Pixel Scroll 6/24/23 My Pixel Threw Out All My Old Scrolls And All That’s Left Is This Godstalk

(1) TROLLING FOR DOLLARS. Victoria Strauss advises how to handle a certain kind of litigation threat in “When the Copyright Trolls Came for Me” at Writer Beware.

If you’re a writer who’s serious about a career, you probably have some form of online presence: a website, a blog, an Instagram account. You may make use of images and/or videos created by others–to add visual interest to your blog posts or newsletters, decorate your website, and/or engage your readers and followers. For example, the header image at the top of this post.

If you use images online, you need to be aware of copyright trolls….

The full article is at Writer Unboxed: “When The Copyright Trolls Came for Me”. And part of the advice is to actually have rights to the images you used online.

The Importance of Protecting Yourself

The resources I consulted in my research for this post agree that copyright trolling is on the rise—and as my experience shows, you don’t have to infringe to be a target. In that environment, it makes sense to do what you can to defend yourself.

What does that include?

  1. First and most obvious, if you use images, make sure you have the proper licenses and/or permissions, or that the images are free to download under a Creative Commons license, such as photos from sites like Pixabay and Unsplash (though do read the license terms: there may be restrictions on use, such as a requirement for attribution—and yes, trolls come after people for messing that up too). Giving credit to the image creator and/or linking back to the source is polite, but it won’t protect you from copyright claims….

(2) NEW BLOCH TRIBUTE. The Robert Bloch Official Website launched just one week ago, and today Jim Nemeth announced a major update: the Stories page is greatly expanded, providing the most comprehensive list of Bloch’s published stories to date.

 (3) A REAL HE-MAN. Cora Buhlert shows off two Masters of the Universe figures.

(4) TINGLE BOOK AD. “Chuck To The Future” is an appeal to preorder Chuck Tingle’s Camp Damascus.

“No, no buckaroo, the Hugo Awards are fine. We’ve gotta help Chuck Tingle!”

(5) TINGLE BOOK TOUR. And Chuck Tingle has been dropping announcements about book tour appearances with colleagues – you’ll be able to tell them apart, he’ll be the one with a bag over his head.

With Nicola Griffith in Seattle.

With Catriona Ward in Minneapolis.

With N.K. Jemisin in New York.

(6) REGRETS, I’VE HAD A FEW. “Our Way” is a parody of the Frank Sinatra hit “My Way” about the DC Extended Universe.

The Flash marks the end of the DCEU run as we’ve known it. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman sing goodbye to the DCEU and reminisce on the good, the bad, and the weird that the DC Comics movie universe entailed


2015 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Becky Chambers as you all well know is the author of the Hugo Award-winning Wayfarers series which is where our Beginning comes from this Scroll, as Mike choose wisely in selecting The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, the first novel in that series. It is one of my favorite novels, period.  

The novel itself surprisingly didn’t garner any Awards though it was nominated for an  Arthur C. Clarke Award, a British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer, a Grand prix de l’Imaginaire and a Kitschie for Best Debut Novel. No Hugo nomination though. 

And now for a rather superb Beginning…

As she woke up in the pod, she remembered three things. First, she was traveling through open space. Second, she was about to start a new job, one she could not screw up. Third, she had bribed a government official into giving her a new identity file. None of this information was new, but it wasn’t pleasant to wake up to. 

She wasn’t supposed to be awake yet, not for another day at least, but that was what you got for booking cheap transport. Cheap transport meant a cheap pod flying on cheap fuel, and cheap drugs to knock you out. She had flickered into consciousness several times since launch—surfacing in confusion, falling back just as she’d gotten a grasp on things. The pod was dark, and there were no navigational screens. There was no way to tell how much time had passed between each waking, or how far she’d traveled, or if she’d even been traveling at all. The thought made her anxious, and sick.

Her vision cleared enough for her to focus on the window. The shutters were down, blocking out any possible light sources. She knew there were none. She was out in the open now. No bustling planets, no travel lanes, no sparkling orbiters. Just emptiness, horrible emptiness, filled with nothing but herself and the occasional rock. 

