cory Doctorow I really enjoyed this account of the beginning of the EFF and the digital civil liberties movement.  Sterling’s book is written in several parts, detailing the worlds of the Hacker Underground, the Law Enforcers, the Civil Libertarians, and the events involved in the crackdown of 1990.  It details […]