Shia Labeouf Brilliantly Parodies Intellectual Property With Plagiarized Apologies And Defense Of Plagiarism

I'll admit that, other than knowing his name and that he was a Hollywood actor in some big budget films, I didn't know very much at all about Shia LaBeouf. However, apparently he's been facing some "controversy" over a few different examples of plagiarism in his work, with the "biggest" being plagiarizing a cartoon by Daniel Clowes called Justin M. Damiano with the short film HowardCantour.com. Others also pointed out that, in a comic book created by LaBeouf, he apparently plagiarized a bunch of others, including Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Bukowski (if you're going to plagiarize, plagiarize from the best, apparently).

While plagiarism scandals pop up every so often, there are a variety of standard responses -- usually involving some sort of apology and then someone laying low for a while before reappearing (just ask Joe Biden). LaBeouf initially appeared to be following the same script... tweeting out apologies, before people started realizing that the apologies themselves were "plagiarized." That includes using Tiger Woods' apology after his scandal: "I have let my family down, and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart." Also, former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's famous apology concerning his role in the Vietnam War: "I was wrong, terribly wrong. I owe it to future generations to explain why."

From there, he finally admitted on New Year's eve that he was really mocking everyone -- which should have been obvious from the beginning, by saying:

You have my apologies for offending you for thinking I was being serious instead of accurately realizing I was mocking you.
Oh, and if you hadn't figured it out already, that line is also plagiarized.

He then decided to give an email interview with BleedingCool, much of which itself appears to be plagiarized as well. BleedingCool initially claimed that it believed the statements were "original" to LaBeouf, but then has gone back and noted repeated lines in the interview that are plagiarized from others. I'm guessing that they're missing quite a few others.

But what comes out of it is what is likely a highly plagiarized defense of plagiarism, as well as a condemnation of the state of copyright law today, and how it limits forms of expression. Take this tidbit, for example:
The problem begins with the legal fact that authorship is inextricably
bound up in the idea of ownership and the idea of language as
Intellectual property. Language and ideas flow freely between people
Despite the law. It’s not plagiarism in the digital age – it’s repurposing.
Copyright law has to give up on its obsession with “the copy”
The law should not regulate “copy’s” or “reproductions” on there own.
It should instead regulate uses – like public distributions of copyrighted work -
That connect directly to the economic incentive copyright law was intended to foster.
The author was the person who had been authorized by the state to print there work.
They were the ones to be held accountable for the ideas.
THE FIRST LAWS ON AUTHORSHIP WERE USED TO CENSOR & PERSECUTE
THE WRITERS WHO DARED PUBLISH RADICAL IDEAS.
Simple – should creation have to check with a lawyer?
At least some of that is from Larry Lessig. Almost certain other parts are from others. But, in a way he's proving the point. He is creating something new, unique and interesting, even as he's plagiarizing others, even to the point of talking about outdated copyright laws.

For what it's worth, even this idea is not unique. Back in 2007 we wrote about author Jonathan Lethem writing an entire defense of plagiarism, which was 100% plagiarized. If Labeouf is looking for more material, he might want to check that one out, if he hasn't already. Oh, and also Malcolm Gladwell's 2004 defense of plagiarism, which has some great quotes as well.

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From Snowden To Manning… To Ben Franklin And Sam Adams? A History Of Leakers Of Secret Gov’t Documents

We're taking a little break for the holidays, but will be posting a couple of less timely stories to keep things interesting...

For all the talk from some about how terrible and "anti-American" Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning are for distributing secret government documents that revealed misbehavior on the part of the government, the Digsby blog highlights a historical parallel that I hadn't heard about before: the Hutchinson Letters Affair, in which Benjamin Franklin essentially played the role of Snowden and Manning.

The short version is that Franklin obtained -- through means unknown -- a packet of letters written by Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver to Thomas Whately, the assistant to UK Prime Minister George Grenville, concerning how to deal with the increasingly angry colonists in the late 1760s. This was at the time that colonists -- especially in Massachusetts -- were increasingly angry about moves by the UK to raise taxes and remove their rights. Hutchinson more or less suggested accelerating the process.
In the letters, Hutchinson made some damning comments about colonial rights. Even more provocative, Hutchinson recommended that popular government be taken away from the colonists “by degrees”, and that there should be “abridgement of what are called English liberties”. Specifically, he argued that all colonial government posts should be made independent of the provincial assemblies. Finally, he urged his superiors to send more troops to Boston to keep American rebels under control.
Upon obtaining these (while in London), Franklin realized that they were somewhat explosive, and he quickly sent copies to some friends in the US, starting with Thomas Cushing (apparently no known relation to our own Tim Cushing), and told him to share them with others, but to not have them published. However, after Cushing and Sam Adams saw them, they figured out how to get them out:
The letters arrived in Massachusetts in March 1773, and came into the hands of Samuel Adams, then serving as the clerk of the Massachusetts assembly. By Franklin's instructions, only a select few people, including the Massachusetts Committee of Correspondence, were to see the letters. Alarmed at what they read, Cushing wrote Franklin, asking if the restrictions on their circulation could be eased. In a response received by Cushing in early June, Franklin reiterated that they were not to be copied or published, but could be shown to anyone.

