Pixel Scroll 3/6/21 Scroll A Song Of Pixels, A Rocket Full Of Files

(1) BE PREPARED. The Center for Disease Control has updated its Zombie Preparedness webpage: Yahoo! has the story — “The CDC is giving advice on preparing for a zombie apocalypse. Here’s why experts applaud the move.”

… The CDC recently updated the Zombie Preparedness section on its website — yes, this is a thing. While the section isn’t new — it originally launched back in 2011 — it does make for interesting timing given that it’s been updated in the middle of a global pandemic that just so happens to be happening in the year of a predicted zombie apocalypse.

The CDC makes it clear online that this is a joke, albeit one with a serious message about the importance of disaster preparedness. “Wonder why zombies, zombie apocalypse, and zombie preparedness continue to live or walk dead on a CDC web site?” the landing page reads. “As it turns out, what first began as a tongue-in-cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages has proven to be a very effective platform. We continue to reach and engage a wide variety of audiences on all hazards preparedness via ‘zombie preparedness.'”

The CDC offers up lesson plans for teachers on zombie apocalypse preparedness, a downloadable poster that reads, “Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Prepared,” next to a zombie’s face, and general information about disaster preparedness….

The site’s resources include a Zombie Preparedness Graphic Novel.

(2) FREE AUTHOR FESTIVAL. Andy Weir will be the keynote speaker during the free virtual “Penguin Random House Book & Author Festival” on April 6. Register here.

Join Penguin Random House, Library Journal, and School Library Journal for a free, day-long virtual book and author festival as we celebrate National Library Week and librarians everywhere!

Enjoy a day packed with author panels and interviews, book buzzes, virtual shelf browsing, and adding to your TBR pile. You’ll hear from many of your favorite authors, whose work runs the gamut from Picture Books to Young Adult titles to the best new Fiction and Nonfiction for adults. There is something of interest for every reader. Attendees will also have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, access eGalleys, and enter to win prizes and giveaways.

(3) GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE? Apparently before there was Niven’s “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” a similar idea was expressed in an unpublished Nabokov poem that has only now seen print: “Poem: ‘The Man of To-morrow’s Lament’ by Vladimir Nabokov” in the Times Literary Supplement. The verse appears at the end of the article which is unfortunately paywalled — unless you haven’t exhausted your quota of free articles.  

…Originally included with Nabokov’s letter from 16 June, the poem was preserved in a separate folder, holding various poems, prose pieces, and newspaper clippings that had been sent to “Dear Bunny” (Edmund Wilson Papers. Box 170. Folder 4246). Nabokov’s unpublished poem lay in this folder for nearly eighty years, breaking out at last – as Superman himself would – to see the light of day.

It should be fair use to quote these four lines from the middle of the poem which caused the New Yorker to reject it in 1942:

I’m young and bursting with prodigious sap,
and I’m in love like any healthy chap –
and I must throttle my dynamic heart
for marriage would be murder on my part

(4) WHAT DID YOU SEE FROM 2020 THAT DESERVES A CHESLEY AWARD? ASFA President Sara Felix announced the Chesley Award suggestions are now open: “Did you know anyone can suggest art at this time? Artists, Fans, Collectors, Art Directors…. we welcome all to show us the fabulous art seen last year.” You have until April 2nd to get them in. The 2021 Chesley Award Suggestions.

Chesley Award pin by Charles Urbach

The suggestion form is now live.  Please send in your suggestions before April 2nd.  We will then begin to collate the lists and open nominations.

There is also a photo album for people to add images of the suggestions here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JLyREPvr3UfzTq889

If you can’t see the form here is the direct link: https://forms.gle/Ly565iDj1iAiyke67

(5) (C). Ursula Vernon posted an after-action report about a Twitter brawl over copyright.

(6) TRAN IS BACK. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna interviews Kelly Marie Tran, who overcame a lot of social media hate thrown at her for her Star Wars work to portray “the first Disney princess of Southeast Asian descent” in the just released Raya And The Lost Dragon. “Kelly Marie Tran’s journey to becoming a fighting Disney princess: ‘It feels like an absolute miracle’”.

If the remarkable life and times of Kelly Marie Tran were a Disney movie, the opening scene would not spotlight the young, hungry unknown hustling to yet another post-college audition in her Honda Civic, or the multi-hyphenate talent being plucked from relative obscurity to become the most prominent actress of color in a Star Wars film. It would not show the swirl of red-carpet events for “The Last Jedi” she posted on social media, or the vile online abuse that followed.Instead, the opening shot would zoom in on Tran as a bright-faced kindergarten singer, performing in her church choir and getting struck by something more life-altering than any radioactive Disney/Marvel spider. This was when and where she was first bitten by the performance bug.

Tran, 32, is best known globally for playing mechanic Rose Tico in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. And with this weekend’s release of Disney’s animated “Raya and the Last Dragon” (in theaters and streaming), the talents of Tran will be on full display in a title role, as she deploys her trained voice in an emotionally resonant and rounded performance….

