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Some bedtime reading/watching for y'all

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Some bedtime reading/watching for y'all

Posted April 20th, 2011 at 2:08 PM by Mr Cat Dog

As the area where I live has been subject to the hottest day of the year so far ('bout 22ºC or roughly 72ºF), I've been spending most of it - like most other days for the past couple of weeks now - inside revising for my final university exams in May/June. But don't worry, I'm not going to forward a ridiculously dry and academic journal article on company law or legal philosophy: I've got comics and TV to use as revision tools!


The comic in question is entitled "Tales from the Public Domain" and is all about copyright and, more specifically, the doctrine of 'fair use'. Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of this include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, and more. Most countries have similar doctrines (in the UK it's called 'fair dealing' for example), but they are becoming increasingly under attack by rights holders and companies demanding extortionate amounts of money for incidental uses of their copyrighted works.

The aim of the comic - written by two law professors and illustrated by an ex-political cartoonist who is now a law professor - is to showcase both the flaws and advantages of the copyright system in place in the US, but to do so in a very accessible way to promote discussion and debate on the issues within. I guess this is my way of helping that discussion along!

It's completely free to view, as it has been uploaded under a Creative Commons Licence, so go ahead and read it using the link above!


The TV in question is a documentary from Adam Curtis entitled The Power of Nightmares. On the reading list for my Cold War history course, it compares the rise of the neoconservative movement in the US and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and claiming similarities between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries - and particularly American neoconservatives - in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies.

Although I only had to watch the first three parts (out of six), the documentary structure proved so compelling that I just kept watching all of the rest of it. At times it is as scary as any horror film; at others it becomes almost farcical and comedic in the depiction of lies and ineptitude used by both sides to further their own agenda. It's not a perfect documentary by any means, but as a piece of television, it' second to almost none. Below is an embed of the first part. The rest is all legally on YouTube for your viewing.

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