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Sara R. Ellis: Copyrighting Couture: An Examination of Fashion Design Protection and Why the DPPA and IDPPPA are a Step Towards the Solution to Counterfeit Chic

I’m sure I posted about this article when it was published, but it’s still an interesting and relevant read. It was written by one of my former classmates, Sara R. Ellis, and it’s available at SSRN:

Copyrighting Couture: An Examination of Fashion Design Protection and Why the DPPA and IDPPPA are a Step Towards the Solution to Counterfeit Chic

Deadspin: Shawn Johnson Retires, Raises Issues of Body Types in Gymnastics

The post isn’t as sinister as the headline makes it out to be, but there is something behind the argument that the leaner gymnasts are often fawned over. Svetlana Khorkina was the first person who came to mind when I read this–she was a Russian gymnast at the 96 Olympics (and others) who the commentators often Oo-ed and Ah-ed over because she was SO TALL. Oh, she’s SO TALL that Uneven Bars was really hard for her! And she’s SO TALL and graceful on Floor Exercise! I was shocked when I learned that she’s 5’5″.I also thought of the difference between female college gymnasts and the female Olympic gymnasts. It always drove me crazy that by the time a female gymnast hit college, her Olympic prospects were pretty much gone, but many male gymnasts went on to compete in the Olympics after college. A lot of the gymnasts I saw at college meets were stockier; I’m sure there were some lithe ballerina-types, but the ones I remember were curvier. (Of the two body types, I’m definitely on the stockier side, so don’t read this as being a negative judgment.)When I think of gymnasts, I usually think of the more powerful, “athletic” body type, even though I do love gymnasts like Nastia Liukin. I hate that Shawn Johnson felt like she weighed too much during the Beijing Olympics. 😦 I guess I’m lucky that my coaches, parents, and teammates never put any emphasis on weight. I would never have thought to judge my favorite gymnasts based on how they look.

Big Hollywood discovers “Terrifying New Trend”–Adult My Little Pony Fans

In a huge case of “can’t tell if trolling,” Kurt Schlichter at Brietbart.com wrote an article about how adult fans of “My Little Pony” are a huge threat to our society.

No, I’m not joking: “Terrifying New Trend: Grown Men Who Dig ‘My Little Pony.'”

This pretty much sums up the post:

I don’t even know what to say, you guys. I’m usually not one to play the “There are Bigger Things To Worry About!!!” card, but… seriously? There are people who are producing outright propaganda and media outlets that air it under the guise of “unbiased reporting,” but the Worst Thing In The World, the Thing We Need to Worry About, is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? It doesn’t even air on basic cable. This is one of those stories that makes me sigh and think, No wonder people think conservatives are fun-hating, judgmental assholes. And then I’m driven to drink.

Honestly, the only good things about Schlichter’s post are the comment threads full of reasonable adult fans who call him out on his bullshit, and the people who respond and say, “Oh, okay, maybe I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, Person Who Has Actually Watched the Show.”

There are a lot of things to criticize bronies about—I don’t identify as a “brony” because I generally don’t associate with fandoms—but just liking the show isn’t one of them, especially if you haven’t watched it yourself. There are tons of articles on the Internet that already explain why adults are drawn to the show, so I’m not going to re-hash all of that. And part of me thinks that Schlichter’s post is so melodramatic and ridiculous and blatant link-baiting that it’s not even worth engaging. (And that’s why I’m busting out the macros!)

But the part where he talks about the lessons that Captain Kirk can teach to boys? “…that violence is an important option for defeating evil, that individual dignity is worth fighting for?” Those lessons are taught in My Little Pony. The former was covered particularly well in last week’s episode–the Mane Six ponies had to fight their way through a hoard of evil changelings to get to the Elements of Harmony. One of the ponies was used as a cannon! The show teaches that you have to be assertive and that sometimes, words aren’t enough to overcome your obstacles. The latter lesson is dealt with all the time as each pony (and Spike) struggles with her various problems: Fluttershy’s friends try to coerce her into being who they think she ought to be; the Cutie Mark Crusaders are growing up and trying to figure out what their talents are in the face of bullying; Spike saves an unborn phoenix from destruction by a few asshole pubescent dragons who just want to smash its egg. (If that’s not “fighting for individual dignity,” I don’t know what is. And it’s arguably Pro-Life, to boot! :P)

The show isn’t without other redeeming values, even if it does skip over the classic conservative message of promiscuous sex with strange alien ladies (wait… what?) Three of the Mane Six ponies manage businesses, one of which is a family farm. The “super-girly” pony? Is a fashion designer who runs her own boutique and sews the clothes she shells. The “main character” is smart and obsessed with reading and learning. Capitalism! Entrepreneurism! The importance of Family and Self-Education! Clearly this show is a threat to traditional American values.

She's probably reading the pony-equivalent of Marx!

I guess I’m just disappointed to see the conservative blogosphere jump on the Hate Wagon over My Little Pony because I am a fan and I’m all too used to people hating on things I like without giving it a chance. (As well as the aforementioned feelings of this is why people hate conservatives, stop shooting yourselves in the feet *headdesk*) That happens all the time to geeks, and I guess I figured that most bloggers are geeks and as such, they’d be more accepting of other fandoms. But no, they’ve spent all week complaining about bronies and how threatening they are to the masculinity of the nation.