(7) VIRTUAL TRAVEL. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination has been continuing to experiment with bringing the tools of worldbuilding, speculative design, and remote collaboration into virtual reality with their partners at Origami Air. To preview what has been happening (and more to come!), they invite you to read Origami Air’s inaugural zine, ZEPHYR, here.

As a preview, here is Clarke Center Assistant Director Patrick Coleman’s contribution to the issue:

(8) A TOOL FOR THINKING. “Examples of Applied Sci-Fi: Design Fiction Story Contests, Anthologies, Practitioners, and More” by Kevin Bankston at Medium.

…I organized a session on “Applied Sci-Fi: Science Fiction as Tool, Influence, Warning,” which was a blast — especially considering that such interesting people as Kim Stanley Robinson, one of my very favorite speculative fiction writers, and Tom Kalil, former head of science and technology policy in the Obama administration who used sci-fi as a foresight tool at the White House, chose to show up and participate in the conversation.

The post collects two Twitter threads Bankston wrote about applied sci-fi in 2019.

The first thread is one I was inspired to pull together during the April 2019 We Robot conference at the University of Miami, when Ryan Calo and Stephanie Ballard of the University of Washington’s Tech Policy Lab presented a paper on deploying strategic foresight and design fiction techniques as a tool for thinking about the future of tech policy. In that thread, I collected a wide range of examples of two recent trends in the realm of applied sci-fi: short story contests soliciting sci-fi about “the future of [X],” and relatedly, anthologies of design fiction focused on the future of particular topics or technologies.

The second thread came a month later, when I had the pleasure of visiting the offices of DXLabs in San Francisco, a design consultancy that specializes in using science fiction as a tool for startups to refine their visions of the future. I was motivated to tweet other examples of individuals and companies that specialize in design fiction and sci-fi prototyping — applied sci-fi practitioners, if you will.

(9) UNDERGROUND AND AFTER. “Colson Whitehead: The only writer to win fiction Pulitzers for consecutive works speaks with 60 Minutes” – both the video and a transcript are available at the link.

The club of writers who have won the Pulitzer Prize twice for fiction is small. It contains just four members. The club of those awarded the prize for consecutive novels is even smaller. Colson Whitehead is its only member. He won last year for his novel, “The Nickel Boys,” about the Jim Crow south. In 2017, he won for “The Underground Railroad.” Through historical fiction, he has illuminated the past to tell us something about our present. But his work does not stay in one place. He has written about elevator inspectors, zombie hunters and the World Series of Poker. His next book is a heist novel. One of the other four members of the double-Pulitzer club, John Updike, said of Whitehead’s style: “His writing does what writing should do. It refreshes our sense of the world.”…

John Dickerson: You said at one point with these two books, “I’ve been working in the space of very little hope.” What does that mean?

Colson Whitehead: To create a realistic world, a realistic plantation, a realistic Florida in the South under Jim Crow, it’s bleak and it’s terrible. 

John Dickerson: That must be, emotionally, quite difficult.

Colson Whitehead: It is and definitely the last– writing these, these two books back to back about slavery and Jim Crow, was very depleting. It helps that people have shared their stories, whether it’s a former slave or a former student and opened themselves up in that way that gives me permission to try and find my way into their story and put myself in their, in their shoes.