The engine whined as it prepared for another sublayer jump. The drugs reached out, tugging her down into uneasy sleep. As she faded, she thought again of the job, the lies, the smug look on the official’s face as she’d poured credits into his account. She wondered if it had been enough. It had to be. It had to. She’d paid too much already for mistakes she’d had no part in.

Her eyes closed. The drugs took her. The pod, presumably, continued on.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 24, 1947 Peter Weller, 76. Yes, it’s his Birthday today. Robocop obviously with my favorite scene being him pulling out and smashing Cain’s brain, but let’s see what else he’s done. Well, there’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a film I adore. And then there’s Leviathan which you I’m guessing a lot of you never heard of. Is Naked Lunch genre? Well Screamers based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “Second Variety” certainly is. Even if the reviews sucked.  And Star Trek Into Darkness certainly qualifies. Hey, he showed up in Star Trek: Enterprise
  • Born June 24, 1950 Mercedes Lackey, 73. There’s a line on the Wiki page that says she writes nearly six books a year. Impressive. She’s certainly got a lot of really good series out there including the vast number that are set in the Valdemar universe. I like her Bedlam’s Bard series better. She wrote the first few in this series with Ellen Gunn and the latter in the series with Rosemary Edgehill. The SERRAted Edge series, Elves with race cars, is kinda fun too. Larry Dixon, her husband, and Mark Shepherd were co-writers of these. 
  • Born June 24, 1950 Nancy Allen, 73. Officer Anne Lewis in the Robocop franchise. (I like all three films.) her first genre role was not in Carrie as Chris Hargensen, but in a best forgotten a film year earlier (Forced Entry) as a unnamed hitchhiker. She shows up in fan favorite The Philadelphia Experiment as Allison Hayes and I see her in Poltergeist III as Patricia Wilson-Gardner (seriously — a third film in this franchise?). She’s in the direct to video Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return as Rachel Colby. (Oh that sounds awful.) And she was in an Outer Limits episode, “Valerie 23”, as Rachel Rose. 
  • Born June 24, 1961 Iain Glen, 62. Scots actor who played as Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones, he’s also  well known for his roles as Dr. Alexander Isaacs/Tyrant in the Resident Evil franchise; and he played the role of Father Octavian, leader of a sect of clerics who were on a mission against the Weeping Angels in “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone”, both Eleventh Doctor stories.
  • Born June 24, 1982 Lotte Verbeek, 41. You most likely know her as Ana Jarvis, the wife of Edwin Jarvis, who befriends Carter on Agent Carter. She got interesting genre history including Geillis Duncan on the Outlander series, Helena in The Last Witch Hunter, Aisha in the dystopian political thriller Division 19 film and a deliberately undefined role in the cross-world Counterpart series. 
  • Born June 24, 1988 Kasey Lansdale, 35. Daughter of Joe Lansdale. Publicist at Tachyon Books and a really nice person. Really she is. And yes, she’s one of us having written The Cases of Dana Roberts series, and edited two anthologies, Fresh Blood & Old Bones and Impossible Monsters. In her father’s Hap and Leonard collection Of Mice and Minestrone, she has “Good Eats: The Recipes of Hap and Leonard”. 
  • Born June 24, 1994 Nicole Muñoz, 29. You’ll perhaps best remember her for role as Christie Tarr (née McCawley) in the Defiance series. Her first role was playing a Little Girl in Fantastic Four. Likewise she was A Kid with Braces in The Last Mimzy, and yes, Another Girl, in Hardwired. The latter was written by Michael Hurst, and has apparently nothing to with the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name.


Yo_runner reveals the superpower of reading.

(10) NO ONE WILL WANT TO LEAVE. Architectural Digest takes readers to “The 9 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World”. One is in Chengdu, China.

Dujiangyan Zhongshuge Bookstore (Chengdu, China)

When Dujiangyan Zhongshuge Bookstore opened in 2020, it was hard to escape news coverage of the surreal masterpiece. The company is known for its maximalist bookstores, and this location—with its tower book spirals and sculptural shelves—was no exception. In her book, Stamp recommends a visit to a similarly extravagent sister store, the Taizhou City branch.

