Category: Politics

You who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears

On the Zimmerman verdict, I give these words by another man named Zimmerman.

Manchester, 1965; uploaded by godriczimmerman.

(A footnote: via Brian Cronin, Dylan took some creative liberties in the song. But the point remains: Zanzinger got off light.

But not as light as George Zimmerman.)

Maybe I'll have more on the Zimmerman story later. Or maybe I won't, because it's just too goddamn depressing.

Monday Conference Part 3

Zappa talks about being misquoted and quoted out of context. Speaking of protest movements, he notes that US culture is fad-oriented; later in the interview, he speaks of how it is artificially fragmented into subcultures.

I certainly think both those problems have come into play in the protest movements of the past few years, Tea Party and Occupy alike.

"The Writing is On the Wall" is a Biblical Reference

Here's what Orson Scott Card said to EW the other day about his well-known political advocacy against gay rights:

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Ken White at Popehat assumes that paragraph two means Card doesn't understand what the Windsor ruling entails, but that's not how I read it. I read this as Card simply realizing that Windsor is the latest in a long list of signs that make it clear that his side will lose, gay marriage will come to be not only legal in all 50 states but commonplace, and it's going to happen sooner, not later.

On some level, that's kinda heartwarming to see, a guy acknowledging he's on the losing side of history and asking that we don't judge him too harshly.

I mean, you know, in kind of a bullshit crybaby "Who's the real bigot here" way. ("Who's the real bigot here, the man who says all gay people are pedophiles and expends a significant amount of his personal wealth on trying to prevent them from receiving equal treatment under the law, or the people who call him names and boycott his work?" It's you, Orson. It's still you.)

But you know what? I'll take it. Card is swallowing his pride here and acknowledging that he's lost. No sense kicking him when he's down; it may not be an apology but it's still the closest he's ever come to one.

Tell you what, Mr. Card -- if you put your money where your mouth is and step down from the NOM board, and pledge that you'll stop donating to anti-gay causes, I'll go see Ender's Game.

The book was pretty great.

Who Knows? Take a Chance!

Pretty sure I haven't posted this yet.

Zappa discussing the problem with record labels and how it's harder to sell something unusual to a young exec who thinks he gets it and an old guy who knows he doesn't. Uploaded by schavira. And yet more on the PMRC, sex, and masturbation (which apparently had to be bleeped on whatever TV program this is).

...I tried to find something a little more related to creators' rights to tie in with my last post, but I am turning into an old man and was hoping to get to bed by 10 o'clock. Migraine's gone and vertigo's under control, but I'm still trying to get over a sore throat.

Go, Ken, Go! -- Part 5: Settlement!

For my previous coverage, check out the Ken Penders tag. In particular, the first post has a relevant disclaimer that (1) I tend to side with creators over publishers generally and (2) I corresponded with Ken Penders in the 1990's and he was a nice guy.

Anyhow, looks like I'm a bit behind on this, but last week brought the biggest news yet: per TSSZ News, Archie and Penders have settled and the suit has been dismissed.

What I predicted in Parts 3 and 4 still holds: we'll learn some of the terms of the settlement in the coming months (we already know Ken is moving forward with The Lara-Su Chronicles so I think we can safely say he has the rights to publish original comics with Lara-Su in them); some will stay confidential. Penders v Sega and EA is still ongoing, though this puts him in a better position as it establishes that he does have standing to sue for infringement, even if it still has to be established that Dark Brotherhood infringes his copyrights.

I think it's also safe to say that Ken would be happy for Archie to continue using his characters and reprinting his stories -- so long as they pay him his share for that use. And that if, say, the echidnas stay lost in that warp ring, that's Archie's decision not to pay Penders, not Penders's decision not to let Archie pay him.

But I think there's something much bigger coming.

Penders wasn't the only guy freelancing for Archie's Mamaroneck office in the mid-1990's. And he wasn't the only guy doing it without signing a contract first.

There are potentially dozens of other Sonic alums who have been watching this case and waiting to see if they've got a shot at winning their rights back, too. Scott Shaw has already filed for copyrights on his Sonic work. He won't be the last.

Archie v Penders is over. But this is only the beginning.


Update 2015-09-24: And Penders v Sega is over too; it was dismissed in 2014. I discuss it more in Part 6.

As for Scott Shaw and other creators seeking to reclaim their copyrights in the same way that Penders did, I haven't heard any news on that front, though I suspect we won't; given how the Penders case turned out, Archie is unlikely to file any more lawsuits, and I suspect that if other creators raise similar challenges Archie will settle with them quietly without getting the courts involved. It is possible that this has already happened, though it's likely that we'll never know.

Gumbel Interview

The Today Show, 1990. Discussion of Zappa's influence in Czechoslovakia before, during, and after the fall of communism, his contribution to Jacques Cousteau's Outrage at Valdez, and his interest in politics combined with his distaste for major and third parties alike.

Image Goes DRM-Free

Yesterday Image Comics announced that it's going to start selling digital comics from its own site, independent of third-party distributors, in standard formats and DRM-free.

There are a lot of reasons for Image to pursue a DRM-free option. Chief is that DRM doesn't fucking work and anyone who wants to get the latest issue of The Walking Dead illegally can get it whether Comixology's version has DRM or not. Second is that this rampant piracy of The Walking Dead has somehow failed to prevent it from being a sprawling multimedia bestseller.

But I think what really precipitated this decision isn't The Walking Dead at all -- it's Saga.

More specifically, Saga #12 and its asinine, albeit temporary, ban from the iOS version of Comixology.

I wrote about the story back in April. Gist is this: Saga #12 was an arguably-slightly-dirtier comic in an inarguably-already-pretty-dirty series; Comixology decided not to sell it in the iOS version of their app out of a reasonable but, it turns out, false presumption that it would run afoul of Apple's vague, capricious, and arbitrary content guidelines.

In a nutshell, it was an object lesson in the one thing DRM actually is good for: locking publishers into a single distributor who may not always have their best interests at heart.

You know, for those who needed an object lesson because they were too busy scratching their balls to notice how this exact thing caused a problem for the music industry and then later for the book industry.

But hey, it may have taken Image awhile, but this still puts them way the fuck ahead of all the other major publishers, and they absolutely deserve praise and encouragement for doing the right thing. And they deserve your business for it.

Only problem is, it's still early days and the Digital Comics section is looking a little sparse. I'll plan on coming back with links when my favorite Image books are available -- those'd be the aforementioned Walking Dead and Saga, plus Chew and Prophet, off the top of my head.

This is good news, and I hope and expect it will be just the first step in the comics industry realizing what the music industry already has and the book industry is starting to: that standards-compliant, DRM-free formats aren't just better for consumers, they're better for publishers, too.