(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • March 6, 1936 — On this date in 1936, the “Income from Immigrants” episode of the Green Hornet radio show originated from WXYZ in Detroit. (It is also called “Ligget’s Citizenship Racket”.) The show was created by Fran Striker & George W. Trendle, and starred Al Hodge as the Green Hornet at this point, and Tokutaro Hayashi who had renamed Raymond Toyo by initial series director James Jewell. You can download the episode here.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born March 6, 1619 – Savinien II de Cyrano de Bergerac.  (His grandfather was Savinien I de Cyrano.)  His Comical Histories published two years after his death (the States and Empires of the Moon), and seven years after (of the Sun), establish him for us, and a good thing too, since we know very little else.  Science fiction cannot claim him: his greatness is with fantasy: no sign of actually considering whether firecrackers could power a Space voyage.  (Died 1655) [JH]
  • Born March 6, 1918 – Marjii Ellers.  Alle Achtung, as Germans say – may I make that “all praise”, Cora Buhlert? –  to her widower Frank Ellersieck, for whom our world held no joy, but who from first to last told her “You go, girl!”  I knowing Forest’s Barbarella from The Evergreen Review recognized ME’s Black Queen in the L.A.Con (30th Worldcon) Masquerade. Two Worldcons later she was the Queen of Air and Darkness, turning from this – but Bjo (should have a circumflex over the j: “bee-joe”) Trimble cried “Look at her feet! Look at her feet!” – into this.  By Westercon 42 she looked like this.  She did the walls of two LASFS clubhouse restrooms, without any trouble or fuss, in Star Wars wallpaper. Wrote Thousands of Thursdays for new LASFS visitors. Kind, never condescending; gentle, never weak.  Int’l Costumers Guild life achievement award.  Big Heart (our highest service award).  Our Gracious Host’s appreciation here (PDF; go to p. 9).  (Died 1999) [JH]
  • Born March 6, 1928 – Gabriel García Márquez.  His citation for the Nobel Prize in Literature said that in his “novels and short stories … the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination.”  Amen.  About his fictional Macondo nine short stories and One Hundred Years of Solitude are available in English; otherwise In Evil Hour and a further score of short pieces; in the year of his death, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and “The Sea of Lost Time”.  Wrote for two dozen films, directing one.  (Died 2014) [JH]
  • Born March 6, 1928 William F. Nolan, 93. Author of the long running Logan’s Run series (only the first was written with George Clayton Johnson). He started out in fandom in the Fifties publishing several zines including one dedicated to Bradbury. In May 2014, Nolan was presented with another Bram Stoker Award, for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction; this was for his collection about his late friend Ray Bradbury, called Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction. He’s done far too much writing-wise for me to sum it him up. (CE)
  • Born March 6, 1930 Allison Hayes. She was Nancy Fowler Archer, the lead role, in The Attack of The 50 Foot Woman. Her first SF role was the year as Grace Thomas in The Unearthly. She’d be Donna in The Crawling Hand shortly thereafter. She died at age forty seven from the result of injuries sustained from  Foxfire, a mid Fifties Western that’s she was in. That she made three SF films while in severe pain is amazing. (Died 1977.) (CE) 
  • Born March 6, 1942 Dorothy Hoobler, 79. Author with her husband, Thomas Hoobler, of the Samurai Detective series which is at least genre adjacent. More interestingly, they wrote a biography of Mary Shelley and her family called The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein which sounds absolutely fascinating. Note to ISFDB: no, it’s not a novel. Kindle has everything by them, alas Apple Books has only the biography. (CE)
  • Born March 6, 1937 – Edward Ferman, age 84.  Editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, succeeding Avram Davidson – what an act to follow! but he did; succeeded in turn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch; publisher 1970-2000.  Four Hugos for F&SF during the years we gave Best Prozine; then three more to him as Best Pro Editor; Milford and World Fantasy awards for life achievement; Worldcon Special Committee Award for expanding and improving our field; SF Hall of Fame.  See his 20th, 25th, 30th, 40th, and 50th F&SF anniversary anthologies.  He and we were clever, lucky, and skillful enough that he’s been acknowledged.  [JH]
  • Born March 6, 1937 – Valentina Tereshkova, age 84.  First woman in Space.  Only woman to have been on a solo Space mission.  Also youngest (she was 26).  Amateur skydiver.  Engineer.  Teacher.  Retired from the Air Force with rank of major general.  Two dozen decorations; see them and more here.  Indeed a hero.  [JH]
  • Born March 6, 1957 Ann VanderMeer, 64. Publisher and editor, and the second female editor of Weird Tales. As Fiction Editor of Weird Tales, she won a Hugo Award. In 2009 Weird Tales, edited by her and Stephen H. Segal, won a Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. She is also the founder of The Silver Web magazine, a periodical devoted to experimental and avant-garde fantasy literature. (CE)
  • Born March 6, 1972 – Kirsten Bishop, age 49.  One novel, a score of shorter stories, three poems, half a dozen covers: here is The Etched Cityhere is her collection That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote.  Aurealis, Crawford, two Ditmars.  Also sculpture.  Too bad we couldn’t see the tadpoles.  [JH]
  • Born March 6, 1979 Rufus Hound, 42. Ok I’ll admit it was his name that got him here. He also had the good fortune to appear as Sam Swift in “The Woman Who Lived”, easily one of the best Twelfth Doctor stories. He’s also played Toad in the world premiere of the musical, The Wind In The Willows in Plymouth, Salford and Southampton, as written by Julian Fellowes. (CE)

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • How often does B.C. work in a Lucasfilm reference?

(13) BLAST FROM THE PRESENT. In the Washington Post, Travis M. Andrews says if you tweet that you think a piece of the MCU is really well written (as Madison Hatfield did with an episode of “WandaVision”) you’re going to get a lot of praise and a lot of hate from fellow Twitter users. “How a ‘WandaVision’ viral tweet explains the passion of Marvel fans — and haters”.

… So she didn’t think much of it when she posted what she thought was an innocuous tweet to her 800 or so followers, praising a line from Marvel’s latest hit show, “WandaVision.” In one scene, a character suggests to another, “But what is grief, if not love persevering?”

When she heard it, she muttered an expletive under her breath. As both a screenwriter and a casual fan, the line struck her as a standout. “Sometimes you hear a line, and you can tell it would be remembered,” she said.

So on Saturday, intending to poke fun at her “screenwriter self,” she tweeted a photo with the line as the caption, adding, “Do you hear that sound? It’s every screenwriter in the world whispering a reverent ‘F—’ under their breath.” That evening, she went to bed, pleased with the 100 likes it received.

Little did she know that tweet would become a symbol of the almost hyperbolic feelings the MCU inspires online — from both fans and detractors. And how the earnestness of fans of a popular, Disney-controlled product can clash with the cynicism of a place like Twitter.

