March 23rd, 2013


The Government Is After You Again

Okay, you people managed to realize SOPA and ACTA was out there and did something to stop it.  Very good.

Here's your next target.

Maria Pallante is the United States Register Of Copyrights.  She's the boss of copyrights.

And she wants to make it a felony if you stream copyrighted material.

"If there is illegal streaming happening, especially in an egregious, wiffful, profit-driven kind of way, how do you get at that activity if the best that you can do is go after them for a misdemeanor?  Whether you're streaming the Super Bowl, whether you're streaming music, a movie, the point is that you don't always need to have a copy, and the consumer may not want a copy."

Congress is currently reconsidering copyright laws because of a Supreme Court ruling this week saying that people who buy books and CD's in other countries can bring them to the US.  Consumer rights groups, those of us who enjoy comics and CD's from other countries, hammers who trade little gifts with their good buddies around the world, and other celebrated this.  The Content Mafia did not, and is urging Congress to make importing things not covered by US copyright illegal.  So with the discussion open, Pallante is joining.

This means things like, if you make a YouTube video with music in the background, you could be charged with a felony (anyone doing YouTube videos has seen DMCA takedown notices or had the audio muted because they, say, made a fan tribute music video that the RIAA is upset about or, in one case, had the audio muted because of a song on their car radio as they shot with their cell phone).  Laws get abused, and the broader they are, the more likely it is to happen.

The protected market that is the entertainment industry is trying to make sure we can't do anything unless they get paid.

Now is the time to show we are not a spiggot of money for them.

Spread the word.

We must look out for each other.

These Boots Were Made For Walking

Florida Atlantic University...where do I know that name from?

Oh, yeah!  That was where James Tracy, the lunatic who started the Sandy Hook "truther" movement teaches.

FAU has tried in the ensuing days to make it seem like the university is not run by a bunch of dipshits.

Things like this don't help.

FAU offers a class on intercultural communication, taught by one Deandre Poole (reports take pains to mention she's also the vice-chairman of the Palm Beach Democratic Party, although what the hell that has to do with anything, I don't know).  The textbook is Intercultural Communication:  A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.  One of the lessons it seeks to teach is as follows:

"This exercise is a bit sensitive, but really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings. Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence, instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

So, just to make sure we're all on the same page of music -- the exercise is to ask students to stand on a piece of paper with the word "Jesus" on it.  If the student does NOT stand on the paper, ask them why they can't, and use this as a springboard to discuss cultural symbols.

Everybody still with me so far?  That's good!

So, the class is going on, the exercise is proceeding, and it's the turn of one student, a junior named Ryan Rotela.  Rotela is a devout Mormon.  He was instructed to step on the paper.  He refused.

Now, at this point in the exercise, he is supposed to be asked why he won't step on the paper, and then they move on to the next student.

FAU suspended him.

On Thursday, FAU was defending the decision to suspend Rotela.  But by Friday morning, they were singing a different tune.  "We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused.  Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.  We can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class."

Which I'm guessing means Rotela is still a student.

Thank God for that.
Kermit And Piggy

Who Will Buy My Memories?

Any of you near Los Angeles?  Got a few extra bucks?  Want to dig for some dirt?

Then hie yourself down to the EZ Storage - Pico at 11470 Tennessee Ave. in Los Angeles, CA  90064 on April 3rd.  At 1000AM, they will be holding auctions on abandoned storage spaces.

Of particular interest are spaces 5068, 5070 to 5074 inclusive, and 5113.  These storage spaces were the property of Platinum Entertainment (hi, Scott!  How's it hanging?).  You don't pay your rent on time, they assume it's abandoned, they padlock it, and auction off the contents.  We have no way of knowing what's in there.  Could be comics.  Could be screeners of Cowboys And Aliens....

...could be legal documents no one wants to get out.  And those of you thinking this is too outrageous, remember -- it was a public storage auction that confirmed Paris Hilton has herpes.  Lots of seemingly trivial stuff goes in these places.

I just checked my calendar, and shit and scrambled eggs, I'm busy that day.  But any of my fine and upstanding readers who want to roll the dice, there's the info, you decide what to do next.

That's How We Rock And Roll

During the black and white boom, there was a comic publisher called Revolution Comics.  Their tagline was, "Unauthorized and proud of it."  Naturally, a group of self-styled rebels would like to make comics about rock and roll.  Rock 'N' Roll Comics did unauthorized biographies of major music stars of the time.

Revolution developed a very bad reputation with the creative community and eventually went under (Elvis Shrugged in particular saw a lot of trouble, some of which actually got into print).  Then along came Bluewater Publishing, which promised exposure and not much else.  They started a line of unauthorized biographies to make some quick cash.  And to help get material out there, they did a reprint deal with Rock 'N' Roll Comics.

Rock 'N' Roll has now pulled the plug on their deal with Bluewater.  The publisher is saying the deal with Bluewater worked, but they are ending it anyway.

When someone who worked with Revolution doesn't want to work with you....