Archive for the Intellectual Property Category

The Wily Policeman

Posted in Commentary, Intellectual Property, Uncategorized on June 21, 2013 by Bradley Hall

Japanish Marchen ebook cover

This isn’t a review, I wouldn’t be that self serving, but, I did want to make it known on this site why I seem to have abandoned it as of late.

I’ve not abandoned it, it’s just been that I have been focusing my time on a wide array of things, of which this site has become one of many things I spend time doing.

Last year, I tried to translate an official German-language Final Fantasy XI novel in hopes being able to finagle a deal to translate the books officially for Square-Enix. They passed on the deal, even though it would have most likely done nothing but print them money.

I realized I enjoyed the job of translating, so I wanted to do more, more that I could then sell, legally.

I happened across gutenberg.net and found it had a large collection of German language books. I looked through their collections and found a few that were not only in public domain, but had also never been translated into English.

The one I first decided to translate was called “Japanische Marchen” – Japanese Fairy Tales. While the tales themselves were Japanese in origin, they were written down in this book for a German audience.

There are 24 stories in the collection. I believe two can be read via the sample on Amazon.com, and part of one can be read on the Barnes & Noble site (so if you want to read more of a sample than this one story, head to Amazon).

The book can be found for the Kindle at, well, the link is huge, but if you go to amazon.com and type in B00DGYKEOE in the search field, it will come up. There will soon be a print version of the book available there as well.

For Nook, you can find it at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/japanische-m-auml-rchen-bradley-hall/1115772053?ean=2940016450643

Unfortunately, B&N nor Amazon allows authors to pick what becomes the sample of a book, so here you go, my favorite short story from this collection. I hope you like it.

The Wily Policeman

The former Emperor of Korea had set up a secret police, which had to maintain peace and order in the city that should have prevented robberies and theft. But as so often happens the crime did not end and the Emperor was quite annoyed. He sent for the chief of police and began to rebuke him. The chief of police, however, defended his policemen and said they were all efficient and skillful.

The Emperor was clever and knew all the tricks that thieves can use, so he would put his police force to the test. He asked the chief to have them all arrive in the palace the next morning.

In the morning, the police were all gathered in the hall of the palace, the Emperor appeared holding a silk bag in his hand. This bag was filled with gold and the Emperor had someone hang it from the ceiling in the middle of the hall, so high that no one could reach it with his hand.

Then the Emperor said:

“Here, the bag hangs with gold. It will hang for three days. A guard will always be there. If one of you manages to remove this bag in three days, without anyone noticing, and no one hearing you remove the bag and its contents, you all shall henceforth remain in my service. But if any of you fail the task, I’ll chase you all to hell!”

There was a general shaking of heads and saddened, they went home, because it seemed impossible to remove the bag, because the emperor had placed a guard of four men who had to guard the bag day and night. The guards were threatened with beheading if they were negligent.

Sun came on the third day, the bag was hanging from the ceiling, still untouched and the police expected their release. To the astonishment of all, one of the youngest policemen said he wanted to try it, but said he needed to have at least two more days.

He was taken to the Emperor who laughed at the young man and said, “Even if I give you ten weeks, you will not succeed!”

“That may be true,” he replied. “And I think even that only a miracle can help us, but perhaps such a miracle will occur in the two days.” The Emperor liked the bold response. “Well, so be it! These two days are granted to you,” he decided.

The young policeman looked at the bag in the hall very well, and then he went home and made ​​himself a very similar bag, which he filled with small stones.

On the second day he took this bag, put it in the sleeve of his jacket, and went to the Emperor. The Emperor received him and asked if the miracle had already happened.

The policeman asked the Emperor to be allowed to look at the bag again. The Emperor approved and the policeman was taken to where the bag was still hanging, guarded by four soldiers.

After he had looked at the bag for a while from all sides, he asked whether it would be permissible to take the bag in his hand. The Emperor approved this as well. Here, the policeman took a stool and stood upon it and took the bag from the hook, looked at the Emperor, and placed the bag in his sleeve, saying:

“This is how to remove the bag!”

The emperor replied, laughing: “Yes, but we are all looking at you, so you wouldn’t be able to get away with it. So hang it back on the ceiling and acknowledge that not even you can do it.”