The next morning, Hatfield’s tweet had 10,000 likes.

“I was excited,” she said. “I thought, ‘People like my joke.’ ” As an added bonus, many people who had experience with grief wrote that it touched them in a personal way.

“Then,” she said, “it took a turn.”

Remember, this is the Internet. Express what others deem as too much excitement for something, and you’re labeled “stupid” and “dumb,” and told you don’t “consume the right kind of art.” Which is what happened.

“Because we all aspire to write bumper stickers,” replied Josh Olson, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of 2005’s “A History of Violence.” (Olson declined to comment for this article.)…

(And seeing that kind of lashing-out reminded me that Josh Olson was a good friend Harlan Ellison’s.)

(14) ROVELLI. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination podcast Into the Impossible is devoted to conversation with “Carlo Rovelli: Loop Quantum Gravity & The Order of Time”.

Carlo Rovelli (born 3 May 1956) is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer who has worked in Italy, the United States and since 2000, in France. His work is mainly in the field of quantum gravity, where he is among the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory.

He has also worked in the history and philosophy of science. He collaborates with several Italian newspapers, in particular the cultural supplements of the Corriere della SeraIl Sole 24 Ore and La Repubblica. His popular science book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics has been translated in 41 languages and has sold over a million copies worldwide.

In 2019 he has been included by the Foreign Policy magazine in the list of the 100 most influential global thinkers.

He is author of the international bestseller Seven Brief Lessons on PhysicsReality Is Not What It Seems, and The Order of Time. Rovelli lives in Marseille, France.

Already a bestseller in Italy, and written with the poetic vitality that made Seven Brief Lessons on Physics so appealing, The Order of Time offers a profoundly intelligent, culturally rich, novel appreciation of the mysteries of time.

(15) CREDIT OVERDUE. Mental Floss says it’s time to pay homage to “19 Unsung Scientists Who Didn’t Get Enough Credit”.

3. ROSALIND FRANKLIN

Rosalind Franklin was a British chemist who specialized in taking photos that could show the molecular structure of various compounds. With this method, her lab photographed DNA, which would be critical for the discovery of its double-helix structure. Three other people—James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins—used Franklin’s findings without her permission. When they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology for their collective work in 1962, Franklin was left out of the honors; she had died in 1958.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “I Bought The Rights to A Bad Jack Nicholson Movie” on YouTube, Austin McConnell explains how he bought the rights to the Spanish-language version of The Terror, a 1963 Roger Corman movie which began by his trying to recycle the sets in the bigger-budget The Raven but ended up being shot by five directors (including Francis Ford Coppola).  McConnell explains he story behind his weird B movie and how he bought the Spanish language rights (it’s in the public domain in English) “just so I could make a dumb video about it.”

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

67 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/6/21 Scroll A Song Of Pixels, A Rocket Full Of Files

  1. (11) Marjii did the tilework in Disposed and Communicado, also – with colored grout. She was also a Provider of Chocolate, and a wonderful (much missed) person.
    I remember her and Frank showing up at a Halloween party as Foundation and Umpire. (She was Foundation. Still the best-looking great-grandmother you’ll ever see.)

  2. I seem to have drifted away from whatever thoughts I have.

    Other than that Dora is eating well and being active and happy!

  3. (5) Does WordPress support © ? I’ll know in a second.

    (11) It’s Rob Reiner’s birthday. Best known for his work as a delivery boy in an episode of Batman.

  4. Jack Lint: Does WordPress support ©

    Yes it does — even in a post (bearing in mind our past experience where some things work in comments that turn into question marks on the front page.)

    In fact I used the symbol in my draft, however, when I previewed the page it didn’t stand out enough — the item looked like it had no subhead. That’s when I decided to go with the non-symbol version.

  5. How did I miss that oor Wombat had a new book out? Paladin’s Strength. Off to read.

  6. 11) Valentina Tereshkova is also the Senior Person In Space — no one who flew before she did is alive.

  7. Valentina Tereshkova is also the Senior Person In Space — no one who flew before she did is alive.

    This makes me happy, especially since Valentina Tereshkova was so often dismissed as propaganda stunt in the past.

  8. 5) The thing I notice is the people in favor of reducing copyright for the most part aren’t authors, just people who want to get ahold of author’s work for free.

    So I really have to wonder what workd the person who started this wanted to get their hands on? Did they want to toss out a script for an Octavia Butler novel? Maybe slap a new cover on Dune and put it out on Amazon? One has to wonder.

  9. David Goldfarb: I’m re-reading Paladin’s Grace before reading Strength.

    I did that, too. It made me remember just how much I enjoyed the first book. The second book is good, too, but it’s way heavier on the romance — lots and lots of mooning, pining, and sexing for those who enjoy that — way past my tolerance level, so I skipped a fair bit of it. The rest of the story is good, though.

    Every time I read one of her books, part of me spends the entire time internally screaming, “IT’S NOT FAIR!!! Why can’t I be as clever and witty as Ursula Vernon???!!”

