July 7, 2003  ·  Lessig

Eric Hughes sent me a great piece about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which will be released this Friday. As he points out, every character in the movie (which the ads call “the most innovative film of the summer,” and “when our future is at stake, they will be our last hope”) is a character in the public domain. As WALT Disney before (and as Disney, Inc has apparently forgotten now), the creators of this movie have used the public domain to produce creative new work. For those who defend the idea of (effectively) perpetual copyright: Do you think there would be more of these works if there were a gaggle of rights holders to clear permissions with?

Here is Eric’s list of characters, with the caveat that this is a work in progress. Send corrections to me.

From Eric:

The movie is based on a wonderful comic by Alan Moore, the best comics author alive. I had read the original a few years ago, but now there’s a film out. So I got curious about where Allan Moore got all the extraordinary gentlemen from. Here’s the list.

Allan Quatermain: A character from H. Rider Haggard stories, the most famous of which is King Solomon’s Mines, 1885. There’s an interesting profile at here. King Solomon’s Mines was written on a bet that he could write something better than Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Thomas Sawyer: Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876. Huckleberry Finn came later. Character added for the movie; he’s evidently the only American.

Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde: R. L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1886.

Captain Nemo: Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, 1870.

Rodney Skinner. H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man, 1897. I have been unable to confirm whether this was the character’s name in the novel.

Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890.

Mycroft Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Greek Interpreter, 1892. I’m not sure if this is the first appearance or not.

Mina Murray Harker. Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897. Jonathan Harker’s wife.

UPDATE: Seth helpfully provides the following additional links (and some corrections above)

Comic Book Annotations & Bibliographies

Annotations by Jess Nevins

July 7, 2003  ·  Lessig

Eric Hughes sent me a great piece about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which will be released this Friday. As he points out, every character in the movie (which the ads call “the most innovative film of the summer,” and “when our future is at stake, they will be our last hope”) is a character in the public domain. As WALT Disney before (and as Disney, Inc has apparently forgotten now), the creators of this movie have used the public domain to produce creative new work. For those who defend the idea of (effectively) perpetual copyright: Do you think there would be more of these works if there were a gaggle of rights holders to clear permissions with?

Here is Eric’s list of characters, with the caveat that this is a work in progress. Send corrections to me.

From Eric:

The movie is based on a wonderful comic by Alan Moore, the best comics author alive. I had read the original a few years ago, but now there’s a film out. So I got curious about where Allan Moore got all the extraordinary gentlemen from. Here’s the list.

Allan Quatermain: A character from H. Rider Haggard stories, the most famous of which is King Solomon’s Mines, 1885. There’s an interesting profile at here. King Solomon’s Mines was written on a bet that he could write something better than Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Thomas Sawyer: Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876. Huckleberry Finn came later. Character added for the movie; he’s evidently the only American.

Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde: R. L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1886.

Captain Nemo: Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, 1870.

Rodney Skinner. H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man, 1897. I have been unable to confirm whether this was the character’s name in the novel.

Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890.

Mycroft Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Greek Interpreter, 1892. I’m not sure if this is the first appearance or not.

Mina Murray Harker. Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897. Jonathan Harker’s wife.

UPDATE: Seth helpfully provides the following additional links (and some corrections above)

Comic Book Annotations & Bibliographies

Annotations by Jess Nevins

July 7, 2003  ·  Lessig

I hate politicians who pander. I consider myself a member of the anti-pandering crowd. So it is refreshing to see a politician pander to the anti-pandering crowd by taking a strong stand on a matter of principle that will earn him negative votes and dollars from an important constituency.

This week’s anti-panderer is Edwards. As Clay Risen writes in the New Republic, Edwards has come out strongly in favor of the expensing of stock options. This will hurt Silicon Valley firms (who wanted to record such options on balance sheets, and thus make it seem as if the firms were more profitable), but Edwards is plainly right about the policy. This issue is symptomatic of why Silicon Valley has been so awful at lobbying: TechNet, for example, has made this its primary policy objective. Yet of all the policies that would spur growth and innovation, special tax deals are the last that the Valley should be pushing.

Bravo for right policymaking, Senator Edwards. Maybe the Valley will learn something about what battles they ought to be fighting.

July 3, 2003  ·  Lessig

There’s a great example of how Creative Commons works on its blog. A clip: “About a month after submitting a few acoustic guitar tracks to Opsound’s sound pool [and thus releasing the song under an Attribution-ShareAlike license], I got an email from a violinist named Cora Beth, who had added a violin track�to one of the guitar tracks…”

This is getting very cool.

July 3, 2003  ·  Lessig

The great thing about the early stages of a presidential campaign is that the candidate and campaign have time to put together real messages of substance. This speech by Edwards on economic policy is a perfect example of this contribution of substance. It is extraordinarily good.

July 3, 2003  ·  Lessig

The great thing about the early stages of a presidential campaign is that the candidate and campaign have time to put together real messages of substance. This speech by Edwards on economic policy is a perfect example of this contribution of substance. It is extraordinarily good.

July 2, 2003  ·  Lessig

I’m relieved to find myself again in disagreement with Declan. In the simple world that images just two choices — regulation or no regulation — Declan thinks Microsoft is behaving inconsistently. Microsoft has argued (rightly and wrongly, depending upon the case, imho) against various examples of regulation. But Declan is now aghast to discover that Microsoft has been now lobbying to get the FCC to impose a different form of regulation. Oh my gosh! Imagine that!

The problem here is not Microsoft’s. The problem is Declan, and the simple-isms that continue to reign in Declan-thought. No one serious opposes all regulation. No one serious supports all regulation. The only serious debate is whether a particular regulation makes sense.

The particular regulation that Microsoft has endorsed does, in my view, make lots of sense. As Microsoft described in FCC hearings, increasingly, cable companies are beginning to assert the right to decide which applications will run on their cable networks. Microsoft faced this when they tried to deploy Xbox technology. Tim Wu has other examples of this control here.

Declan quotes many who say, hey, no reason to worry. There’s no good evidence that there is any significant discrimination — yet.

But this is the part of this argument that convinces me Declan is spending too much time in Washington, and should go back to his CompSci roots. The issue here is not “regulation vs no regulation”; the issue here is the continued viability of any end-to-end architecture to the Internet.

If in fact networks are allowed to decide which applications and content can run on the network, then “the Internet” is dead. Sure, there will be a network out there — the cable network, or whatever you want to call it — but it will no longer be “the Internet” that Saltzer, Clark and Reed wrote about.

And, more importantly, and completely contrary to the non-thought that now reigns in Washington about this: the very possibility that this is the future of the Internet is having an effect on investment right now.

The point is obvious (save to those who inhale the DC air): Investments in technologies for the Internet are being made today, based upon the expectations about what the Internet will be in 3-5 years. If cable companies are allowed to decide what applications and content gets to run on that network, then the cost of innovation has been increased right now. If everyone with an Xbox technology needs permission to use the Internet, then what everyone should begin to recognize is that only Microsoft — and others with their money and power — will have permission to use the Net.

Maybe that’s ok with Declan and the Cato types. After all, they’re fighting for a principle — “no regulation.” Ah yes. “No regulation.”

What planet do these guys come from?