(11) CHANNELING THE FUTURE. MeTV analyzes “Five predictions from ‘TV of Tomorrow’ that came true, and five that didn’t”.

3. Interior Design

While maybe not to the extent in this exaggerated cartoon, many rooms today are constructed with special attention given to the furniture’s placement in relation to the TV. While most of us aren’t installing a bathtub in the living room, televisions are nonetheless often the anchor, or focal point, in a room’s design. 

(12) PRIME DIRECTIVE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] You’ve probably heard that Amazon Prime Day is coming on July 11-12th. A few Prime Day sale prices are reserved as “invitation only“. (You can request, but are not guaranteed, an invitation.)

This year, a trio of those deals have genre connections — stands for the 4th & 5th generation Echo Dot styled as Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper, or the Mandalorian. They’ll be 25% off the usual price. Check them out here.

(13) THE DINOS MAY BE DEAD BUT THEIR BONES STILL MOVE. Science News investigates “How ‘parachute science’ in paleontology plays out in 3 countries”.

In the Cretaceous Period, roughly 100 million years ago, the dinosaur Ubirajara jubatus probably turned heads with its feathers, shoulder rods and flashy displays. In 2020, the petite theropod made headlines as the first feathered dinosaur discovered in the Southern Hemisphere (SN: 12/14/20).

Today, the dinosaur is notorious for different reasons: Shortly after the news of its discovery, its backstory quickly drew some red flags.

The fossil had been unearthed in Brazil’s Araripe Basin, yet no Brazilian researchers were involved in its study. The researchers initially said they found the fossil in a Brazilian museum and brought it to a German museum in 1995 for further study, yet that museum later revealed it bought the fossil in 2009 from a private company. That company imported the fossil to Germany in 2006, yet it’s not clear if that import was legal.

U. jubatus isn’t unique in this sense. A supposed four-legged, 120-million-year-old snake (Tetrapodophis amplectus), for example, also made an unsanctioned trip from Brazil to Germany (SN: 7/23/15). And then there’s a roughly 90-million-year-old shark (Aquilolamna milarcae) from Mexico with a fantastic wingspan, which may have been purchased by a private collector through a legal loophole  (SN: 3/18/21).

These and many other cases of fossil fishiness are part of a long trend of what some call “parachute science” (or in this case “parachute paleontology”) and “scientific colonialism.”

These umbrella terms describe practices where scientists from high-income countries travel to middle- and low-income countries to study or collect fossils and fail to collaborate with or involve local experts. Or they skirt local laws around fossil collection and export. Sometimes the fossils are removed from their home countries under dubious or outright illegal circumstances. In other cases, the scientists purchase fossils from dealers, smugglers or private collectors in their own countries. The trend is linked to the legacy of colonialism, as many of the lower-income countries also happen to be former European colonies, while the higher-income ones are former colonizers….

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “We Don’t Talk About Pluto” is a parody of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s Encanto. Written in tribute to the Pluto formerly known as “planet”.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Rich Lynch, Daniel Dern, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

21 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/24/23 My Pixel Threw Out All My Old Scrolls And All That’s Left Is This Godstalk

  1. Did you know that pixels start out red and like Border strawberries turn white as they mature? Why so? Ask an elf, though they’ll likely not tell you.

  2. (1) What she says. The header on my blog is just waiting for a troll, so I can go after them (the space scene on the right, I made using the GIMP, and the one on the left as I note in the lower left of the webpage I got explicit permission from the artist, my (damn it) late friend Robin Wood. C’mon, trolls, just try it.
    (11) #10 – sure we do – there are bifold mobiles now, and we know what they were looking at in the first place….

  3. 13) An international version of Dr. Robinson’s song “Who Owns the Bones?” I’m not surprised. Specimens of questionable provenance drive archaeologists and paleontologists nuts. This sounds so much like an Indiana Jones approach to fieldwork. Not to mention Marsh and Cope and the “Bone Wars” in the 19th century.