  10. Meredith moment: John Garth’s most excellent Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-Earth which garnered a Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inkling Studies is available from the usual digital suspects for a rather reasonable $2.99 right now.

  11. 5) As an anarchist, I don’t see a contradiction between the perfectly reasonable desire to read books for free and the equally reasonable desire not to have anyone starve. But of course, it’s convenient for the people who benefit most from the current copyright laws – shareholders in large entertainment and software corporations – to let this become a fight between people who like to write and people who like to read.

  12. Sophie say As an anarchist, I don’t see a contradiction between the perfectly reasonable desire to read books for free and the equally reasonable desire not to have anyone starve. But of course, it’s convenient for the people who benefit most from the current copyright laws – shareholders in large entertainment and software corporations – to let this become a fight between people who like to write and people who like to read.

    The counter-argument I would make is that copyright is mutually beneficial arrangement that allows both creators and those who consume what they create to benefit from their creations on an ongoing basis.

    I certainly wouldn’t be listening right now to Arkady Martine’s A Desolation Called Peace if the copyright laws didn’t exist and that would be a true pity as I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Copyright is a process that benefits cultures on a continual basis, not harm it as so many seem to think.

  13. 5) @Rose Embolism, I’m going to be even more blunt.

    (Donning asbestos panties)

    Most of the anti-copyright folks I see on Twitter are generally a.) white, b.) male, and c.) into tech.

    I’ve seen writers compared to inventors, idea landlords, doctors, and social workers. I’ve seen writing compared to drug patents. I am certain others who’ve had more time on Twitter than I have this weekend have seen even more off-the-mark comparisons.

    I have no idea why Matt Iglesias decided he had to wax opinionated about copyright and kick off this entire kerfuffle, but like so many debates of this ilk on social media that have been happening during the past year, I’m sure seeing the dark side of a number of people. Not in publishing, thankfully–we seem to have a unified front on this one.

    But there are a bunch of political sorts who apparently seem to have a disparaging attitude toward writers, especially novelists, and people who should know better who apparently don’t have the faintest understanding of how publishing works on the fiction side, especially for the midlist. I have been looking at the bios of the big anti-copyright yelpers and they apparently seem to have a big following, are into tech, and…well, I haven’t had time to look at their feeds. Yet.

    I’m a bit bothered by this, and wonder just why the heck Iglesias thought stirring the pot on this issue was a good idea. What’s brewing?

  14. Joyce Reynolds- Ward asks I’m a bit bothered by this, and wonder just why the heck Iglesias thought stirring the pot on this issue was a good idea. What’s brewing?

    I have no idea. I do know having talked to any number of writers that copyright is Really Good Thing that keeps quite a few of them from being destitute (not kidding) as being a full-time author is hard work and building a back catalog is difficult.

    It’s actually become easier in the ePub era to do so as selling your back catalog to your readers now far less difficult. Charles de Lint for example controls most of his back catalog and has released as digital publications in has many formats as possible. This is made possible babe cause publishers don’t keep books i. Print.

  15. @Cat Eldridge Copyright is mutually beneficial arrangement

    I’m not so sure about that – artists have to restrict their audience to people who can afford to pay or face starvation; audiences have to choose what they can afford, not what they want; and a whole ecosystem of capitalists collect a percentage from both. We should be able to do better.

  16. I understand beeing angry about the copyright of an out of print book that you can only get second hand to a very expensive prise.
    I mean buying for Ursulas Books (as an example) gives her a reason to write more. I personally see this as a win/winsituation.
    (whitout knowing the discusion on twiter)
    Books are also a hoby, no body dies if they don’t get them know(dangerous opinion on File 770), normally there are not that expensive and if a HC is that, well what for a cheeper option.
    There are isues that I find more problematic(medicine) etc, or discusion that are more productive (when and how should you go after minor copyriteinfrictments) but information should be free all times, is an argument, that is imho very week.

  17. Rose Embolism: The thing I notice is the people in favor of reducing copyright for the most part aren’t authors, just people who want to get ahold of author’s work for free.
    I’m an author, though to date I’ve only written short fiction, and it’s a hobby rather than a career. Authors (and other artists) do deserve to be paid for their work. However, keeping something under copyright for decades after the artist has died doesn’t serve that purpose, and things like the Mickey Mouse extension benefit corporations, not individual artists.

    IMO, the most reasonable thing would be to have copyright last for the life of the author, with a minimum of 18 years. (The “or a minimum of 18 years” clause is so that if an artist dies young, the proceeds from their work can continue to support their children until those children have reached the age of majority.) So artists can make money from their work, and their minor children can be supported by their work, but the exclusivity doesn’t last forever and a day.

  18. @Nina: I would say that it should be more, I understand the will of people to keep their children save. So 18 years seems to me a very short minimum, too short, but I should perhaps leave this to writers who have published.

  19. Sophie Jane says I’m not so sure about that – artists have to restrict their audience to people who can afford to pay or face starvation; audiences have to choose what they can afford, not what they want; and a whole ecosystem of capitalists collect a percentage from both. We should be able to do better.