The policeman showed an apparently sad face, pulled the bag out again with a sigh and hung it up. He had not taken out the bag of gold, but the bag he made himself and filled with stones. That bag he hung on the ceiling, while he kept the real bag in his sleeve. He then told left the Emperor, telling him he hoped to be able to perform the feat the next morning.

The emperor therefore doubled the guard for the night, and the hall had to be lit so brightly that the bag could always be seen.

The next day came and the Emperor ordered all of the policemen gather around in the hall, as the emperor intended to dismiss them from their service. The Emperor could be quite rude and turned to the young policeman, asking him scornfully if the miracle had happened.

“I think so,” he replied.

“He’s totally crazy or outrageously naughty!” cried the Emperor. “Does he believe, then, I can not see? The bag still hangs!”

“I see,” replied the young policeman.” That there hangs a bag, whether or not it is the real bag, I doubt it!”

“This is really too much,” cried the Emperor. “Bring down the bag and bring it here,” he ordered the guard.

The bag was removed and brought to the Emperor, who opened it, but made a very vulnerable face as he saw just bricks and rocks in the bag and then looked closer and realized it was not the same bag that was originally hung from the ceiling.

“How did you do it?” he asked the cunning policeman. The young policeman man told how he had made ​​an identical bag and then switched the bags in the presence of the emperor.

“We have a devilishly clever fellow,” said the Emperor. “And since you seem to me to be the wisest of all, you shall be the Chief and I will not dismiss your colleagues. See to it that your police force do their duty and emulate you!” And so it happened!

Translator’s Note (Karl Alberti): This story is of Korean origin. It was recorded in this collection since Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910 and is now known as “Chosen”. The above story is reminiscent of the “cunning thief” of “1001 Nights.

Copyright of the Future…

Posted in Intellectual Property on March 8, 2012 by Bradley Hall

In the future, maybe even less than fifty years from now, copyright will no longer exist. That’s not to say everyone will be allowed to copy things willy-nilly, they won’t. No one will be allowed to copy anything. Period.

With the Earth’s population approaching 10 billion people in the year 2060, drastic measures will be undertaken to curb this rampant population growth.

The death penalty factors in a big way.

If anyone is caught copying someone else’s work, either on purpose or on accident, they will be executed. It doesn’t matter how old the person is or the reason for the infraction.

This will seriously hamper any creative people from wanting to create a new book, film, painting, song, or anything else. That means no more parodies, pastiches, or satire either. No new anything will be created.

The only thing that is allowed to be made is covers of old songs, provided they do not veer away from the original song and pay any royalties to the original writers of the song. But, even then, you’re not safe. If it’s revealed that a series of notes from one song are deemed to be too close to those of another song, then the execution hammer is wielded against those who sought to hide the infraction.

The world will become a creative wasteland.

This work is published under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

This work takes part in the Future of Copyright Contest http://indiegogo.com/Future-of-Copyright

Anatomy of a Book Release

Posted in Book Reviews, Government, Intellectual Property, Piracy on January 26, 2012 by Bradley Hall

On Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, the United States Pirate Party released their first book, No Safe Harbor. As I was the editor of the book, this is not a review, I cannot objectively critique this book, nor do I wish to try.

We released the book as an ebook in several formats, including .mobi, .epub, .PDF, and others. There was also a printed book available for those who wanted them. The book costs $9.99.

The original price of the book was set at $13.99, the price gave the USPP $2 per book. Clearly we didn’t want to overprice the book, but we did still want some kind of residual from it.

The change came about a few days before release when Createspace, the company doing the Print-on-Demand services for the book, altered their royalty and pay structure. Amazingly it was in our favor. I decided to lower the price to $9.99. At this price, no one could say we were price gouging, and it still gave us the $2 royalty rate we wanted.

Whether anyone but I wanted that, is beyond me. While Andrew Norton and a few others worked on the book, I was the “main” editor. I contacted the authors, set terms, wrote contracts, and figured out what order to put the essays in.

While it was tedious at times, I’d still do it again, and plan to, actually.

The book, both ebook and printed book, were released under a Creative Commons license, BY-NC-SA.

Sometime on Jan 24th, the website went down. Andrew, myself, another guy named Andrew, Chris, and some others rallied to fix what was wrong. We created a page on Blogger and redirected our link, http://www.nosafeharbor.com, to it.

While we waited for traffic to pick back up, we scoured the Net and saw what happened. The site was Slashdotted. A deluge occurred.

