Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Internet’s distinct configuration

30 January 2018
Comments Off on The Internet’s distinct configuration

The Internet’s distinct configuration may have facilitated anonymous threats, copyright infringement, and cyberattacks, but it has also kindled the flame of freedom in ways that the framers of the American constitution would appreciate – the Federalist papers were famously authored pseudonymously.

Jonathan Zittrain

Copyright board ruffles AA’s feathers by rejecting logo copyright again

30 January 2018

From USA Today:

Even after a go-around, American Airlines couldn’t clear the relatively low threshold to copyright its logo adopted in 2013, the U.S. Copyright Office’s review board has ruled.

“A mere simplistic arrangement of non-protectable elements does not demonstrate the level of creativity necessary to warrant protection,” Catherine Zaller Rowland, senior adviser to the register of copyrights, said in a five-page explanation called “the final decision in this matter.”

The airline already has the image trademarked, to prevent another U.S. carrier or tourism entity from using the image in its marketing. But a copyright would have offered longer and broader protection internationally, if it were approved.

. . . .

The logo looks like a white eagle’s head poking through a diagonal swoosh with blue on top and red on the bottom. The carrier adopted the image after combining with U.S. Airways to become the world’s largest airline.

American filed an application June 3, 2016, to register the logo. But a registration specialist refused the registration in a letter Oct. 4, 2016, by finding it “lacks the authorship necessary to support a copyright claim.”

American disputed that finding and requested a reconsideration in a letter Dec. 20, 2016. The airline argued that the logo “far exceeds the extremely low level of creativity required to sustain a copyright claim,” according to the letter from Andrew Avsec, an intellectual-property lawyer with Brinks Gilson & Lione.

. . . .

But after re-evaluating the request, the office again rejected it by concluding it “does not contain a sufficient amount of original and creative artistic or graphic authorship to support a copyright registration,” according to an April 12, 2017, letter from Stephanie Mason, an attorney-advisor.

. . . .

[T]he copyright board’s decision Jan. 8 repeated a longstanding requirement set forth in the Copyright Act that prohibit registration for “familiar symbols or designs; (and) mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering or coloring.”

“Further, use of the colors of the United States flag (red, white, and blue) are exceedingly common and do not lend themselves to arguments that the work’s design choices were especially creative,” Rowland wrote. “In any event, even if a bird motif were unusual in this context, the work falls below the threshold for creativity required by the Copyright Act.”

Link to the rest at USA Today

And, so you can judge for yourself, here’s a copy of American Airlines’ new logo (Nominative fair use because the trademark is shown in both the OP and here in connection with a discussion of the trademark design. Plus PG does not operate an airline plus he’s not that taken with AA’s logo design and suggests an alternative below which contrasts with AA’s trademark.):

As an alternative trademark, here’s what comes to PG’s mind when he thinks about American Airlines:

Yay, AA!!!!!!!! Photos from Unsplash

Literary Fiction Titles That Should Be Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books

30 January 2018

From Electric Lit:

Pretty much everyone who reads sometimes uses books as a way to escape. A book is a door to another world, a way to get away from reality for a few minutes or hours and focus on characters and circumstances wholly and blessedly unrelated to one’s own life. Sometimes, the more unrelated to one’s own life, the better.

I love literary fiction; it’s the genre I read most frequently. But literary fiction also tends to be about things that are distinctly related to my life—heartbreak, money, family troubles. So when I have a particularly bad day, I tend to turn more and more to science fiction and fantasy. Reading a book about a wizard or a spaceship is my version of taking a stress nap. While literature about serious, familiar, recognizable problems is both necessary and important, sometimes life is hard and I want a space opera where the gods are real and teenagers can conjure up demons.

. . . .

[S]ometimes, when I start to wish literature offered more of an escape from reality, I find myself scanning my shelves full of novels about family and death and imagining that they’re about wizards and dragons instead.

. . . .

Infinite Jest – A small town in Maine is bewitched so that all the inhabitants live forever as long as they never stop laughing.

Wolf Hall – The exact same book, but with wolves.

The Corrections / Freedom / Purity – A Hunger Games-style trilogy about a spunky kid escaping a repressive dystopia in which “blood purity” is valued above all things and children are “corrected” in order to gain higher status and please the authorities. Our hero, Jonathan, sees his world’s cruelty for what it is and must infiltrate its highest echelons of power and take them down from within.

. . . .

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo – A heartwarming series of books about the adventures of a girl and her dragon, Tattoo.

Little Women – An accident with a shrink ray.

Link to the rest at Electric Lit

Mexican Publisher Grano de Sal Looking for World Spanish Rights

30 January 2018

From Publishing Perspectives:

Launched late last year, Grano de Sal—as in a grain of salt—is a Mexico City-based publishing company focused on contemporary debate in politics, natural sciences, philosophy, society, and the arts for Spanish-language readers.

While concentrating initially in Latin America’s markets, “The next goal is Spain, because we have the worldwide Spanish-language rights to all the books,” says Tomás Granados Salinas, the company’s founder and editor-in-chief. “That was a priority strategy.”

. . . .

Publishing Perspectives: Is it Grano de Sal’s intention for all the books it publishes to be works in translation?

Tomás Granados Salinas: It’s our intention, yes, for them to be the first Spanish-language editions, which is the case of our books by Jan Werner-Müller and Barbara E. Mundy.

PP: Has procuring the rights for the books been an obstacle?

