Friday News: Iron Man v Radix, rare books, protest poets, and the Edible Book Festival
Comic-book artists claim Iron Man ripped off their ideas – Following up on the copyright story from yesterday’s news, this lawsuit filed by Ben and Ray Lai against Marvel and Disney for infringement of their Horizon Comics’ Radix series gets at some of the considerations when looking at whether a character is copyrightable (trademark, of course, is another issue). In the case of the Radix lawsuit, a federal judge in New York dismissed parts of the suit because he claimed that there was not adequate similarity of expression. It may also be that the original character was not distinctive or specific enough to warrant protection, although that does not seem to be the basis of the partial dismissal. Especially because the Lai brothers served as “freelance artists for a predecessor [to Marvel] company in 2002 and 2003,” raising the possibility that Marvel was familiar with the Radix series.
Manhattan federal Judge Paul Oetken tossed the bulk of the lawsuit, which claimed that the Iron Man character — as revived for film in 2008 — was a copycat of the Lai brothers’ “Radix” comics, which also features futuristic fighters wearing full-body armor.
But the judge allowed a smaller claim by the Lai brothers to move forward involving a 2013 “Iron Man 3” movie poster featuring a kneeling Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the industrialist-turned-armor-plated superhero.
That poster, and one of a kneeling Radix character in a similar pose, shared a “similarity of expression” sufficient to survive the powerful Hollywood studios’ motion to dismiss, the judge said. – New York Post
One of America’s foremost rare-book appraisers hangs on in the digital age – This piece is, at once, a profile of Washington, D.C. antiquarian book dealer Allan Stypeck and a lament about the state of rare book sales in the age of online bookstores. There is a basic argument here that online bookstores like Amazon have killed rare book sales, because now anyone can find a rare book in their basement and sell it online, driving down prices and the whole construct of “rare” books. Whatever appeal that argument has to you, anyone who shares the belief that old books are “magic in unlikely packages” will appreciate Stypeck’s story and his lifelong love of collecting.
Stypeck is an impossible character, the kind of larger-than-life raconteur people say doesn’t exist inside the button-down Beltway. He’s the impresario of Second Story Books, one of the nation’s foremost appraisers of rare books and manuscripts, and a regular on “Chesapeake Collectibles” on Maryland Public Television.
Over his four-decade career, this “wanna see something cool?” gambit might have referred to an $11 million copy of John J. Audubon’s “Birds of America”; the mummified corpse of Gold Tooth Jimmy, a Detroit gangster; Henry Kissinger’s papers; dinosaur eggs; or a first edition of “The Great Gatsby,” complete with the telltale error “sick in tired,” on Page 205, which would let you know the book you’re holding is likely worth $100,000 or more.
Stypeck will bury you with all this in a blizzard of knowledge, history and detail. – Washington Post
“PrOtEsT” – Poet Activists Throughout the Years – In honor of Cesar Chavez Day, My Poetic Side features seven activist poets, including Muriel Rukeyser, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Jayne Cortez, Diane di Prima, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Staceyann Chin.
In the days since Trump’s inauguration, we’ve witnessed an increase in protesting and grass roots activism. And while it’s an immediate and important part of the democratic process, we’re also consciously looking to the activists who came before us. Here are seven of our favorite poet-activists and the causes that they hold dear. Whether you’re educating yourself on the movements of the past, searching for a line of poetry to chant at the next rally, or just looking for a little inspiration to stay motivated, these poet-activists are a wonderful place to start. – My Poetic Side
Books2eat: International Edible Books Festival – I can’t believe I didn’t know about the Edible Books Festival! Check out the Facebook page for some glorious examples of edible book art, as well as the event’s background and guidelines. If you live in a country not listed below, and you participate (or know of someone who does), let someone know, so they can add your country to the list.
The International Edible Book Festival is held annually around April 1st. To our knowledge, the following countries have held this festival: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, United States of America, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Sweden.
April 1st is the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book Physiologie du goût, a witty meditation on food. April fools’ day is also the perfect day to eat your words and play with them as the “books” are consumed on the day of the event. This ephemeral global banquet, in which anyone can participate, is shared by all on the internet and allows everyone to preserve and discover unique bookish nourishments. This festival is a celebration of the ingestion of culture and a way to concretely share a book; it is also a deeper reflexion on our attachment to food and our cultural differences.
The International Edible Book Festival is a creation of Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron. Judith got the idea over a Thanksgiving turkey with book artists in 1999, and Béatrice created Books2Eat website where despite the distances everybody can enjoy worldwide’s creations. They contacted friends and colleagues; their first event happened in 2000. Since then the festival continues as an annual sensation. – Facebook