Archive for December 12th, 2011

December 12, 2011

Mickey Mouse Protection Act


The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier. Copyright protection for works published prior to 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.

This law, also known as the Sonny Bono Act, or as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, effectively ‘froze’ the advancement date of the public domain in the United States for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules. Under this Act, additional works made in 1923 or afterwards that were still protected by copyright in 1998 will not enter the public domain until 2019 or afterward (depending on the date of the product) unless the owner of the copyright releases them into the public domain prior to that or if the copyright gets extended again. Unlike copyright extension legislation in the European Union, the Sonny Bono Act did not revive copyrights that had already expired.

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December 12, 2011

Internet in a Suitcase


commotion wireless

Internet in a suitcase is a program reportedly developed or spearheaded by the U.S. Department of State to provide Internet and mobile phone service to dissidents that can bypass government censorship or shut down of telecommunications in countries such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria and Libya. The plan reportedly involves utilizing common hardware components ‘into a package that could easily’ be smuggled ‘into a repressive country and quickly assembled to deliver wireless service across a wide area to maintain crucial communications between legitimately protesting citizens.’

Part of the operation includes a prototype ‘Internet in a suitcase’ being developed by a ‘group of young entrepreneurs’ led by Sascha Meinrath of the New America Foundation, a public policy think tank. Other projects employ tools ‘that have already been created by hackers in a so-called liberation-technology movement sweeping the globe,’ and stealth wireless networks.

December 12, 2011


reddit sopa

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261 was a proposed American law to stop copyright infringement on the Internet. The Internet community had major discussion over it, but the bill was not passed. The supporters claimed that current copyright laws are not effective in shutting down piracy websites. The opponents argued the law amounted to a broad censorship tool over the internet.

In protest, several major sites went dark on January 18, 2012. News aggregator site Reddit blocked access first and then others joined the movement. Wikipedia masked most of its pages with a banner to spotlight the value of open access to information on the Internet. Google put up a black censor board in front of its logo.

December 12, 2011

First World Problem

my super sweet 16

The term First World Problems refers to issues perceived as difficult to those residing in the more developed nations in the global arena (i.e., the First World), but which are banal when compared to the difficulties encountered by those in the less developed Third World. First World Problems is often used in a derisive manner towards those who complain about the problems they experience in the ‘First World’ on a regular basis. However, it is also routinely used by scholars and economists in studying the relationship between the Third World and the First World.

The exact provenance of the term is uncertain, although some believe that it originated with comedic author David Rakoff, whose 2005 book ‘Don’t Get Too Comfortable’ is subtitled ‘The Indignities of Coach Class, the Torments of Low Thread Count, the Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems.’ Many computer games, notably, provide a fascinating degree of First World escapism via a simulation of Third World Problems. For example, the infamous 1980s ASCII-based dungeon crawler ‘Rogue’ provided those First World denizens who had overcome the First World Problem of not owning a computer to experience such Third World Problems as starvation, existential ennui, and life-or-death hand-to-hand combat.