TGS: Of the 10 books we have taken on, eight have a co-publisher, and that’s our business model—to have the books bought or financed before bringing them to market. And in the face of the critical situation we’re facing with a lack of bookstores, we’re unable to live off what’s sold from the shelves. Therefore our model is prior sales.

. . . .

PP: Would you also publish a first edition Spanish-language book with a view to selling the rights? 

TGS: Yes, but the advantage of working in translation is that the book has already been worked on, so it’s a little less risky, even though it can be costly initially.

We’re also interested in the books being visually pleasing, with attractive colors and a granular texture. And we aim to have a touch of humor in their presentation, in contrast with academic books.

All of which comes right back to our goal of provoking a reaction among readers. We’re trying to be controversial.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives


29 January 2018

Not exactly about books, but definitely about language.

From Atlas Obscura:

Before children learn how to speak properly, they go through a period of imitating the sounds they hear, with occasionally hilarious results, at least for their parents. Baby talk evolves into proto-words, so that “octopus” might come out as “appah-duece,” or “strawberry” as “store-belly.” But it’s not just children who ape the sounds of spoken language. There’s a long tradition of songs that “sound” like another language without actually meaning anything. In Italy, for example, beginning in the 1950s, American songs, films, and jingles inspired a diverse range of “American sounding” cultural products.

The most famous is probably “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” a 1972 song composed by legendary Italian entertainer Adriano Celentano and performed by him and his wife, Claudia Mori. The song’s lyrics sound phonetically like American English—or at least what many Italians hear when an American speaks—but are clearly total, utter, delightful nonsense. You really have to hear it to appreciate it.


. . . .

[T]he 72-year-old Celentano was interviewed for an episode of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” “Ever since I started singing, I was very influenced by American music and everything Americans did,” Celentano said.

He wasn’t alone. After World War II, American culture started to exert its influence in many parts of Europe. The phenomenon was especially strong in Italy, where the arrival of American troops in Rome in June 1944 helped mark the country’s liberation from fascism.

. . . .

“Americanization” was captured in films such as 1954’s An American in Rome, in which Italian actor Alberto Sordi plays a young Roman who is obsessed with the United States. He seeks to imitate gli Americani in his daily life, and one of the most well-known scenes sees him trading red wine for milk.

. . . .

By the time Celentano’s song came out, the sound of American English had been “contaminating” Italian culture for decades. Linguist Giuseppe Antonelli analyzed Italian pop songs produced between 1958 and 2007, and revealed the ways in which Italian singers have incorporated American sounds into their music.

One way was to use intermittent English words, with preference for trendy terms. The most notable example of this is “Tu vuo’ fa l’americano” (“You Want to Be American”), a 1956 song by Renato Carosone about a young Neapolitan who is trying to impress a girl.

. . . .

Similarly, in the 1960s there was a trend of bands in England singing in Italian—with strong English accents. Both phenomena resulted in a similar hybrid sound, one that Italians responded to. According to Francesco Ciabattoni, who teaches Italian culture and literature at Georgetown University, this Anglo-Italian pop genre grew from Italy’s collective interest in America, as well as the British Invasion of the 1960s. “I am not sure how much thinking they put in it, but producers must have realized that imitating English and American sounds would sell more,” he says. Linguistics may have played a role, too. “The phonetic structure of English makes it more suited to rock or pop songs compared with Italian,” he adds.

. . . .

But the roots of Celentano’s song go much further back than the end of World War II. “What Celentano is doing, inventing a nonsense language, was already done by Dante and by medieval comedians before him,” says Simone Marchesi, who teaches French and Italian medieval literature at Princeton University. And that practice, Marchesi explains, goes back even further, to the Old Testament.

Genesis 11:1–9 says that after the flood, the people of Earth, who all spoke the same language, founded the new city of Babel, and planned to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven. In reaction to this act of arrogance, God decided to confuse humans by creating different languages so that they could no longer understand each other.

. . . .

And so, in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the author encounters a giant named Nimrod next to the ninth circle of hell. In non-canonical writings, Nimrod is associated with building the Tower of Babel. He approaches Dante and Virgil, and says “Raphèl maí amècche zabí almi,” a series of words that has no meaning but, according to some scholars, can sound a little like Old Hebrew.

Virgil says, “every language is to him the same/as his to others—no one knows his tongue.” Nimrod speaks a failed language, and failed languages are the result of divine punishment.

Link to the rest at Atlas Obscura

A Burp at TPV

29 January 2018
Comments Off on A Burp at TPV

The TPV server was down for a bit, but all is well once again.

PG apologizes for any inconvenience or concern this may have caused.


29 January 2018
Comments Off on Italians

Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.

Pope John XXIII

Carrefour is closing their ebook store and abandons e-readers

29 January 2018

From GoodEreader:

Carrefour is one of the largest supermarket chains in France and they have been involved in the e-reader space since 2013. The company has announced that it is closing their digital bookstore and suspending their relationship with Bookeen, who provided devices to them under the Nolim brand. This is going to result in over 2,400 people losing their jobs.

. . . .

The French ebook market will generate $442 million dollars in 2018 and 9.2% of the population reads digitally. The vast majority of users purchase their e-readers and ebooks via two companies; Amazon and Kobo. Kobo has a strategic relationship with numerous booksellers such as FNAC and Auchan. Amazon continues to be the most popular device.

Link to the rest at GoodEreader

« Previous PageNext Page »