You Do What the Mouse Says

This is crazy, but I suppose I should not be surprised.

Joe Mullin for Ars:

The Walt Disney Company has a reputation for lobbying hard on copyright issues. 

[…]

This year, the company is turning to its employees to fund some of that battle. Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC.

In the letter, which was provided to Ars by a Disney employee, Iger tells workers about his company’s recent intellectual property victories, including stronger IP protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Supreme Court victory that destroyed Aereo, and continued vigilance about the “state of copyright law in the digital environment.” It also mentions that Disney is seeking an opening to lower the corporate tax rate.

Yup. “Please give to our political lobbying machine, so we can take that money and use it to influence politicians so they weaken your freedoms.” At least no one falls for this one, right?

According to a MapLight analysis of the data, Disney employees contributed a total of $4.03 million in all election cycles since 2002.

Oh.

Don’t Skip That Commercial!

EFF:

Television networks are having a busy month trying to stamp out new TV-watching technology, including telling a court that skipping a commercial while watching a recorded show is illegal. Yesterday, Fox, NBC, and CBS all sued Dish Network over its digital video recorder with automatic commercial-skipping. The same networks, plus ABC, Univision, and PBS, are gearing up for a May 30 hearing in their cases against Aereo, a New York startup bringing local broadcast TV to the Internet.  EFF and Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief supporting Aereo this week.

What’s next? Putting a camera on my TV to make sure I don’t leave the room while the commercials are on?

Six Strikes and Your Elected Officials

Techdirt:

From the moment the so-called “voluntary” six strikes agreement between the RIAA/MPAA and various ISPs came out, it was obvious that the Obama administration, in the form of VP Joe Biden’s office and IP Czar Victoria Espinel, were involved. We had even discussed that. Now some more details have come out, as Christopher Soghoian received a response to his Freedom of Information Act request, seeking emails from government officials concerning the deal — and, of course, it shows that Biden’s office and Espinel were heavily, heavily involved… and almost exclusively on the side of the RIAA and MPAA. Both of those organizations were regularly in touch with the administration, including planning about how the deal was going to be announced. Amusingly, Biden’s office apparently freaked out when Greg Sandoval at CNET broke the story a few weeks before the deal was official.

I’m pretty sure this is not the change that people voted for.

It seems that no matten what side of the aisle our politicians are on, they all have corporate interests at a higher priority than the good of the people or of personal liberty.

It’s hard not to be cynical about this stuff anymore.

Who Owns the Korean Taco? (via Freakonomics)

From a copyright perspective, cuisine is a lot like fashion. Recipes are unprotected by copyright, and so anyone can copy another’s recipe. Actual dishes—the “built food” you order in a restaurant—can also be copied freely. And as anyone who has eaten a molten chocolate cake or miso-glazed black cod knows, popular and innovative dishes do seem to migrate from restaurant to restaurant. The bottom line is that almost anything creative a chef does—short of writing the menu, which is protected by law—can be copied by another chef.

As readers of our past posts know, the conventional wisdom says that in a system like this no one should innovate. Copyright’s raison d’etre is to promote creativity by protecting creators from pirates. But in the food world, pirates are everywhere. By this logic, we ought to be consigned to uninspired and traditional food choices. In short, the Korean taco should not exist.

But the real world does not follow this logic. In fact, we live in a golden age of cuisine.

The article is a good read. Apparently, not having copyright can encourage continual innovation. Who knew? :)

(via Who Owns the Korean Taco? – Freakonomics Blog – NYTimes.com.)