  4. @Cat Eldridge: fen scroll not such in any town.

    (10) That looks gorgeous, but my ideal book store is still a basement full of endless rooms, each crammed floor to ceiling with used books. You never know what you might find in one of those.

  5. I’m still disappointed about Pluto because I thought the story of how it was found was so cool. Not forgotten some bread or sudden inspiration from seeing an apple but careful calculation and work. Oh well.

  6. 8) Glen has a supporting role on TV+’ Silo, which is fairly watchable.

    14) I have no use for any definition of planet that does not end with “and also Pluto, whether or not it meets the above criteria”.

  7. @bookworm1398–Pluto’s discovery story is still the same, though. And it has that big heart.

    @Patrick Morris Miller–It’s a Kuiper belt object. An exceptionally cool one, with that big heart. And the first officially designated dwarf planet, bringing more attention to other bodies, thst were previously just asteroids and lesser sorts of Kuiper Belt objects.

  8. (12) As long as working conditions are what they are at Amazon, I will not be a customer, for obvious reasons. Kinda strange, once SFF was there to put a ray of light on the bad things in our society and be a progressive genre of change, now it’s mostly about plastic gadgets and senseless films about “superheroes” that are not that super, when you think about them. Bread and circuses…

  9. @Jeanne Jackson: The last few months have been Marsh and Cope times for me – I keep running into references, from a pair of crows named for them in a David Walton novel (“Living Memory”) to Cope’s appearance in a story by Turtledove I read (“The Green Buffalo”)

  10. 11) Both the house I grew up in, built in 1973, and the house I own now, built in 1959, followed the pattern of many Swiss single family houses of the second half of the 20th century in having the living room being oriented around a fireplace, despite the house having another primary source of heating. In our current house, every other wall has either a window or a built in bookshelf, so it’s really difficult to place a TV.

    After more than a decade of ownership without lighting a single fire in the fireplace, we decided to partially dismantle the fireplace to install a large screen TV in the obvious focus location in the living room.

    In California, a 1950s era house we rented had back to back fireplaces, one facing into the living room, one into the kitchen/dining area. The rental agreement strictly forbade either being used, as the last time they were used, they caused an enormous mess, and in the meantime, the house had survived a massive earthquake.

    For all the sneering about TV oriented architecture, people are at least USING their TVs.

  11. (11) My grandparents’ house, built in 1923, has a fireplace with a chimney, at one end of the living room. My grandfather built a very small bookcase that slid into the fireplace, and that’s never come out, AFAIK. (It’s in Long Beach. Two major earthquakes. I wouldn’t bet on that chimney being safe.)

  12. Other June 24th birthdays (you may have heard of some of these people): Fred Hoyle, 6/24/15; Charles N. Brown, 6/24/37; Earl Evers, 6/24/42; Susan Ellison, 6/24.

  13. Andrew I. Porter: Be sure and come back on June 25 — ISFDB lists a hundred authors born on that date, and we won’t be listing more than about eight of them.

  14. Andrew I. Porter, my standing offer is that anyone can submit a Birthday which we will run. So instead of your ever perennial complaint that we’ve not covered someone, pick one of the and write them up. Otherwise stop complaining.

    Oh and I’ve written Charles N. Brown several times here.

  15. 12) Something seemed off about those things, to me, and I eventually put my finger on it…. Does anyone else remember the feast scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? Specifically, the monkeys?

  16. (1) To me, the use of “copyright troll” to mean both “people who don’t actually have the rights they claim but are hoping they can scare you into paying them” and “people who completely have the rights they claim, but the online community is offended at how aggressive they are about it” makes this kind of discussion less helpful than I’d prefer.

    I mean, she is 100% correct in saying that there are shakedown artists who will try to extort money out of people with spurious claims… but I feel like that’s the least-important takeaway from this issue.

