Round up #263: parody legal in the UK, Kindle case for those with grip issues
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Kindle case for those with grip issues
I have a sibling with a medical condition that makes it hard to hold on to things…lots of things get dropped.
We happened to be visiting today, and my sibling told me about a Kindle case which had been recommended in a class…and which really worked very well:
You can’t see it at all well in the product pictures, but it has a broad strap on it…roughly the size of a deck of cards (well, an almost two dimensional deck of cards).
My sibling is able to slip a hand in there, and then can even turn the Kindle upside down without dropping it.
It could be useful for a lot of people who want to make sure they can hold on to a Kindle (even in the bath, for example).
It’s $24.99 for basic colors at time of writing, and is also available with a customizable design (which could be good for gifts, or if the person is in a group living situation).
One other thing: we don’t use leather, and this one is all synthetics.
My Fire Phone tells me where to go
No, it wasn’t insulting me. 😉
I’m liking my
more as I use it more.
Today was the first time I tested it out for navigation (using the native Maps app).
It worked fine. 🙂
I liked the timing of it…with my S4, I sometimes wouldn’t get the upcoming directions at the right time…too soon or too late. One test isn’t enough, of course, but the timing seemed quite good. It didn’t announce the next move way ahead (once I was on the right path), which meant it was less “chatty”. Oh, and if it had to re-route (because I went a different way), there was just a little chirrupy sound, and it seemed to re-route very quickly…within half a block, I’d say.
I’ve also been playing
which came on my phone. It’s a puzzle game: you have a Rubik’s Cube looking thing, and there will be two squares of the same color on it. There might be several pairs. All you have to do is “connect the dots”, coloring the squares in between, say, blue and blue.
That sounds easy…it very quickly became quite a challenging puzzle!
It has the dynamic perspective, the sort of 3D effect.
I had a New Millennial (born roughly between 1980 and 2000) relative try it (and play around with the phone). The response was good. 🙂
August Kindle First books
books are out for August, and this time, I had an easy choice.
Prime members can choose one of these pre-release titles…not to borrow, but to own.
The choices this time are:
- Fantasy: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
- Mystery: A Cold and Broken Hallelujah by Tyler Dilts
- Historical Fiction: Portrait of a Girl by Dörthe Binkert (translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo)
- Romantic Suspense: Crazy for Her by Sandra Owens
I went with The Paper Magician…
If you wait until they are released (in September), you should be able to read them through Kindle Unlimited, and borrow them through the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library).
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Public Domain Detective
I haven’t reported on this one yet, but the U.S. Supreme Court, according to this
and other sources, declined to hear an emergency appeal by the Conan Doyle estate, effectively ending (at least for now) a legal battle over the copyright status of Sherlock Holmes.
It’s a bit of a tricky case, but very interesting and potentially with sweeping implications (including for fan fiction, in my opinion).
It goes like this:
A lot of the Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain in the USA. That means that the public owns them: they are not under copyright protection. Anybody can publish them, distribute them, profit off them, and make media adaptations of them without first getting permission.
Ten of the stories, however, are not.
The estate argued that a new work which is “informed” (my term, not theirs) by the last ten stories would infringe upon their rights if unauthorized.
The suggestion was that a new work with Sherlock Holmes as a character might infringe their copyright…because those last ten stories were under protection.
The declination to rule clears the way for new Holmes works…although not, of course, for reproduction of the last ten, without permission.
In a related story, the British House of Lords has just okayed the use of parody there, according to this
and other sources.
I think most Americans don’t realize our relatively freedom to parody works (which I’ve done many times in this blog).
When you parody something, you can use the original characters (even the names) if what you are doing is critiquing that work. In the USA, we see it all the time…Saturday Night Live, Mad Magazine, and so on.
That hit me years ago as the explanation for a mystery: why are so many comedians (including ones on SNL) working in the USA Canadians? John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, Eugene Levy…the epiphany was that Canada doesn’t specifically have parody as a defence in copyright cases. In order to make parodies, it makes sense for them to come to the USA to practice their art. That’s not the only reason, I’m sure, but I would guess it is a contributing factor.
Another way that the UK is updating copyright laws is to make format shifting legal of items you legally own, when you do it for your own use:
I’ve been saying for some time that the USA needs to make this explicit change as well.
Currently, it isn’t clear that it is legal for you to digitize a p-book (paperbook) you own, if it is not in the public domain…even for your own use.
Oh, the odds are that no one would come after you, of course, but you can’t judge morality and legality just on whether or not you will get caught (at least, I don’t).
The hard thing in the USA is that it might be legal…this is one of those fuzzy areas that the Copyright Office often has.
I’d like to just see a straightforward statement: format shifting for your own use of legal items (just like it is now in the UK) is legal.
It seems unlikely that we’ll get that soon, though. We need a major overhaul of copyright: I’ve suggested one possibility would be to go to permanent copyright in exchange for much greater Fair Use provisions for educational and non-profit uses. That may have been my most controversial article to date, even though I didn’t advocate for the idea, just explored it:
A great example of the value of Kindle Unlimited
I was working with a physical therapist who recommended a book to me:
Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change your Life (at AmazonSmile*)
by Michael Merzenich
4.3 out of 5 stars, 74 customer reviews
I’m guessing this will be the kind of book I won’t want to re-read.
It’s price in the USA Kindle store right now is $9.95…but I could borrow it for free as part of
So, this month, I’ve already almost saved enough with KU to pay for itself…with one book. 🙂
What do you think? Should it be legal to format shift books? Will the US make any major changes to copyright in the near future? If so, what would you like to see? If you are on the trial of KU, will you pay for it when that trial is up? Which Kindle First book did you pick? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.