A longtime opponent of Hutchinson's, Samuel Adams narrowly followed Franklin's request, but managed to orchestrate a propaganda campaign against Hutchinson without immediately disclosing the letters. He informed the assembly of the existence of the letters, after which it designated a committee to analyze them. Strategic leaks suggestive of their content made their way into the press and political discussions, causing Hutchinson much discomfort. The assembly eventually concluded, according to John Hancock, that in the letters Hutchinson sought to "overthrow the Constitution of this Government, and to introduce arbitrary Power into the Province", and called for the removal of Hutchinson and Oliver.[ Hutchinson complained that Adams and the opposition were misrepresenting what he had written, and that nothing he had written in them on the subject of Parliamentary supremacy went beyond other statements he had made. The letters were finally published in the Boston Gazette in mid-June 1773, causing a political firestorm in Massachusetts and raising significant questions in England.
There was apparently then a huge hullabaloo over who leaked the letters, even leading to a duel in England, before Franklin stepped up and admitted to "leaking" the letters, and then defended that action, by noting that the letters were written by "public officials for the purpose of influencing public policy," and thus implying that it was reasonable for the public to know about them. In other words, the same basic reasons behind what Manning and Snowden did. Franklin did get punished for all of this, but it was nothing compared to the fates of Snowden and Manning. As Harry Blutstein writes in the link above:
On January 29, 1774, Franklin was hauled up before the Privy Council to explain why he had leaked letters in the ‘Hutchinson Affair’. He was accused of thievery and dishonor, called the “prime mover” of Boston’s insurgents and charged with being a “true incendiary”. Throughout the hearing, Franklin maintained a dignified silence. For his disloyalty to the Crown, he Privy Council held off sending Franklin the gallows or even sentencing him to an afternoon in the stocks. Instead, Solicitor General Alexander Wedderburn was satisfied with the tongue-lashing he meted out to Franklin and the next day the Board of Trade dismissed Franklin from his post as Deputy Postmaster General of the North America colonies.

Had the Espionage Act been in place in Great Britain in 1774, Franklin would not have been around to lead the War of Independence, nor would he have been around to raise vital funds to support the rebellion and we would not have seen his signature on the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution.
Perhaps those who are slamming Snowden and Manning as "traitors" ought to learn a little history about some of our most famous and respected founding fathers.

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Deputados do CDS querem reavaliar aplicação do AO

Article note: Também acho que este acordo ortográfico foi uma idiotice, mas sinceramente, estou-me pouco borrifando. Sou velho demais para fazer um esforço voluntário para o escrever, mas deixo os correctores ortográficos decidirem como sai o que escrevo. Se suportarem o acordo, sai com o acordo, senão, sai sem acordo. Zero política sobre o tema, da minha parte, apenas não quero ver as cobrinhas vermelhas debaixo das palavras por uma teimosia para um lado ou para o outro, porque depois posso não perceber aquelas que efectivamente salientam um erro verdadeiro :-)

Projecto de resolução argumenta que Portugal não pode ser o único país a impor uma ortografia que, ainda por cima, não era a sua.

Deputados do CDS querem reavaliar aplicação do AO

Article note: Também acho que este acordo ortográfico foi uma idiotice, mas sinceramente, estou-me pouco borrifando. Sou velho demais para fazer um esforço voluntário para o escrever, mas deixo os correctores ortográficos decidirem como sai o que escrevo. Se suportarem o acordo, sai com o acordo, senão, sai sem acordo. Zero política sobre o tema, da minha parte, apenas não quero ver as cobrinhas vermelhas debaixo das palavras por uma teimosia para um lado ou para o outro, porque depois posso não perceber aquelas que efectivamente salientam um erro verdadeiro :-)

Projecto de resolução argumenta que Portugal não pode ser o único país a impor uma ortografia que, ainda por cima, não era a sua.

Pirate Bay Docks in Peru: New System Will Make Domains “Irrelevant”

Article note: I've been saying this for a few years, why not some sort of P2P https? :-)

The world’s leading entertainment companies and their armies of lawyers have tried pretty much every trick in the book to take The Pirate Bay offline.

Their numerous attacks have included police raids, the total confiscation of the site’s hardware, plus prolonged legal action resulting in the criminal convictions for its founders. More recently the site’s domains have been blocked in various countries around Europe but no tactic has yet managed to bring the site to its knees.

