Sydney Pollack dies of cancer at age 73…
Source: Yahoo

The last film I saw Sydney Pollack in was “Michael Clayton,” and I’ve got to say that I thought he was tops. All around, I thought he was tops. He will be missed; rest in peace, Sydney.

Christopher Tolkien, son of JRR, trying to stop “The Hobbit” from filming!

When I first read the headline I thought to myself, “well, a bit late. If this has anything to do with protecting your father’s legacy, you blew it when the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films made it to theaters.” Then I read the story.

Seems New Line Cinema owes the Tolkien family (according to Christopher, keep in mind) about £80 million (that’s about $158 million dollars) and he’s trying to stop production until he and the family get paid up.

Now, I don’t know why an 83-year old man is flipping out about that much money (let’s be honest, he’s probably not going to be around long enough to spend it) to the point where he wants to stop the only folks capable of doing his father’s work justice (the multiple endings of “Return of the King” notwithstanding). Do I think the family should get what is owed to them? Yes. Do I think it is likely that they are owed money? Consider the battle Peter Jackson waged over accounting, yes. Do I think they probably got more than enough in the meantime to sustain the family, even if it wasn’t the full $158 million (which is more than “Indy IV” made opening weekend *wink*)? Most likely…

Google spins Viacom suit against YouTube as a suit against not just the popular site, but the flow of information on the internet itself…

I say “good on you, Google!” Studios have been after YouTube since before Google bought the video-sharing site, and what better defense against an attack than the “this is bigger than all of us; this could destroy the way everything we’ve come to know and love” approach?

“In papers submitted to a judge late Friday, Google said YouTube “goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works.” It said that by seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom “threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression.”

Google said YouTube was faithful to the requirements of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, saying the federal law was intended to protect companies such as YouTube as long as they responded properly to content owners’ claims of infringement.”

This fight is going to go on for a while, but Google does have a point. The law in the United States is primarily based upon precedents, and in this case, a precedent exists called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Should Viacom get their way, even if YouTube has been adhering to the DMCA, then we’re looking at a very unruly can of worms let loose.

If the DMCA were to be kaput, then we’d see lawsuits everywhere because, quite frankly, the DMCA is protective not only of copyright, but copyright infringers as well, as it gives the latter the opportunity to make good on the chance that they unknowingly infringed. For the most part, too, I think copyright infringement on the internet is accidental or based on ignorance of copyright statutes, so the DMCA does protect an already over-loaded law system in the United States from even more short-sighted lawsuits.

Now, if the DMCA falls, then we’ve got lawsuits everywhere, as I mentioned, and what’ll happen is people will close up shop, or become overly cautious to the extent that free sharing of information, opinions, etc would slow up across the intarwebs (well, at least where lawsuits are actionable). In other words, Google’s logic shows some sense (albeit in a real “if this and this and this may occur, then this, this and this could occur” way).

I don’t think we’d see any of that happen, however. Worst-case, the DMCA would be amended and we’d have some new laws to adhere to. Still, nice tactic, Google…

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  1. Felix Vasquez Jr. says:

    I’m a big fan of Sydney Pollack. He’ll be missed.

  2. Nathan says:

    Sydney Pollack will indeed be missed.

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