    Huh? Artists have to restrict their audience to people who can afford to pay or face starvation? WTF? None of what you write makes the least bit of sense. You’re acting as if everything should be absolutely free to take.

  20. I have twice written a well-reasoned, calm argument for why copyright is good, and twice wiped it out with a clumsy finger. As a result, I am no longer calm.

    Copyright is good. It makes writers and other artists more, not less, able to produce the art the want to.

    It makes those artistic works more available to us, not less.

    Disney is a major problem with copyright; every time Mickey Mouse is in danger of going out of copyright, terms get extended.

    Life of the writer/artist/musician/whatever, plus 25 years, would be orderly, reasonable, and fair. I’m open to discussion (at least when I’m not quite as frustrated as at this exact moment) on exactly what the term of that “plus mumblety years” should be.

  21. Lis Carey says Life of the writer/artist/musician/whatever, plus 25 years, would be orderly, reasonable, and fair. I’m open to discussion (at least when I’m not quite as frustrated as at this exact moment) on exactly what the term of that “plus mumblety years” should be.

    That’s a reasonable number that has gotten complicated by the matter of trademarks. As the material in intellectual property are often more valuable than the actual works themselves, that’s what gets extended indefinitely via the trademark route.

    Conversely it is useful for a group like the Seuss organisation which is genuinely interested in protecting the image of someone to use what the protections trademark law affords to keep works out of print if they so desire.

  22. Yay, title credit! Thanks, Mike!

    @Cat Eldridge:
    I think Sophie Jane was describing the current condition – that artists must restrict access to their work to those who can pay, or the artists will starve – as a condition that can stand improvement. AFAICT, she wasn’t advocating that artists SHOULD give their work away and starve.

  23. I’m going to side with Nina on copyright issues. Writers should be paid for their work and copyright is an efficient way to do this. But 95 years after an author’s death is way too long and maybe 30 years should be better.

    I once read an article that said the only filmmakers who benefitted from 95-year copyrights were Disney and the Hal Roach Studios (who made Little Rascals) and that Hal Roach Studios favored a shorter copyright.

  24. jayn says I think Sophie Jane was describing the current condition – that artists must restrict access to their work to those who can pay, or the artists will starve – as a condition that can stand improvement. AFAICT, she wasn’t advocating that artists SHOULD give their work away and starve.

    So I’ll bite (gently). What should they do? Keeping in mind that reading a given work or listening to a concert is a privilege, not right.

    I once upon a time booked concerts (June Tabor, Old Blind Dogs, members of Blowzabella, Dougie Maclean to name a few) and use to get a few bitter complaints always that the ticket prices were way too high. My reply was always that no one needed to see the concert and that I gave three quarters of the ticket fee to the artist(s). Didn’t satisfy the complainers.

    So what’s the alternative to the present system? We’ve got libraries which, though the system isn’t perfect, you can borrow pretty much any book you want to read. It’s the ownership aspect that we’re talking about, isn’t it?

  25. @Cat Eldridge, @jayn

    Yes, sorry. To clarify: you’re both right. I was describing the current system, and I believe the idea solution would be everything given away for free – bread and roses too. I am, as I said, an anarchist.

    But as an interim solution… how about making it harder for writers (and everyone else) to starve? Seems to me not enough people are considering that end of the problem.

  26. Re: Copyright

    Life certainly is cyclic. I remember being on a panel about this very topic, oh, about 20 years ago. Everything I’ve experienced since then has reinforced my opinion at the time that the people arguing most vociferously to end copyright are people who want to make money off an already existing story/series/movie, etc. In other words, people who don’t want to (or perhaps realize they don’t have what it takes to) create their own stuff. Those people had an attitude of entitlement right down to their bones that was staggering.

  27. Note: I have fixed a defective link in the Marjii Ellers birthday item, in case you ran into a 404 error trying to view it earlier.

  28. Copyright – I don’t know if it has been mentioned here before but Japan is considering a law that cosplayers must pay a licensing fee to the copyright holder if they derive any financial benefit from their cosplay.

  29. @Sophie Jane:
    I think you go to far. Yes their should be a net to make living more safe. (sorry I have to say it but other countrys have that)
    But we know having everythink for free is not the most productive system, see UDSSR. Also we have a tendency to ignore the isues that are for the greater good and don’t help us personaly.

  30. Meredith moment: Fritz Leiber’s Swords and Deviltry, Book One of The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser collections which includes the Hugo winning “Ill Met in Lankhmar” novella is available today from the usual digital suspects for $1.99.

  31. @Lorien Grey

    Life certainly is cyclic. I remember being on a panel about this very topic, oh, about 20 years ago. Everything I’ve experienced since then has reinforced my opinion at the time that the people arguing most vociferously to end copyright are people who want to make money off an already existing story/series/movie, etc. In other words, people who don’t want to (or perhaps realize they don’t have what it takes to) create their own stuff. Those people had an attitude of entitlement right down to their bones that was staggering.