There have been small victories, however. Perhaps realizing that blockades weren’t having the desired effect in the past year action has been taken against the site’s domains. Fearing a domain seizure by Swedish authorities, last April the site moved to a Greenland-based domain. The stay was short-lived, with the site moving first to Iceland and then the .sx ccTLD for Sint Maarten.

That residency was to last just eight months, terminated this week following pressure from Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. The .AC ccTLD of Ascension Island was next up, a handy stopover on the way to its latest destination.

As of a few minutes ago the site’s new domain became ThePirateBay.pe. The .PE represents the ccTLD of Peru, chosen by the site “because it’s in South America.”

Quite how long the world’s most famous torrent site will stay sandwiched between Ecuador and Bolivia is anyone’s guess, but TorrentFreak was told that there will soon come a time when seizing Pirate Bay’s domains will be a pointless exercise.

Currently under development is a BitTorrent-powered browser that will enable users to store and distribute The Pirate Bay and other sites without need for central hosting. This means sites will be able to exist in a new and decentralized form with no reliance on a public-facing website.

In a message to “BREIN and friends,” The Pirate Bay cautions that while closing down domains may be an irritant today, that loophole won’t be open forever.

“They should wait for our new PirateBrowser, then domains will be irrelevant,” an insider told TorrentFreak.

“Once that is available then all links and sites will be accessible through a perfectly legal piece of browser software and the rest of it will be P2P, with no central point to attack via the legal system.”

And according to the spokesman this process of attack and adaption, such as Pirate Bay’s move to the cloud last year, is leading to one place – the advent of new and hardened file-sharing networks.

“By their actions they finally brought on the next generation of decentralized services,” the insider concludes.

TorrentFreak is informed that the new system, which is still under development, will appear as a standalone browser and also as Firefox and Chrome plugins. Until then the varied climate of Peru will suffice.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

Pirate Bay Docks in Peru: New System Will Make Domains “Irrelevant”

Article note: I've been saying this for a few years, why not some sort of P2P https? :-)

The world’s leading entertainment companies and their armies of lawyers have tried pretty much every trick in the book to take The Pirate Bay offline.

Their numerous attacks have included police raids, the total confiscation of the site’s hardware, plus prolonged legal action resulting in the criminal convictions for its founders. More recently the site’s domains have been blocked in various countries around Europe but no tactic has yet managed to bring the site to its knees.

There have been small victories, however. Perhaps realizing that blockades weren’t having the desired effect in the past year action has been taken against the site’s domains. Fearing a domain seizure by Swedish authorities, last April the site moved to a Greenland-based domain. The stay was short-lived, with the site moving first to Iceland and then the .sx ccTLD for Sint Maarten.

That residency was to last just eight months, terminated this week following pressure from Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. The .AC ccTLD of Ascension Island was next up, a handy stopover on the way to its latest destination.

As of a few minutes ago the site’s new domain became ThePirateBay.pe. The .PE represents the ccTLD of Peru, chosen by the site “because it’s in South America.”

Quite how long the world’s most famous torrent site will stay sandwiched between Ecuador and Bolivia is anyone’s guess, but TorrentFreak was told that there will soon come a time when seizing Pirate Bay’s domains will be a pointless exercise.

Currently under development is a BitTorrent-powered browser that will enable users to store and distribute The Pirate Bay and other sites without need for central hosting. This means sites will be able to exist in a new and decentralized form with no reliance on a public-facing website.

In a message to “BREIN and friends,” The Pirate Bay cautions that while closing down domains may be an irritant today, that loophole won’t be open forever.

“They should wait for our new PirateBrowser, then domains will be irrelevant,” an insider told TorrentFreak.

“Once that is available then all links and sites will be accessible through a perfectly legal piece of browser software and the rest of it will be P2P, with no central point to attack via the legal system.”

And according to the spokesman this process of attack and adaption, such as Pirate Bay’s move to the cloud last year, is leading to one place – the advent of new and hardened file-sharing networks.

“By their actions they finally brought on the next generation of decentralized services,” the insider concludes.

TorrentFreak is informed that the new system, which is still under development, will appear as a standalone browser and also as Firefox and Chrome plugins. Until then the varied climate of Peru will suffice.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

O PÚBLICO sem limites e com novas regras

Depois de sete meses de estudo, análise e debate interno, o PÚBLICO instalou um novo sistema de pagamento dos conteúdos digitais. A partir de hoje, o leitor passa a ter uma total liberdade de escolha no nosso site.

O PÚBLICO sem limites e com novas regras

Depois de sete meses de estudo, análise e debate interno, o PÚBLICO instalou um novo sistema de pagamento dos conteúdos digitais. A partir de hoje, o leitor passa a ter uma total liberdade de escolha no nosso site.