    In terms of helpful advice, I feel like the priority order of things I’d want people to take away from a discussion about stuff that someone else created that they’re putting up on their own site or as part of their social media presence would be:
    1. Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free for you to use. If you were not explicitly given the right to use something, you should assume you can’t.
    2. Even if someone on the internet claims they’re giving you permission to use something, they might be wrong or lying. There are plenty of dodgy clip art sites that are happy to sell you other people’s artwork, and people often think they have rights they don’t (e.g., a shocking number of people think they automatically own the rights to any photograph someone else took of them). Innocent infringement just reduces the damages, at the judge’s discretion; it doesn’t make the case go away.
    3. If a site on the internet run by a reputable company who produces their own artwork says you can use it, you’re probably okay… but save those receipts and make sure you can prove it.

    Jumping right to #3 kind of gives people a false sense of security. I feel like that most important thing a lot of authors need to hear is “You need to think carefully about the stuff you’re using on social media” as opposed to “Don’t worry about those silly copyright threats! A lot of them are just trolls!”

    Also, as a bonus: if she actually ran this by a lawyer before putting out advice on copyright (which, she did, right?), I’d consider that lawyer incompetent for allowing a discussion about guest posts and outsourcing content without adding a section on keeping your DMCA registered agent information updated.

    I find it frightening how many people run websites while being completely unaware that, as of 2016, claiming the safe harbor protections of the DMCA (which protects a site’s owner against copyright infringement claims because of something someone else posted on their site) requires you to be paying $6 every three years, and it can’t be done retroactively after you get that lawsuit threat.

  17. @Brian, in general I agree that the term “Copyright Troll” is overused, but specifically with photography, there is a recent practice with some photographers who create stock photography with very specific creative commons licenses to bait people into using it, and then demand extortionate fees if the terms of those licenses are not followed to the letter: https://petapixel.com/2022/06/01/copyright-trolls-are-suing-people-over-creative-commons-photos/

    I find it hard to characterize that practice as something other than “Copyright Trolling”

  18. Brian: Unfortunately, you misunderstood what you read:

    I find it frightening how many people run websites while being completely unaware that, as of 2016, claiming the safe harbor protections of the DMCA (which protects a site’s owner against copyright infringement claims because of something someone else posted on their site) requires you to be paying $6 every three years, and it can’t be done retroactively after you get that lawsuit threat.

    It is the duty of Internet Service Providers to have DMCA registered agents. It is not someone’s personal duty as a website creator to do it.

    My ISP does have a registered agent — you might like to read about my experience with them: “Brought to You By The Letter Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!”

    And if anyone wants to check that their ISP has an updated designated agent, Copyright.gov has a search tool here: https://dmca.copyright.gov/osp/search.html

  19. @bookworm1398: Not forgotten some bread or sudden inspiration from seeing an apple but careful calculation and work.

    Chance played exactly the same role in the discovery of Pluto that it did in Fleming’s discovery of penicillin. The calculations (which were not done by Tombaugh) pointing to the patch of sky which he diligently searched were completely specious: Pluto is far too low-mass to have affected Uranus’s orbit, and the supposed irregularities in its orbit that a ninth planet was invoked to explain were themselves fictitious, the result of an overestimate of the mass of Neptune (a conundrum not resolved until the Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune). It was pure serendipity that Pluto happened to be in the area that Tombaugh was searching.

    Whether the apple story is true or not (it’s unclear, but in any case an apple did not fall on Newton’s head), that inspiration required years of intense effort to produce the theory of gravitation; Newton invented an entire new branch of mathematics (calculus) in order to do so. I’m not sure why you find that so much less inspiring than Tombaugh’s year-long scanning of the heavens. Or, for that matter, the months of work that Fleming had devoted to trying to understand the growth of staph bacteria, which is why he was primed to recognize the effects of bread mold that accidentally contaminated one of his staph cultures.

    One of the reasons that Tombaugh, who also discovered 15 asteroids, thought that Pluto should be classed as a planet was because his own continued efforts didn’t locate any additional trans-Neptunian objects. As I scientist, I think he would have been delighted to learn that Pluto was in fact the first of an entirely new and unsuspected class of Solar System objects to be discovered.

  20. @Steve Wright
    Oh yes. Which is why I haven’t even tried to re-watch it. (It was bad enough the first time around.)

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