    I waded into the debate on Twitter and one person argued that a shorter copyright term was good for writers and artists, because it meant we could make more money writing in other people’s worlds. “I don’t want to write in someone else’s world,” I replied, “I have plenty of ideas of my own.” That person was boggled.

    Anyway, copyright should definitely be life of the artist plus X. We can debate about the length of X and personally I think that 70 years is too much, but that’s the current law in much of the world. The Berne Convention, which the US signed, mandates a minimum of life plus 50. Personally, I would be fine with life plus 25 or 30.

  32. I think there should FIRST be a net that keeps everyone safe – I am a massive fan of UBI – long before we consider taking the rug out from under copyright, AND that creators of many kinds (Since copyright is not just about writers) should benefit from their work within their lifetime if it sells enough to earn them above UBI, and should retain the creative control to prevent people they do not trust from making adaptations of their work. (I mean, authors who trusted people to adapt their works have been badly burned by the results as it is.)

    Suggestions I have seen that I would be willing to entertain:
    – Keep with the current but don’t make it longer. (Current is life+50 in some places and life+70 in others)
    – Reduce to life+30
    – Reduce to Life+15 or until any minor heirs have reached majority, whichever is longer. (This is the one I personally suggested.)
    – Copyright 30 years, but also renewable by the original creator indefinitely (in practice this would mean a likely maximum of twice by them) and by their heirs one additional time only (The end result is an absolute maximum of 120 years if the author is REALLY lucky, and usually 90 or less). And 90 years max for corporations. This means that orphaned works would go out of copyright on a schedule (orphaned works are one of the big “But WHATABOUT” questions), and similarly works like instruction manuals for now obsolete programs wouldn’t have absurd copyright durations, but something that’s still selling and/or getting movies made about it 70 years after publication is covered.

    Someone pointed out an actual not totally random reason this came up now: Brexit is taking the UK out of EU copyright and they are therefore in an unusually good position to rewrite their law on the subject. Or might even have to.

  33. Meredith moment: Fritz Leiber’s Swords and Deviltry, Book One of The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser collections which includes the Hugo winning “Ill Met in Lankhmar” novella is available today from the usual digital suspects for $1.99.

    If you haven’t read it already, do get it. “Ill Met in Lankhmar” alone is well worth it and “The Unholy Grail” and “The Snow Women” are pretty good as well.

  34. In principle, I like the permutations of “Copyright is X years unless renewed by copyright holder.”

    But nothing is implemented according to “in principle.”

    Looking at systems of privilege and marginalization in the U.S., I see no reason to believe that renewing a copyright won’t be implemented in a way that makes it easier to do if you’re already privileged and prohibitively difficult if you’re not.

    For examples of how that might be, take a look at pretty much every example of why it’s harder to register to vote and to exercise your right to vote in the U.S. if you’re poor, non-white, or disabled.

    It doesn’t even have to be made more difficult on purpose. It already is, just because the systems surrounding it have been built on a tilt. To enshrine privilege, those building new systems on top of existing ones need only neglect to include any sort of compensation for that tilt–to pretend or simply not know that mailing a letter, keeping an appointment, taking the morning off of work, physically getting somewhere outside of their daily routine or even outside of their home, obtaining an ID card, and on and on and on, are already harder for some than for others.

    Until we manage to prune our systems of this sort of dynamic, copyright needs to stay in effect for the same amount of time regardless of whether the copyright holder is able to afford a stamp or filing fee or visit to the copyright office.

    So yes, please, life of the author, plus some equitable X to be determined which allows authors no less than any other property holder to bequeath their assets to their beneficiaries of choice.

  35. “Publication date + Y years” has an advantage over “Life + X years” for a practical reason – it makes copyright status easy to determine, even for cases where the death date of the author is hard to find. If Y were (say) 60 or 70 years, almost all works would be protected until after the author’s death.

  36. Copyright is an interesting beast – this is some of my “understanding” (for lack of a better word) of the background (hugely simplified of course, and no doubt wrong from at least some perspectives).

    Consider how art was created before copyright: in order to support themselves, artists effectively had to find jobs as artists, or a rich patron, or also have some other job (and perhaps hope that either of the two other options would materialise). But: the art they created was fundamentally loosed into the world, and others could do with it what they wanted; once an idea was out there, others could run with it – the art had immediately entered the public domain.

    Copyright sprang from a realisation that having more art in the public domain is a good thing, because that enriches everyone; and that one way to stimulate the creation of art is to give creators a limited exclusive right to the art they create, so that they are the ones who can, within those limits, profit from it.

    But the purpose of copyright is to enrich the public domain; creating a right for the creator to be in control of that art and preventing others from copying or building on it, is the mechanism – which is why copyright is limited, so that the art eventually does enter the public domain, enriching everyone in the end.

    A copyright term of Creator’s life + some number of years (50 per the Berne convention) means that the creator is assured that nobody else can profiteer off their art during their lifetime, and that their family will have a buffer of potential income as well.

    But it also means that anyone who encountered a piece of art when it was created may never see that art enter the public domain in their lifetime; instead, the ability to use that art freely only becomes available to later generations.

