The Null Device
Skud's Geek Chicks: Second Thoughts essay, now on Freshmeat.
Reason Magazine on the sweeping expansion of copyright laws:
At the dawn of the republic, copyrights lasted for just 14 years and could be renewed for another 14. This period has been gradually extended, especially lately: It has been lengthened 11 times in the last 40 years, most recently by the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.
"There are literally thousands of works, particularly in the area of motion pictures, that are sitting on the shelf waiting for the freedom of the public domain... The large companies that own the rights to them have no intention of ever making most of those works available again on a widespread basis." Thanks to the Bono Act, "Copyrights on all works will be extended so that the major companies can continue to exploit the small percentage of works that are still profitable to them--the rest be damned!" Damned indeed: In 20 years, a lot of those "protected" movies will have physically disintegrated.
Imagine what would have happened if, 100 years ago, it had been possible to copyright a blues riff. Jazz, rock, and country music simply could not have evolved if their constituent parts had been subject to the same restraints now borne by techno and hip hop.
Interesting William Gibson interview, in which we learn that Neuromancer was set around 2035 and discover a few things about nodal points and Marie Curie's late husband's misfortune. (Ain't It Cool News)