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December 10, 2019

The test of whether you own something is whether you can sell it

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The headline of this post is a quote I read decades ago, source long since forgotten.

I still consider it the best definition ever of ownership.

If indeed that is the case, then the peeps who bought this painting don't own it.

What do you think?

Perry Mason?

Lincoln lawyer?

Flautist?

Bueller?

Anyone?

From the December 2, 2019 edition of the Guardian:

Danish court rules artist's work cannot be cut up to make watches

The Danish artist Tal R has won an injunction against a pair of Faroese art provocateurs who wanted to cut up one of his paintings and use the canvas to make decorative faces for their line of designer wristwatches.

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Dann Thorleifsson and Arne Leivsgard, who five years ago founded the watch company Kankse, had purchased Paris Chic (above), one of Tal R's brightly coloured Sexshops series, for £70,000 at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London in August.

Copenhagen's maritime and commercial court ruled in favour of Tal R, forbidding the duo from going ahead with their project and ordering them to pay 31,550 Danish krone (£3,600) in legal costs, arguing that as the scheme was an alternation rather than a destruction of the work, it contravened copyright law.

The project, the court added, misused Tal R’s artistic standing for commercial gain, and threatened to damage his reputation.

The artist's lawyer, Jørgen Permin, said after the verdict that he was "very pleased with the very clear decision."

"We hope it will mark the end of this case and that it will mean that Tal R and his fellow artists may avoid similar disputes in the future," he added.

Thorleifsson and his partner were still discussing with their lawyer whether to reach a settlement, appeal the injunction, or to push ahead with a full-court case next month.

"It's not the best verdict for us," Thorleifsson conceded. "There had been a lot of examples discussed in court but they painted it as very black and white."

In October, the pair revealed plans to use Tal R's canvas as raw material to manufacture between 200 and 300 watches for Letho, their new brand, which they aimed to sell for at least 10,000 Danish krone each.

"We needed an artist that was esteemed by experts because we also needed to get a reaction," Thorleifsson said. "If we just took a $100 canvas, no one would really care. It needed to be a true masterpiece."

The duo, who also run a Copenhagen based design studio, have purchased paintings by three other recognized Danish artists, John Kørner, David Birkemose, and Jens Birkemose, assisted by funding from an unnamed patron.

In October, Tal R dismissed the pair's plan, calling it a "disrespectful" attempt to make money and get attention by making a product out of my art."

His legal team had argued that the scheme was a clear case of copyright infringement.

"He acknowledges that whoever purchases one of his works would be at liberty to sell it on or even destroy the work," his lawyer said. "But what he is not obliged to accept is for someone to alter the work and then reintroduce it to the public domain, and particularly not for commercial reasons."

Heidi Højmark Helveg, who represented Thorleifsson and Leivsgard, had argued that as the project involved destroying rather than altering the work, it was legal under Danish law.

"The pieces will be so small that it will not possible to know in any way which work it is from," she said. "Each watch will take just 0.04% of the original work."

Tal R's legal team argued that argument failed because the watches would be marketed "specifically as having Tal R's painting as background."

While the pair's now discontinued Kanske brand had been a commercial venture, Thorleifsson said their Letho project intended to test the boundaries of art.

"It's not a commercial project, but we don't know if it is an artistic project. That has to be determined by others," he said.

December 10, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Galaxy NGC 3749 — 135 million light-years away — as seen by Hubble

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope photographed this galaxy, a "moderately luminous" star cluster 793,614,430,000,000,000,000 miles from Earth.

Discovered in 1835 by John Herschel, NGC 3749 is a spiral galaxy like our Milky Way.

It is found in the constellation Centaurus (the Centaur) in the Southern Hemisphere.

December 10, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Don't charge your phone at public USB charging stations

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From the New York Times:

You might want to think twice before plugging in at an airport or on the train.

A dead or dying phone or laptop is enough to send anybody on a mad dash to find a way to charge the device, but you might want to think twice before using that random cable found at an airport charging station or docking into that hotel USB port — hackers could be waiting.

As the busy holiday season approaches, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is warning travelers about a USB charger scam, or "juice jacking."

"A free charge could end up draining your bank account," Luke Sisak, a deputy district attorney, said in a video posted online this month.

Juice jacking happens when unsuspecting users plug their electronic devices into USB ports or use USB cables that have been loaded with malware.

The malware then infects the devices, giving hackers a way in.

They can then read and export your data, including your passwords, and even lock up the gadgets, making them unusable.

Juice jacking exploits the fact that somebody doesn’t have a full battery, said Liviu Arsene, a cyber security expert at BitDefender, a Romanian cybersecurity and antivirus software company.

Mr. Arsene cautioned against using USB cables found already plugged into charging stations or even given away as promotional gifts.

"You can easily brand these things so you can make it look like any other cable," he said, adding, "When people see it, they don't really think or expect it to be malicious in any way."

Other ways to protect yourself include carrying your own charging wires, only charging directly from an electrical outlet, and using portable batteries that were bought from known vendors, Mr. Arsene said.

But it isn't just cables that pose a risk for tech consumers; it's the ports, too.

Like scammers who steal debit card numbers by putting illegal card-reading devices, or skimmers, on A.T.M.s, hackers can easily rip out USB ports and replace them with their own malicious hardware, said Vyas Sekar, a professor at CyLab, a security and privacy research institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

"It's easy to modify the outlet if the attacker has physical access," Professor Sekar said.

Though Mr. Arsene and Professor Sekar said they were unsure of how often hacking attacks like these happened, the growing ubiquity of USB charging ports in places like hotels, airports, and public transportation has translated into an increased risk of falling victim to such scams.

"People want the convenience of charging their phones and tablets wherever they go," Professor Sekar said, adding, "Obviously I would like it too, but there is a risk."

Professor Sekar said consumers could also use attachable protective devices on USB cables known as "USB condoms."

"What they do is a very simple trick," he said. "They essentially disable the data pin on the USB charger."

This means that the device will charge, but the cable will be unable to send or receive data.

"For less than five bucks you can buy it," he said, "and that can actually save you."

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office echoed cybersecurity experts in its tips for consumers, including using a power outlet and not a USB charging station, carrying your own AC and car chargers, and keeping a portable charger for emergencies.

This isn't exactly news: The Times published a story headlined "The Risk in Using a Public Phone Charger" on May 10, 2017.

You could look it up.

December 10, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

The hard way is the best way

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Above, a letter from Harry London of Baltimore, Maryland, to the New York Times, published in the Sunday Magazine on July 7, 1996.

You could look it up.

December 10, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Dumpling Light

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Kawaii (click on the pic to put it through its color-changing paces).

From the website:

This xiao long bao light is made of squishy silicone.

It also changes color: Cycle through all 6 LED hues by simply tapping it.

Powered by USB, batteries, or mains.

6.7"H x 6"W x 6.7"D.

$39.99.

December 10, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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