The files for the book were hosted on the PPI site, no problem there. All we needed was a page for people to get to, hence, the Blogger page.

While watching the site stats, we saw it take off. First a hundred, then two, then, not even two hours after the site was back up, we had over 2000 hits to the page.

At the end of the day, it would go up to 13,000 hits.

At the same time, we had a Torrent set up. I have personally seeded nearly 3GB of a 50MB file (of course if someone is using uTorrent or a cooler system, they could download only the files they wanted and not worry about the 40MB RTF file.

We haven’t sold many copies of the physical book, we didn’t expect to. It was actually my idea to have a physical book, as I am struck by what Whitman called, “The mania of owning things.”

Somehow people seem to care more if your book/film/album is in a physical format, that it doesn’t “matter” if it’s not in something made of matter.

Within the day of the book’s release, I found somewhere I now forget where, someone translating the book into Spanish. I did however remember the link to the people translating it into Russian.

http://notabenoid.com/book/25510

I couldn’t believe it, Russians want to translate this book into Russian!? More power to them.

I love this, I really do. I keep Googling and seeing what I come up with.

Common As Air

Posted in Book Reviews, Intellectual Property on November 15, 2010 by Bradley Hall

I recently read Adrian Johns’ book Piracy and reviewed it a few posts ago. I was a bit leery about starting on this book so soon afterward for fear that I’d get bored of reading a book that was bound to contain a lot of the same information in it.

My fear was proved to be unfounded as Lewis Hyde handles his material deftly and with a bit of humor. It’s a very educational book. I found myself making note of certain pages to recite to friends who might be interested.

On one page, Mr. Hyde makes mention of a man who set foot into a soundproof chamber only to come out annoyed that it didn’t work. He could still hear two sounds, a high one and a low one. He was told that everyone heard those sounds. One was his blood pumping, the other was his nervous system.

I had no idea the nervous system made a noise. I’ve never heard it.

This was to illustrate the fact that there is no such thing as “silence” – there’s only noise we don’t mind and noise we don’t. Even a forest in the middle of nowhere has noise, even if no trees fall.

He goes on to speak at length about Ben Franklin (a chapter everyone should read) and how he invented a pile of things, yet patented nothing. Only one item he invented went to his grave as to how he made it. Several colonial governments had Franklin print their currencies. He devised a way to prevent counterfeiting.

The book goes on and explains how the commons, or rather, the public domain is one of those precious resources that has been being drained for years. Nothing since the 1970s has been able to be made to be public domain at birth. Sure someone could sign their rights away to an invention, but, with a piece of paperwork, they could have their rights back in an instant.

Long story short, this is an excellent must-read title.

Book’s site.

Piracy

Posted in Book Reviews, Intellectual Property, Piracy on October 17, 2010 by Bradley Hall

If you’ve ever wondered about the origins and history of piracy this book delivers in spades. Now, that’s piracy as it applies to the unlicensed selling of items, not on the high seas.

I had no idea about the struggles Issac Newton and his fellow scientists faced in their day as people would take their works and publish them without permission or that there was such a thing as pirate buses in London.

Seriously, buses that operated outside of the chain of command of the normal bus system.

This book doesn’t end there. It talks about the piracy problems of today from Napster and Kazaa to beyond. It’s a great source of piracy history.

Publisher website.

WIPO Magazine (August 2010)

Posted in Book Reviews, Intellectual Property on September 25, 2010 by Bradley Hall

Coincidentally, today I also received the latest WIPO Magazine, dated August 2010 (the October issue is already on the website, however).

This issue contains information about a Japanese initiative to educate people about Intellectual Property.

There is also a sweet article about a guy who created a machine that creates water from the wind. It’s totally cool. It acts like a windmill that spins with the breeze and collects the humidity in the air and converts it to drinkable water. It also does not required electricity, that’s what the windmill part produces.

WIPO Magazine website page.

WIPO Japan contest

Posted in Intellectual Property on September 25, 2010 by Bradley Hall

Anime News Network recently posted information that the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Japanese office has announced a contest for people to create a manga (comic) to educate readers about pirated and bootlegged items.

The contest is in association with Kadokawa Shoten. The winner will win the equivalent of $14,000 and have their comic serialized in Japanese, English, and several other languages for six months.

ANN Article.
WIPO Page.