    Many creators have started to create art based upon the expectations that the current ruleset for copyright will remain more or less stable. They clearly do not want their livelihood to be taken away – and doing so would deprive the public domain of that creator’s art.

    At the same time, the technical ability to take a piece of art and build on it is ever increasing, and many would-be-creators are unable to build on the art they know and would like to build on, because it is still in copyright – thus preventing some art from being created and eventually entering the public domain.

    And of course corporations have entered the scene, with copyright assignment, “work-for-hire”, etc, and trying to extend their control over the art they control as long and wide as possible … which is a whole different can of worms.

    Even from this vastly simplistic perspective, one can see that there are no simple clear-cut ‘right’ answers, or numbers, or lines to be drawn. There are competing interests, and different copyright terms will have both positive and negative effects in different ways – even relative to the goal of enriching the public domain.

  37. Copyright is being massively abused in tech. For example, Oracle suing Google over Android library interfaces that are compatible with the equivalent Java library interfaces. Code is text, but it also is functional. This is the modern equivalent of the IBM plug-compatible device court cases. If only IBM had thought to copyright its connectors as works of art, so no competitor could create a plug that looks the same. IBM could have successfully prevented half a century of innovation.

    The DMCA criminalizes circumvention of access controls, even when no copyright is actually infringed. This was essentially intended to protect Hollywood (which gets back to Disney), but now it’s used to prevent people from repairing their own devices from cell phones to tractors, repurposing devices, creating emulators and compatible devices, and academic research.

    This is are issues for all sorts of people, not just white male tech bros. Corporate copyright overreach tends to hit marginalized people harder, the artists, makers, and researchers outside the mainstream. Maybe when we achieve luxury gay space communism it can be different, but until then we need copyright, and we need it done right. It should be protecting the rights of creators and innovators, not monopolists.

  38. StefanB: Books are also a hoby, no body dies if they don’t get them know (dangerous opinion on File 770)

    🔥 BURN THE HERETIC! 🔥

  39. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    In principle, I like the permutations of “Copyright is X years unless renewed by copyright holder.”

    But nothing is implemented according to “in principle.”

    Looking at systems of privilege and marginalization in the U.S., I see no reason to believe that renewing a copyright won’t be implemented in a way that makes it easier to do if you’re already privileged and prohibitively difficult if you’re not.

    For examples of how that might be, take a look at pretty much every example of why it’s harder to register to vote and to exercise your right to vote in the U.S. if you’re poor, non-white, or disabled.

    It doesn’t even have to be made more difficult on purpose. It already is, just because the systems surrounding it have been built on a tilt. To enshrine privilege, those building new systems on top of existing ones need only neglect to include any sort of compensation for that tilt–to pretend or simply not know that mailing a letter, keeping an appointment, taking the morning off of work, physically getting somewhere outside of their daily routine or even outside of their home, obtaining an ID card, and on and on and on, are already harder for some than for others.

    Merely requiring someone to register their copyright rather than automatically granting copyright at the moment of creation, as the Berne Convention declares, would already be a prohibitive hurdle for some.

    Because registering copyright costs a fee (currently 65 USD) and also processing times. This isn’t a lot of money for Disney and their ilk, but it is a lot of money for a marginalised writer who has just written their first novel. Also, if you’re prolific, those registration fees add up fast. If I had to register every story I write and publish, the fees alone would eat up all my profits.

  40. Cora Buhlert says Because registering copyright costs a fee (currently 65 USD) and also processing times. This isn’t a lot of money for Disney and their ilk, but it is a lot of money for a marginalised writer who has just written their first novel. Also, if you’re prolific, those registration fees add up fast. If I had to register every story I write and publish, the fees alone would eat up all my profits.

    In the USA, copyright protection is automatic from the moment a work is created, registration is not required in order to protect any work. Just stating that a work is copyrighted is sufficient unto the day. I assume the same is true in other countries that are of the Berne Convention as well.

  41. Yes, the US signed the Berne Convention, so copyright is automatically granted at the moment of creation. The US copyright office still exists, but I suspect it’s more a legacy thing and some people and companies want the extra protection.

    Way back at university, I got my hands on a Writers’ Market handbook, which told you to register your copyright and how and when to do it. Unfortunately, the information was only for the US and I was in Germany.

    So I went to one of my professors, who also happened to be the editor of the university literary magazine, and asked him where to register copyright and he looked at me, as if I’d asked him where to purchase a unicorn. “Well, I suspect you could go to a notary, if you really want to, but why would you?”

    I told him that I have this book, which says you have to register your copyright, but the info given was only good for the US. The professor said, “Well, the US is different. Here in Germany, you don’t have to register copyright, you have it automatically.”

  42. Cora Buhlert says I told him that I have this book, which says you have to register your copyright, but the info given was only good for the US. The professor said, “Well, the US is different. Here in Germany, you don’t have to register copyright, you have it automatically.”

    Your professor is wrong. The process is exactly the same in every country that is a member of the Berne Convention in that it’s automatic. For the vast majority of copyright holders that’s more than sufficient.

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