A pair of golden scales, in balanceI must confess that, while I was still keen on the progress of the lawsuit between Amaretto Ranch Breedables and Ozimals (et al), very limited access to court documents and the relatively slow progress of the case had sent my attention largely elsewhere.

On the fifth of November, however, this little beauty turns up. Judge Charles R. Breyer is granting (in part) and rejecting (in part) a motion for summary judgement. And wow, this document itself is probably the best thing you’ll read about this case.

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SOPA isn’t dead. Far from it.

The people behind that bill and a host of other bills over the years are able to bring that bill, or its equivalent, back as many times as they please, until they have a legislature and president willing to pass it and sign it.

SOPA primarily is supported by money, but it is primarily only opposed by speech.

Money buys votes, essentially. It buys the votes of the legislature, because money buys your vote.

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Copyright is an interesting beastie, and a very necessary one. Without Copyright law, most open source licences and Creative Commons licenses would be worthless. Copyright is enshrined in the United States constitution, offering a limited-time protection on works to everybody. That includes folks like you and me who don’t have works worth hundred of millions of dollars, and who might not have the ability to mount a lawsuit.

Copyright is for everybody, even if your means are scant and your works only commercially worth a few cents. That’s why the United States Copyright office wants to hear from you, as a part of a congressional enquiry into remedies for Copyright small claims.

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According to Examiner.com, the USMC (the United States Marine Corps) “has filed a DMCA (Digital Millenium[sic] Copyright Act) notice against several Second Life residents who were recreating artifacts and uniforms bearing the USMC logo.”

Now, the USMC absolutely does have intellectual property rights to a number of distinctive marks and logos. The problem here, is that the USMC is claiming trademark infringement, and trademarks are not covered under the DMCA 512(c) process. That process is for copyrights only, and to use it for trademarks is improper and ‘abusive’ (that is, that it is a misuse – called an ‘abuse’ – of copyright law).

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