I guess, overall, I just think that they’re stupid for writing off all MLP fans using all the classic tropes–perpetual virgins, perpetual children, pathetic guys who live at home with their parents, etc. It reminds me of the football fans who flood our Dragon*Con hotels and spend the weekend judging us for wearing costumes while they wear football jerseys, sundresses, and sometimes face and body paint to support their fandoms teams. It’s total obliviousness, and while it’s double-facepalm levels of stupid, it’s also a little hilarious.

Because while you’re being judgmental and telling jokes at our expense, we’re having fun. And it’s way more fun to participate in something you enjoy than it is to stand around and be negative, judgmental jerks.

Photo by Jimmy Burns of Angry Dog Studios.

Gideon Sundback’s Birthday!

Google has a nifty doodle today for Gideon Sundback, the inventor of the zipper. Today would be his 132nd birthday.

Google Patents has, of course, posted his patent for a separable fastener.

And here’s an IBN post that explains how zippers work: How the Gideon Sundback Zipper works

Zippers are so helpful, even if they are a pain to insert into clothing. Zippers and set-in sleeves are two of the most aggravating things I’ve had to deal with in my sewing. But I suppose I’d rather struggle with zippers than have to make button holes…

Jason Schultz & Jennifer M. Urban: Protecting Open Innovation

Jason Schultz and Jennifer M. Urban, both of the UC Berkeley School of Law, wrote this paper about why Open Innovation Communities have shied away from patents, how they’ve dealt with Intellectual Property Issues, and why they should seriously consider opting back into the patent system.

Protecting Open Innovation: A New Approach to Patent Threats, Transaction Costs, and Tactical Disarmament

NECA & Amazon totally screw up Hunger Games Jacket Pre-Orders

I ordered NECA’s $120 Hunger Games Replica jacket thinking that I would be receiving the replica of Katniss’s arena jacket—because that’s what NECA said the $120 jacket was. They described it on their blog as 2 jackets that could be worn separately or together. NECA also offered a $50 version that would just be the outer shell.

Today I received my package, and instead of receiving the replica, I received the $50 windbreaker.

Let me say that again. I paid $120 for a $50 windbreaker.

I called Amazon and talked to two separate customer reps about it. The best that they could do for me was to allow me to return the item and then pay $150 (plus shipping) for the item that I should have received in the first place. The two customer service reps had no idea that the jacket I received should have been priced at $50 and that I received the wrong item, because somewhere along the way, the jackets were re-priced back to their original, proper prices.

I’m tweeting about it and mentioning @NECA_Toys and @PanemTV whenever I do so. I haven’t received any sort of acknowledgement or response, but maybe they’ll pipe up soon and explain what went wrong. (I’ve seen them respond to other people, so there’s some hope that they’ll engage us on Twitter.)

So here’s why I’m going after NECA and not Amazon: It was their product, and the links on NECA’s pages were going to the wrong Amazon pages–at least on the day I placed my order. (Like I mentioned before, they have since changed their links to go to the right pages with the right prices.)

When you sell exclusively through a third-party vendor, you need to check and make sure they didn’t screw something up. Amazon has NO IDEA what these things are or what they’re supposed to sell for (as the two support people I talked to tonight proved) so it’s on the seller to make sure their products aren’t being misrepresented, mislabeled, or mispriced.

Further, one of their bloggers said that NECA “usually” sells through Amazon, so they should know how to do this by now. And NECA isn’t a new company; they have a ton of licenses for official toys, props, and other replicas, and they should be able to manage a successful pre-order campaign by now.

In addition to mentioning their Twitter account in my own posts, I contacted NECA’s customer support: http://necaonline.com/contact/support-2/

And I commented on two of their blog posts about it:

NECA Blog: The New Hunger Games Movie Merchandise is Phenomenal! (Note the commenter who mentions that he had something wrong—NECA claims “partial blame” for that, which is preposterous since they’re the sellers and they should have known this was happening.)

About NECA Hunger Games

Both of my comments are awaiting moderation. I’m curious to see whether they’ll actually make it through the mod queue.

I’d definitely recommend that anyone who’s dealing with this nonsense contact NECA at the links I’ve posted above and courteouslycoherently explain what your problem is and ask what they intend to do to rectify the situation.

This is completely ridiculous and entirely unprofessional behavior on NECA’s part. They need to figure out what the hell happened and then fix it for the people who paid $120 and received a $50 jacket.

Hackers Elect Bender from Futurama to the DC School Board (PC World)

Bender Bending Rodriguez Elected to DC School Board after hackers are encouraged to break into the network.

Yeah, that’s right—the hackers were basically dared to compromise the security of the network. From the article:

“This was not some nefarious attack from a group of rogue hackers: The DC school board actually dared hackers to crack its new Web-based absentee voting system four days ahead of the real election. University of Michigan professor Alexander Halderman, along with two graduate students, did the deed within a few hours.”

Sheesh. I wonder whether the hackers could have just deleted their cookies and voted over and over again…


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